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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK
Apology after woman's train crawl
Edna Flambard
Edna Flambard says she will not take the train again
A train operator has apologised after a Cornwall woman's wheelchair could not fit through compartment doors, forcing her to crawl to her seat.

Edna Flambard, of Helston, was told beforehand that her wheelchair would fit on the train to London.

But instead it had to be stored in the guard's van for the journey, leaving Mrs Flambard unable to use it.

First Great Western said a revamp had left access to first class carriages too narrow, which they would rectify.

Mrs Flambard has used a wheelchair since suffering a stroke five years ago.

It was a full train. Everybody wanted to help and nobody could
Edna Flambard

Her husband accompanies her on regular trips to London to attend a clinic at St Thomas' Hospital.

She said she was so upset by having to crawl through the carriage that she would be driving in future.

She said: "It was a full train. Everybody wanted to help and nobody could.

"They were so embarrassed that they couldn't look at me."

Mr Flambard said it was also difficult not having access to the wheelchair during the journey.

He said: "She was no longer independent to go anywhere, to go to the loo for example. It was impossible unless again she crawled on the floor in front of other people."

Mrs Flambard was also left with injuries to her leg as the crawling aggravated a debilitating skin condition.

First Great Western said they had looked into the matter and had discovered that the recent refurbishment of a number of the high speed trains had left access into first class carriage too narrow for a wheelchair.

They said as they had become aware of the problem it would be rectified as soon as possible and that they wanted to apologise to Mrs Flambard for her experience.

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