Railway station operators have confirmed automatic doors will be installed to improve disabled access, following a public protest.
Disability rights campaigners and trade union representatives gathered at Lynn railways station this week to demand improvements.
Roger Perkins, for First Capital Connect, said: “Even though the station has always been compliant with disability legislation, our plans have been to install automatic gates at the front and a help point at the side to help our less mobile customers. These will soon be in place.”
Mr Perkins said the station’s side gate, next to the taxi rank, had to be closed when ticket gates were installed last Spring to improve security and block fare-dodgers.
He said staff from adjacent Matalan and Morrisons stores have reported the gates have also led to a significant reduction in shoplifting. Previously, thieves were using the side gates to allow them to jump on a train as part of their escape.
A help point will be installed at the closed side gate by the end of February to allow people with disabilities, small children, and heavy luggage to get assistance from staff. In addition the funding is now available to install automatic doors at the front of the station, Mr Perkins added.
Jonathan Toye, co-ordinator of West Norfolk Disability Information Service (WNDiS), positioned himself in front of the station, in Blackfriars Road, demanding action through a loud hailer, on Wednesday.
He said: “We are asking for the railway company to make it easier for disabled people to get into the railway station.
“We have got a perfectly good ramp coming up the front and just need automatic doors fitted.
“We have been asking for this for a year or so now.”
Mr Toye said it was part of an underlying problem with access to rail services for wheelchair users and the disabled. They have to organise travel at least a day in advance to request staff assist them on and off the trains.
Mr Toye said: “It is beyond belief that this is still happening in the 21st century. Buses nearly all have ramps. They have really got their acts together while it is taking railway companies nationally so long to get around to it.
“You can press a button for the door to open. Surely it can’t be beyond the realms of mechanical imagination to be able to press a button for a ramp.”
Mr Perkins said: “Platforms heights and gaps vary widely and such a system just is not possible. Instead, the industry is looking at trials of platform humps, similar to those found at some stations on the Underground.”