A 35-STONE man who uses an oversized wheelchair is prepared to go to court to fight for better disabled access.
Derek Rolph, 54, has had numerous problems travelling by train because his six-wheel motorised wheelchair does not fit down ramps at some stations, including Kelvedon and Colchester North.
Mr Rolph, of Hanover Square, Feering, said he also has problems getting on buses and getting around shops and relies mostly on his specially adapted van to travel around.
He said: “If I have to, I will take it through the courts or European Court because I am that fed up with it. I do not ask to be disabled. Let them be in my place, sat in a wheelchair, for one day and see how hard life is.”
He would be prepared to take the Government and transport providers to court and has contacted the Independent Living Advocacy Service about the problems he has experienced.
Mr Rolph nearly lost his legs when he was run over by a bus at four years old and 25 years ago he needed two years of hospital treatment and rehabilitation after being hit by a car. His health problems also include angina, arthritis and emphesyma.
The former market manager and mechanical engineer said: “I think it is outrageous they can refuse someone like me from being on the railways and give silly excuses.
“One time at Kelvedon I was allowed to use the ramp and another time it was too small.
“I have had lots of problems. The people at the station are nice, they are trying to do their job.
“If you haven’t got a ramp that fits, get one that does.”
Mr Rolph also recalls being told he could not travel on the Tube because “the wheelchair has got batteries in it and the excuse I got was it might explode”.
The Department for Transport said it complies with European standards on disabled access including ramp width.
A National Express East Anglia spokesman said it operates to rail industry guidelines on the maximum size and weight of wheelchairs and mobility vehicles which can be accommodated on trains and ramps.
She said: “We also publish full information on our website regarding the types and sizes of mobility vehicles we can accept on our trains and we are always happy to discuss with our customers their individual needs.”
Witham MP Priti Patel said: “Disabled people should not be denied access to rail services because they are wheelchair bound and new franchise agreements with rail operators provide an opportunity to bring in much-needed improvements.
“In the 21st century there can be no excuses for these barriers to travel.”