DISABLED rail passengers would suffer if ticket barriers are installed at York Station, it has been claimed.

Two organisations, the York Access Group and The Children’s Society, have objected to plans by National Express East Coast to install automated ticket barriers across the station concourse.

As reported in The Press, National Express East Coast wants to install barriers for the first time since the 1980s, in a move that it says would improve security and combat fare-dodging.

Its original plans were heavily criticised, but National Express East Coast has now redrafted the proposals, with lower barriers and greater symmetry, in an attempt to address concerns from conservationists.

David Brown, of York Access Group, said barriers could still cause problems.

“The original removal of barriers has clearly been an improvement and we cannot see how their reintroduction can be described as such,” he said.

In a formal objection to City of York Council, he said barriers would conflict with the draft code of practice for train and station standards for disabled people, currently being considered by the Department for Transport.

Catherine Heinemeyer, spokeswoman for The Children’s Society, said the society also objected. The society campaigns for better access to public services for disabled 14 to 25-year-olds.

Ms Heinemeyer said: “Train travel is already very challenging for disabled young people.

“We try to travel as independently as possible around the station and barriers will be an additional obstacle to negotiate.

“Disabled people often need someone to accompany them to the platform, help with bags or getting on and off the train etc. Barriers will make it more difficult for a support worker or carer to do this.”

She said even if special arrangements were in place, the move could still mean more queuing for disabled people. Campaign For Better Transport (North Yorkshire) has also reiterated its earlier objection to the plans, saying barriers would be of an “alien nature” to the station.

National Express East Coast has said previously that it would have wide aisles for people with wheelchairs or pushchairs, to improve access.

The firm said it had taken on board the many criticisms from heritage groups and consulted widely over the plans.

Its managing director, Susan Goldsmith, has said: “Our vision for York Station is that it will be a progressive and modern transport interchange that delivers an excellent journey experience for customers whilst making travel simpler for all.”

The plans can be viewed at 9 St Leonard’s Place, York, or online at york.gov.uk