THREE disabled people from York, including two wheelchair users, say they were left stranded at London King’s Cross station on a new LNER Azuma train.

Dave Hayes was leading the group, accompanied by two carers, and said they were stuck at King’s Cross for 30 minutes due to no staff and no ramp being available.

The 63-year-old claims LNER staff put the group on the train, and also on the LNER class 91 train which brought them back. Although the group did not pre-book assistance, Dave said LNER staff at King’s Cross and York had told them they would advise the other station that they were aboard the trains in the wheelchair areas.

He said the train that brought them back to York, which he claimed was around 30 minutes late, was “packed”, with “many passengers standing and luggage everywhere”.

He said: “Neither of the two wheelchair users could get to the toilet facilities, there was no food or water available for any passengers, again no message was relayed to York of the location of the disabled party. No staff came through the train and no tickets were checked.”

Dave called his sister-in-law Karen, told her the situation and asked her to meet the train at York.

He said: “We only got off the return train because Karen found the only member of staff at York.

“If she had not done that I’m convinced we would not have been able to exit, and would have gone on to Newcastle.”

Dave, who has complained to LNER, said: “It is very disappointing disabled passengers in 2019 could be put in this situation.”

An LNER spokesperson said: “We are investigating the issues raised by Mr Hayes following his recent journeys with us.

"Our teams work hard to ensure customers enjoy a great experience when they travel with us therefore we take such complaints very seriously.

“Customers can pre-book free assistance online or by telephone with our assisted travel team for any accessibility and mobility needs.”

Dave also believes the Azuma trains could be more disabled-friendly, and have a powered folding ramp so wheelchair users could board without having to wait for staff with ramps.

A spokesperson for Hitachi, which built the Azuma trains, said: “Hitachi put a huge amount of effort into designing the Azuma trains so that they are as comfortable and user-friendly as possible for passengers, and particularly for people with disabilities and mobility issues.

“We actually won an award for the lengths that we went to engage and consult people with disabilities – creating a full scale mock-up of the train and inviting different groups to come and test it.

“This resulted in Azumas having four full disabled spaces and some of the largest disabled toilets you’ll find anywhere.”

Dave was a member of the Scope board of directors from 1992 to 2007 and has been an independent advisor to North Yorkshire Police on disability issues since 2001. He is also is a student assessor at York St John University.