Shocking moment disabled woman forced to crawl up stairs at London Overground station due to broken lift

11 February 2024, 15:32 | Updated: 11 February 2024, 16:06

A wheelchair user was forced to crawl up stairs at a London Overground station on her bottom
A wheelchair user was forced to crawl up stairs at a London Overground station on her bottom. Picture: Instagram/wheelie_good_life

By Emma Soteriou

A 29-year-old wheelchair user was forced to crawl up stairs at a London Overground station on her bottom due to a broken lift.

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Jennie Berry had to shuffle up the stairs one at a time after receiving no prior warning that the lifts were out of service at Dalston Junction station on Thursday evening.

Staff could be heard laughing as she finally made it to the final step before being told the lift was working and she "could use the lift if she wanted".

A frustrated Ms Berry captured the 15-minute climb and shared the footage online.

"Last night I got to Dalston Junction (end of the line) pretty late, with no prior warning that the lift was broken," she said.

"Staff at my departing station didn’t ask where I was going, despite seeing me go to this platform which had 3 stops left.

"No whiteboards or other signage to tell me that the station I was going to I would be stuck at.

"I arrived at Dalston junction and no staff around to assist. My hotel was literally right outside this station, it was late and it was also pouring down.

"The prospect of getting back on the train and going in the complete opposite direction to find another accessible station, and then find a working lift, and then figure out how I was going to get home from there in an unfamiliar area, just wasn’t something I had the time/energy to do.

"I crawled up the stairs and staff appeared when I was three steps from the top. They informed me that the lift has been broken for a month & ‘didn’t you know?’"

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She continued: "At the top of the 15 min climb, the lift technician decides to announce that he’s actually got the lift working. The two staff members behind me think this is hilarious and you can hear them laughing on the video about it.

"I literally just wanted to get back to my hotel before a busy day of work like everyone else.

"As a disabled person, this is a common occurrence and I was lucky enough to be able to do this - but lots of people aren’t.

"[To be honest] I’m more annoyed at how staff treated me than the actual fact I had to crawl up the stairs, as at this point I’m used to this level of inaccessibility. The way I’m treated always seems to surprise me the most."

Mark Evers, Chief Customer Officer at TfL, said: "We're deeply sorry for the distressing experience that Jennie Berry had while travelling with us and we are urgently looking into this incident with Arriva Rail London, who operates the London Overground on our behalf, to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

"We understand that lifts being out of service can have a significant impact on customers who rely on them, and we are committed to making transport in London more accessible. 

"We are also working harder to ensure that lifts are repaired quickly and that information about their availability is published promptly. 

"I regret that in this instance the necessary information wasn't readily available."