Does taking the train take away the strain of travelling or is it a case of the train being the strain itself? To those of us who use the railways regularly, it is a means to an ends – travelling from home to work or from one part of the country to another to meet friends or to go on holiday. However, as mentioned in my last blog entry, travelling can and is often quite a daunting experience for many. The question of what stop to get off at, is there any help, what if I cannot get a seat or even how can I even get on or off the train.
Using the train to go somewhere can be the start of gaining confidence and taking advantage of new life opportunities; such as going to study at college/university.
Help is at hand. Over the last few years, a national help scheme has been in place to give assistance to passengers with additional needs. Co-ordinated by Network rail and the association of train operating companies (ATOC), anybody who needs additional assistance when travelling can telephone or in some cases email in a request for help and this will be booked into the national system.
Each train operating company has a designated telephone number, which enables passengers to make bookings. Generally, the guidelines are:
- Give at least 24 hours’ notice to make the booking prior to the start of your journey.
- State exactly what kind of assistance you need.
- Always try to use the number of the train operator who runs the station that you will be setting off from.
Types of assistance can include:
- Guiding to and from a taxi arriving at the station.
- Guiding on and off your train.
- A member of staff will meet you and help you find your next train if your journey includes any changes.
- Help with carrying luggage.
For more details, contact your local train operating company. A good information source is the disability on-board website which can be found at the following page:
Train travel need not be a barrier; instead it could lead to many opportunities.