British Paralympian, 31, left in tears as she’s stranded on rainAugust 22, 2019
British Paralympic gold medalist horse rider, 31, blasts train bosses after she was left in tears and stranded on a carriage because no ramp was provided to get her off
- Sophie Christiansen, 31, forced to rely on help from public during ordeal today
- Eight-time gold medalist said she went home and cried from embarrassment
- South Western Railway forgot to provide ramp but insists it has reached out and apologised
An eight-time Paralympic gold medalist was reduced to tears after being stranded on a train when South Western Railway forgot to provide a ramp.
Horse rider Sophie Christiansen, 31, was forced to rely on members of the public to assist her off the train from London to Godalming this afternoon.
The cerebral palsy-sufferer, who has been wheelchair-bound her entire life, shared a video of her ordeal on Twitter.
In the video, passengers can be seen holding the train doors open for the equestrian until an exit ramp is finally provided.
Eight-time Paralympic gold medalist Sophie Christiansen, 31, was reduced to tears after being stranded on a train when South Western Railway forgot to provide a ramp
The cerebral palsy-sufferer, who has been wheelchair-bound her entire life, shared a video of her ordeal on Twitter with this caption
Ms Christiansen, from Ascot, said she ‘went home and cried’ and came to the conclusion she’ll ‘have to accept discrimination all my life’.
The Paralympian said she was told SWR staff knew she was on board and a ramp would be provided for her.
But when she arrived at her stop there was no-one there to assist her and she was left stuck on the carriage.
She told the BBC: ‘It’s always the general public helping me; I don’t know what I’d do without them.
‘Without the help I probably would’ve ended up in Portsmouth at the end of the line because there is no real way for me to block the door to stop the train from moving.’
South Western Railway (SWR) said it had apologised to Ms Christiansen.
Ms Christiansen, from Ascot, said she ‘went home and cried’ and came to the conclusion she’ll ‘have to accept discrimination all my life’
The equestrian is pictured with the Duchess of Cornwall after the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games
Ms Christiansen holds her MBE for services to Disabled Sport, after the Queen presented it to her at Windsor Castle in 2009
Ms Christiansen said incidents like today were not a one-off, and revealed she is left stranded ‘one in 10 times’.
She called on the government to lobby rail companies to improve disabled access.
‘I literally don’t know what it will take for the rail in this country to make the service more accessible,’ she said.
SWR said it was investigating the incident ‘as a priority’ and it was reviewing the process ‘to make sure this doesn’t happen again’.
Rail Delivery Group, which represents UK train operators, told the BBC it was working to bring ‘thousands of new, more accessible carriages on track and speeding up the process for passengers booking assistance’.
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