Disabled Hailsham child ‘kicked off’ Southern train

Hampden Park Train Station, Eastbourne  (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171201-091756008
Hampden Park Train Station, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171201-091756008

A Hailsham father has spoken of his anger after his disabled son missed a hospital appointment after being ‘kicked off’ a Southern train.

Wayne Evenden said a conductor told him and his family to get off the train to London Victoria as they had the wrong tickets – but they were not even offered an upgrade.

He had been taking his 15-year-old son, Tyler, who has ME, to a specialist hospital appointment but was forced to get off the train at Lewes.

Mr Evenden said, “The conductor said we have to get off because we had the wrong tickets. He didn’t even offer for us to upgrade.

“He threw us off the train. We were kicked off at Lewes, where they said my ticket was actually valid.”

But by that point it was too late and they missed the appointment.

Mr Evenden said three days before he had bought the off-peak tickets at the ticket office at Eastbourne Railway Station, and he and his family got on the train staff there had advised them to use.

He said they got on the 8.06am from Hampden Park to arrive in London for 10.04am, using an off-peak day travel card which is valid for passengers arriving in London after 9.50am.

The father said, “It’s disgraceful the way they are treating their passengers.

“The conductor had a real attitude problem. He said, ‘It’s not my problem’ – we were quite pleasant to him.

“He said I’d broken the law and told us to get off the train or he’d have us removed.

“My son can hardly walk. I’ve been going up to hospital with him over a year and never had a problem.”

His other son, Reece, 16, who was also there at the time, suffers autism and found the experience very distressing.

Mr Evenden said on the way back, after telling Southern staff about what happened, the family were upgraded to first class by a manager at Victoria Station.

A spokesperson for Southern said, “We are very sorry to hear of Mr Evenden’s concerns about his recent journey. It seems he was on a train for which his ticket was not valid, and therefore was given the option to change at Lewes to join the correct ‘08.06’ service from Hampden Park, or to change the ticket.

“We are contacting Mr Evenden directly to follow this up, as of course there was no intention whatsoever to cause any distress to him or his family, and we are keen to ensure future journeys go well.”