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“Please help me persuade South West Trains to provide help for people to get on and off trains.” – gwen evans


gwen evans

help from platform staff for the elderly, those with small children and the infirm would be very much appreciated. To speed things up, everyone who needs help should gather in the carriage which is destined to stop opposite the station staff member who is on the platform. This person would expect to help several people per train.

Problem History

  • 1 gwen evans reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 19:35 03 Sep 2011
  • 2 gwen evans wrote to South West Trains close 19:35 03 Sep 2011

    Here is the letter that gwen evans wrote.

    the gap between the train and the platform at Clapham Junction

    I am 74 and there are platforms at this station where I can not get out of the train because I can't jump the gap. I could, if it would help, get together a list of people like me, and it would be an impressively long list. While I can't expect money to be spent (in these straightened times) on correcting this gap by physical means there is an answer. If the middle carriage of each train was to be painted a different colour to identify it as the one where you could get help getting on or off, and the member of station staff who is in charge on the platform was prepared to help people at that point,then the elderly, those with small children, those with a physical handicap or with luggage, would feel much safer. In America, train staff help everyone off the train as a matter of course.

  • 3 South West Trains responded to gwen evans close 19:55 03 Sep 2011
  • 4 Myf Nixon commented close 16:36 05 Sep 2011

    Hello Gwen,

    I just wanted to say that this sounds like an excellent idea and I hope you get some support for it (although I can imagine some resistance to those with limited mobility being 'shunted together' in a single carriage - they may feel labelled!). I shall be watching this one with interest, in any case.

    Meanwhile I have linked to this page on Facebook and Twitter in hope of getting you some extra support.

  • 5 gwen evans commented close 18:22 05 Sep 2011

    Thanks for your support Myf Nixon. I'm new to this site and don't really know what to do next, apart from the old-fashioned thing of running round the streets with a petition and getting signatures. Trouble is, so many of the people needing this help will be elderly, and they are the ones least likely to have internet access so won't be aware of FixMyTransport.
    As for your comment that people may object to being herded together - better that than having to stay on the train (platform 11 for instance) until it reaches Waterloo and then come back to a better platform.

    Best wishes, Gwen

  • 6 gwen evans asked for advice. close 18:30 05 Sep 2011

    Hello Expert,
    What is the best way to get station staff to expect to help people on and off trains?
    I have heard that a person slipping between the train and the platform is not unknown. Do you know if this information is available?

  • 7 william perrin commented close 18:42 05 Sep 2011

    tricky one - not an area in which i am v expert but this may be helpful

    south west trains have some information here about 'assisted travel'

    including a long policy paper on protecting people with disabilities.

    on your specific suggestion, i know that on long distance trains in India it is common to know precisely where a carriage will stop on a platform to meet someone there. in the uk however, they seem to rearrange trains so much (to manage peak and off peak capacity) that carriage location isn't always reliable.

    to be fair to train staff i suspect they would be mortified if they thought you were having to make detours to find the right platform - have you tried raising it with on-train staff?



  • 8 Myf Nixon commented close 09:59 06 Sep 2011

    Hello again Gwen,

    For now, I suggest we wait to see what South West Trains say in reply. If there is no joy there, we'll be back with some ideas of other organisations who will be able to help you in your campaign.

    In the meantime, do have a look at Transport for All:

    "Transport for All believes in a fully accessible, reliable and affordable transport network for disabled and older Londoners."

    All the best!

  • 9 gwen evans added an update close 10:56 06 Sep 2011

    I was thinking of widening the problem to include many other stations where the gap is dangerous. However, it was announced last night that the Government plans to cut station staff leaving many stations entirely unmanned. Who would help infirm passengers then?

  • 10 Myf Nixon commented close 11:22 06 Sep 2011

    To my mind, Gwen, it then becomes a hot topic that the press should be interested in taking up. Have you considered approaching your local newspaper or radio station?

  • 11 Dave H commented close 14:04 06 Sep 2011

    Came up at Southern's annual stakeholder session, deaf user complained that during disrupted service, the PIS screens in carriages could not show special messages to repeat PA announcements - suggested increased use of twitter SMS for this and also using this for immediate response, as already done by cycle users on Caltrain - tweeting a hashtag linked to biketrain they report on trains having space for bikes or full and late running. Followers then dip in to see what is happening.

    Suggest 3 letter station code with 'assist' could be sent from train and note which carriage you are in. SWT is good because they have a guard on all trains, whose presence probably pays for itself in saving time when passengers need assistance as well as other functions. Stations would get feed of 3 letter coded alerts of message traffic through hash link of TLC or Assist or both.

  • 12 South West Trains responded to gwen evans close 09:25 07 Sep 2011

    Stagecoach South Western Trains
    Customer Service Centre
    Overline House, Blechynden Terrace
    Southampton SO15 1GW
    Telephone 0845 6000 650
    Fax 023 8072 8187
    email [South West Trains problem reporting email]

    [provide help for people to get on and off trains. email]

    Our ref:1638134

    07 September 2011
    Dear Sirs

    Thank you for your contact regarding our services. We do welcome feedback
    from our
    customers and have, in line with our franchise and passenger's charter
    established a full range of agreed channels to contact our customer
    relations team.

    A webform on our website at

    By email to [South West Trains problem reporting email]

    By post to –
    South West Trains Customer Relations,
    Overline House, Blechynden Terrace,
    Southampton. SO15 1GW.

    By telephone 0845 6000 650 option 4

    There are also established representative bodies which deal with unresolved
    from our passengers.

    For the London Area the organisation is London Travelwatch

    For the remainder of our area the organisation is Passenger Focus

    To allow us to follow our agreed processes, would you please advise our
    customer to use
    one of the established methods of contact to obtain a full response to
    their concerns.

    Jan Ledbyrne
    Stagecoach South Western Trains

    The information contained in this email is confidential and intended for the addressee(s) only. If you receive an email in error, please contact the sender or the Service Desk at [email address] +44 (0) 207 620 5602, and permanently remove the email from your systems.

    The opinions expressed in this email are those of the sender and not necessarily those of the company.

    While emails are virus checked, the company does not accept any liability in respect of a virus which is not detected

    Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited
    Registered in England and Wales 5599788
    Registered office: Friars Bridge Court
    41-45 Blackfriars Road
    London SE1 8NZ
    A part of the Stagecoach Group
  • 13 gwen evans commented close 08:32 26 Jan 2012

    I didn't feel that my complaint got through to any official who might take the slightest interest.

  • 14 Myf Nixon advised gwen to write to Passenger Focus. close 09:12 26 Jan 2012

    Thanks for coming back to update us, Gwen. I'm sorry that yur voice was unheard. If you would like to reignite the conversation, you can email South West Trains again via the yellow 'email' button at the top of this page.

    Meanwhile, this is the email address for Passenger Focus, an independent government body who are there to help when passengers feel their complaints have gone unheard. I would drop them a line if I were you.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

  • started 3 September 2011
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Clapham Junction Rail Station in Clapham Junction operated by South West Trains, Network Rail
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