IT might not sound much, but one inch makes all the difference for Brian Espiner in visiting his new granddaughter.

She is in London, while he lives at Abbotts Barton in Winchester and travels to the capital by train.

The problem is that his mobility scooter has been judged to be 2.75cm – just over one inch – too long to be allowed onboard.

Mr Espiner, who moved to Winchester in 1975 to teach maths at Peter Symonds College, was therefore told he could not travel when he phoned to ask.

He said: “We were only talking about just over an inch, but they wouldn’t back down.”

He needs a scooter because he only has one leg and suffers with spinal osteo-arthritis.

His vehicle has four wheels and is slightly larger than the maximum size of 112cm long by 56cm wide.

He added that South West Trains did allow three-wheel scooters of up to 120cm by 70cm.

Mr Espiner said even if the difference was down to a smaller turning circle, he still questioned the firm’s figures.

He said: “They are discriminating against four-wheeled scooter users in favour of three-wheeled scooter users. They have been clumsy and not thought the problem through.”

Determined to make the trip to London, he bought a slightly smaller scooter, but it cost £400. The father-of-four is now able to see his four-month-old granddaughter, Rose, who is his first grandchild.

Following his row with the rail company, Mr Espnier’s case has been taken up by Winchester MP Steve Brine.

He said: “This is a particularly frustrating problem for Mr Espiner, especially as he wants to visit his new granddaughter.

“The fact he bought a new, smaller scooter at great personal cost does solve his problem but others will not just be able to shell out for a new machine and it does seem the train company are being pretty inflexible on this one. I am taking this up with SWT.”

In a statement, the company said its scooter policy was “consistent with Government guidelines”.

It has also produced a 38-page booklet to provide advice to wheelchair and scooter users on its network.

It said: “Our aim is to work to provide an inclusive railway, which is available to as many people as possible through positive moves to increase accessibility.”