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Provision for Disabled Passengers

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Fireline, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Fireline

    Fireline Member

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Hi all. I know that I have read on here, quite some time ago, a discussion regarding how disabled passengers are carried on the various Preserved lines. Unfortunately, even using the search function I cannot find it.

    The crux of my question is this: If you are a wheelchair user, or someone who travels with a wheelchair user, do you find it acceptable to be given a place in a converted brake van section? I am not seeking to criticise those railways that do use these, but I know that previously opinions were expressed that, in this day and age, it would be good if better facilities were available. Or did I imagine this?
    nick813 likes this.
  2. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Jul 24, 2008
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  3. My son (47) is a wheelchair user who needs someone to push the chair and to be with him at all times. He cannot transfer to a seat in the carriage but must remain in his specialised chair. In those 47 years we have experienced a wide range of facilities on heritage lines.

    Thankfully many heritage lines have made extraordinary efforts to improve things and for that we are very grateful.

    There remains a few examples of "brake van" travel. Our experiences suggest such places are not particularly safe, having suffered bikes tipping over onto us and a tide of pushchairs crashing into us depending on the cant. Views are limited due to window access, cleanliness and other people standing in the way. I suppose it depends how much we want to make a trip on that railway so it is probably "consumer" choice to travel or not.

    At least most heritage lines do not tend to deny travel for those whose wheelchairs do not conform to the "standard wheelchair" dimensions used by public transport which is now denied to us (our wheelchair is 7cm too long). Sadly there are also one or two exceptions in the heritage world.

    And, if I may be cheeky, there's an estimated 250000 people who cannot visit places like heritage railways due to lack of appropriate toilet facilities, and I encourage heritage lines to consider installing a "changing place toilet" www.changing-places.org


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