Disability campaigner trapped at Cambridge and Ely railway stations in nine-hour nightmare journey

Isaac Harvey  travelled from London to Cambridge on Saturday but had to end his journey early after being cut off by issues including a broken lift.

Isaac Harvey was forced to abandon his plans after a broken lift at Cambridge station. Credit: Isaac Harvey

A disability campaigner who ended up trapped at two different railway stations was forced to abandon his trip after nine hours - just days after being made an MBE for his services to disabled people.

Isaac Harvey, who uses a wheelchair to get around, was travelling from London to Cambridge on 11 November to go out for a meal for his friend's birthday.

But he was forced to abandon his plans after a catalogue of complications, including a broken lift at Cambridge station, nearly being sent to a second station before staff realised there was no ramp there, and then being re-routed to another station where he was unable to get a taxi back to his destination.

Unable to leave Cambridge station, Mr Harvey eventually returned home to Dagenham in a fruitless nine-hour round trip.

Greater Anglia has apologised and launched an investigation into what happened.

Mr Harvey was made an MBE on Wednesday by King Charles for services to people with disabilities.

However, his week changed when he traveled to Cambridge ahead of a birthday party.

"I had pre-arranged assistance at all of the stations I was due go to that day. My journey was fine until I got to Cambridge and there wasn't anyone there waiting to help me," he told ITV News Anglia.

"Instead three women offered to help me and found a staff member who was able to bring a ramp and help me off the train. He was really apologetic that there wasn't someone there waiting for me.

"I then got in the lift which took me up to the bridge, but then when I went to use the second lift to get me out of the station, I was told it was out of order."

Mr Harvey documented his journey on social media. Credit: Instagram/@relightalopecia's

The staff member with Mr Harvey at Cambridge station apologised, and tried to arrange for Mr Harvey to then go to Cambridge North station.

"I was happy to do that," Mr Harvey told ITV News. "They had offered to pay for a taxi for me. But when the staff member called the station, they said they didn't have a ramp to help me off the train, so it wouldn't be possible.

"The staff member even offered to bring the ramp from Cambridge station to them, but they said it wouldn't be possible," he added.

After this, Mr Harvey said he and another wheelchair user were told they could travel to Ely, where a taxi would be waiting for him to bring him back to Cambridge.

Mr Harvey hopes by speaking up about his experience it will raise awareness for other disabled people. Credit: ISSAC HARVEY

Once in Mr Harvey arrived in Ely, no taxi was available and instead he and the other wheelchair user were told to return to Cambridge on another train that would stop at an accessible platform.

But once they arrived, Greater Anglia staff told Mr Harvey and his friend Laura Mathias, with whom he was travelling, that they may have to wait over an hour for an accessible taxi.

They were also told there was no guarantee that one would be available to return back to the station for Ms Mathias' last train home back to Manningtree in Essex.

Worried they might not make it back, they decided to abandon their plans and make their way back home.

"It was very frustrating but I am calm-headed in these situations, I think you have to be in this day and age," Mr Harvey told ITV News.

"I have to say, credit where credit is due, all the staff that helped me that evening was all just as frustrated as I was and were very apologetic and respectful towards me."

Mr Harvey got home in the early hours of Sunday.

"I think there needs to be a plan B for these situations. Sometimes these things can't be helped but having other options when things don't work - that's really important.

"Especially at Cambridge station, where staff said the lift often doesn't work. Fixing these things for the long term is really important."

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the extremely unsatisfactory journey experienced by Mr Harvey and others when travelling with us on Saturday.

“We have apologised directly to Mr Harvey and a full investigation is underway into what happened, with the clear aim of preventing a repetition of such an incident in future.”