All aboard!

Travelling by train

Travelling by train can open up many exciting possibilities such as visiting friends, getting to college or work independently and visiting different towns and cities. It’s something that many people might take for granted.

For anyone with a disability, travelling by train can present a number of challenges and obstacles; sometimes these challenges mean it isn’t possible to travel by train at all.

On our recent trip to Heathrow airport, we travelled by train from Epsom to London Victoria. Here is a summary of what we found.

What worked well?

  • Station staff were very helpful when additional assistance was requested
  • We were able to use our railcards easily when buying tickets
  • We were able to check in advance that the stations we were visiting were accessible (looking at Southern Railway and National Rail websites)

What made it difficult?

  • Although we booked the use of a ramp in advance, it wasn’t ready when we arrived at Victoria Station
  • There wasn’t any clear signage on board to demonstrate how to park a power chair

Useful tips

  • Check online that the station and train has the facilities you need e.g. accessible toilet, ramp, lift
  • If you will need assistance at the station or on the train, you can book in advance
  • Write down details of where you are travelling to and who is expecting you, a phone number is useful if you are running late or get lost
  • Take any medication that you might need with you (bear in mind that the train home might be delayed)
  • Check if you are eligible for a Disabled Person’s Railcard. If so, you and a friend can save up to 1/3 off train journeys