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Photo #173854

[UPDATE: See #173797 for the 22.9.21 TPE response to my complaint to Matthew Golton, TPE MD and subsequent emails to the TPE Accessibility and Integration Manager.]
[Image taken 3.9.21] [See: #183348 for how hooks impact on travel for a family one of whom has a disability] NCN66, Spen Valley Greenway, between Dewsbury and Bradford. [NOTE: No streetview here. I had to guess the location.] Just one of the fun things to look out for and enjoy along this accessible route. However I can no longer get here due to hooks for cycles on TransPennine Express (TPE) services (see: #173797). Here is my email to the CE of TPE,


I saw on this page

you are the new Managing Director of TransPennine Express.

I choose not to drive plus I have long been aware with age people need to give up driving for their own but also the safety of others.

I therefore use a combination of train and cycle.

However, on my first journey on a TPE train since the start of the covid pandemic I now find I cannot use your services.

1. The cycle carriage on the train I took between York and Dewsbury on Friday, 3 September 2021 at 09:50 was a shock. It had hooks. In a cupboard. I am unable to lift my cycle onto hooks. I am unable to lift my cycle off hooks.

2. The toilet doors are (it seems) self-closing. I struggled to open them. I needed two hands.



the floor was already covered in water when I entered a cubicle for the first time. I discovered why when I washed my hands. My clothing got splashed and the floor got wet too. I believe this is a direct hazard: wet floors are slippery. I believe this is public health issue: if you don't want you or your clothing to get wet you won't wash your hands.

I was travelling with someone who is 6ft. He was able to lift his cycle onto the hooks though not easily: cycles are not designed to be lifted in this way; they have lots of sharp bits; the front wheels are not fixed so move from side to side; they are oily/dirty; the cupboards are tiny; the train is moving; you are under pressure. He then tried to lift mine. There was even less space, it was a 'left-hand cupboard'. If you manoeuvre a cycle you stand on the left-hand side to avoid the chain which is on the right-hand side. Therefore when trying to stow the cycles he was on the 'wrong' side/the side people do not develop experience of lifting on.

He hurt himself. It was impossible not to block the corridor. He was unable to shut the door which meant the cycles were not secure and I would argue they were less safe than when when the cycles are in the carriage in which the owners are standing/seated.

I tried to lift my cycle off the hook but was unable to do this. I had to ask my companion to do it.

To ensure we would be able to get off at our stop - it is not possible on these trains to keep a door open and therefore it is not possible for station staff to see that someone is still getting on/off - and to avoid possibly delaying the service, the cycles had to come before passengers had started to queue to get off ie some time before we arrived at the station. There were no announcements about the time of arrival at the next stop so we started doing this immediately we left Leeds. We were therefore unavoidably doing this and putting our luggage back on while the train was moving. We were unable to hold on to any railing or brace ourselves on bends, slopes or rough parts of the track. There is no room in the carriage with the cycle cupboards in them for the cycles to be stowed out of the way. Therefore we unavoidably blocked the access for everyone going to and also from the toilets; the person with the drinks trolley - twice; the conductor.

No announcements were made as to which side the platform would be on which added to our stress and the problems for everyone wishing to disembark as well as passengers trying to move through.

Mr Golton the cycle carriage provision on TPE services is discriminatory.

I do not believe anyone with a physical disability could use the new design either/and because they cannot lift/manoeuvre a cycle but also because the hooks only accept lightweight cycles of a standard design. Therefore the design is directly discriminatory to people with physical disabilities.

I am now not able to travel independently with my cycle. Therefore the provision directly discriminates against women - we are smaller than men, we do not have upper body strength, we do not have muscles for lifting heavy items above our heads, we are rounder so have even less space in the cupboards, plus women tend to buy designs of cycle that are designed for utility use (including transporting children and shopping) or adapt their cycles to be able to do this. There was no space for a cycle with a child seat. Front racks/baskets were clearly also not taken into consideration when the hooks design was developed.

I also believe that e-cycles are not factored in. Such bikes are chunkier and heavier. My companion could not have lifted an e-cycle onto either of the hooks even if it had been a 'right-hand cupboard'.

E-cycles are popular among all ages of users but are particularly helpful for people with mobility issues/health conditions and people who are older.

Therefore the hook cycle provision on TPE services discriminates against those passengers.

The route we were to ride was NCN66, the Spen Valley Greenway

between Dewsbury and Bradford.

Dewsbury and Bradford stations (we returned from the latter on a Northern service) are barrier-free.

The access from Dewsbury to the Greenway is barrier-free. The route to Bradford rail stations is barrier-free.

The Greenway is used by all ages and all levels of fitness. These include wheelchair users, children on scooters, e-cycle users, hand cyclists, tandem riders including with a blind 'passenger', trikes, recumbents.

Yet I can no longer get to/from this accessible, inclusive, standard-setting route independently because I am small and female.

I want to move around independently - in fact, I believe freedom of travel is a human right - but can no longer use TPE services. I am also not prepared to create stress for a companion or put that person at risk of further pain or back issues due to needing to load/unload my cycle as well as his.

I made this journey to ride NCN66 many times each year before covid. I was anticipating being able to do so until late in life. I can no longer make it even now.

Plus, even as we cycled to York station I was saying yet again that I looked forward to bringing my sister and/or her youngest son to ride it with us.

However, my sister would not be able to lift her son's cycle onto a hook or hers. And the son is too small to do so.

I believe therefore this design of cycle carriage discriminates against every user. I believe it must come out and provision created as before: flexible use space that is much easier to lift a cycle into and which does not create a hazard for the user or other passengers.

I also believe the design of the toilet cubicle doors discriminate. I needed two hands to slide them open. I believe some people (including the elderly, youngsters, people with some health conditions) would not be able to open the doors or do so safely on a moving train.

I will now write to my MP to state that the TPE services with 'hooks' and heavy sliding doors are discriminatory.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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