What is Assisted Travel?
UK train companies offer a range of services to help disabled passengers, the elderly or anyone requiring assistance. Assistance may take the form of train staff meet the passenger at the departure station, accompanying them to the train and seeing them safely on board. Similar arrangements can be made at the destination station or other stations if the journey requires a change of train trains. Ramps can also be provided for wheelchair users.
Assistance from Individual Train Companies
A detailed summary of the assistance available from individual train companies can be found here and further resources for planning your journey can be found on the Rail Travel Made Easy website. Train companies can give better assistance you if you contact them as far in advance of your journey as possible. Please try to give at least 24 hours’ notice of the trip. If you do not give the train companies notice, they cannot guarantee to provide their normal level of service. Assisted travel numbers for all train companies can be found here.
A Dedicated Disabled Persons Railcard covers the disabled passenger plus an accompanying carer and costs £20 for a year. Cards offer a third off travel for both the passenger and their carer and can be purchased at http://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/.
Mobility Scooters and Buggies
Train companies will accommodate mobility scooters powered by sealed batteries if possible. Not all scooters can be taken on every train and as dimensions of train interiors differ, there is no simple solution for every train company. Scooter refers to a vehicle with a steering column. If your vehicle has a joystick and small front wheels that swivel 360 degrees, this is a powered wheelchair and not a scooter.
Scooters with three wheels, or four wheeled scooters which have the front two wheels very close together can manoeuvre into tighter spaces than those with four wheels like a car (pavement vehicles). Many trains can accommodate manual and powered wheelchairs up to a maximum width of 670mm and 1200mm long (including footplates). If you have a larger wheelchair, you should check with the relevant train company whether you will be able to access the trains.The loaded weight of a scooter should not be more than 230kg/36.2stone as this is the weight that the ramps can safely take.
When planned or short notice engineering works take place requiring rail replacement buses or coaches, or during severe disruptions, train companies try to hire vehicles that comply with accessibility regulations so that people can still make their journeys. However, Railway companies are not always able to guarantee that rail replacement road transport will be able to accommodate scooters. Therefore, before you intend to travel please check with the train company concerned if there is any planned engineering work.
As in any environment in which people can come and go as they please, for everyone’s safety, we ask you to follow these rules:
Lower the speed of your scooter to walking pace, stay clear of the platform edge until the train has come to a complete stand at the station and follow staff instructions at all times.
Unload any bags/shopping etc. from the scooter, as this may cause the scooter to tip when going up/down ramps.
If you have a folding scooter, ensure that you are able to carry it without staff assistance when boarding and alighting from trains. Staff may not be available to help at many locations and many stations have limited level access. Please make enquiries with the relevant train company before travelling;
Before making any journey for the first time, contact the relevant train company to check what is possible on your chosen route.
Please Note: Train company policies may change as more risk assessments are carried out. As the prime concern is safety, changes can occur without prior notice. Please contact your respective train company for further information.
Arranging Assisted Travel
To arrange assistance you will need to contact the train company you are travelling with at least 24 hours before your journey. Travel Assistance can also be booked online here.
If your journey involves travel with several different train companies, you only need to contact the first company you are travelling with who will be able to make the necessary arrangements for the rest of the journey.
When you get to the station, identify yourself to a member of staff and let them know that assisted travel has been booked.
Dogs for the blind are welcome on all trains in the UK.