Solved

wheelchair user looking for most suitable service

  • 9 December 2022
  • 7 replies
  • 101 views

I am wanting to travel somewhere next year. I don’t mind where, I just want to catch a long distance train that is most suitable for my needs. I am hoping your can guide me on what is available and best suits my needs. 

 

I live with multiple sclerosis and use a mobility device to get around. I am terrified that my mobility device will tip during the long trips and would like to know if there is anything available to secure my device during my trip. I am very comfortable in my mobility device and will stay in it for the duration of the trip. 

 

 I would also like to travel with my partner. And he can assist me with my needs. 
 

What is the best train and service for my needs? 

icon

Best answer by AnnaB 10 December 2022, 09:05

View original

7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Do you have any wishes for destinations? The situation differs a bit from country to country, train to train and even station to station.

I assisted a friend once in a wheelchair, from Brussels to Bordeaux, with a change in Paris. It was a good expierence (but you need to take a special taxi between Gare du Nord and Montparnasse - but as a mobility device user you have absolute priority.)

Bordeaux is also a nice and accesible city, quite attentive to people with reduced mobility. Good trams that you can board without assistance, plenty of adapted thresholds, pavements and venues;

I actually don’t mind where I go. I just want to go on a comfortable long distance train trip that best meets my needs. Bordeaux does sound lovely though

I do have a fear of my mobility device tipping though, I was once on a bus that went around a corner too fast and I was thrown off my device. I would like some type of active restraint system when I travel. I am travelling with my husband and he can help me secure the device too it. But would prefer an overnight or long distance train with active restraints. 
 

do you know what is available? 
 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

I actually don’t mind where I go. I just want to go on a comfortable long distance train trip that best meets my needs. Bordeaux does sound lovely though

I do have a fear of my mobility device tipping though, I was once on a bus that went around a corner too fast and I was thrown off my device. I would like some type of active restraint system when I travel. I am travelling with my husband and he can help me secure the device too it. But would prefer an overnight or long distance train with active restraints. 
 

do you know what is available? 
 

 

Quite a lot long distance trains have special places and even some Nighttrains like the Nightjets of Austrian Rail have special compartments. The difficult thing is to organise the Assistence at the stations as every Railcompany have a own “Mobility Service Number” to arrange assistence for boarding, changeing trains and ofcourse finally  leaving the train.

The Systems in NL,Belgium,France,UK,Germany,Switzerland,Austria,Czech Repiblic works quite well when you travel between bigger Cities (not all stations in Europe are easy accessible).

As it works in every Country different you maybe say which Destinations are on your mind.

Personally a good Tour i already done (together with a Friend in a Wheelchair) was Amsterdam - Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Vienna - Venice - Milan - Several day Tours across Switzerland (based in Zürich) - Basel - Koblenz (Rhine & Moselvalley) - Brussels - Amsterdam.   The problem we had was to organise the assistence at the stations as you have to organise it well in advance. Which takes the Flexibillity you usually have with Eurail/Interrail.

offical it´s enough within Germany when you book till 8pm the day before and for International Services starting or ending in Germany 48h before but our experience was that sometimes it´s better to “book” it from 4days up to a week in advance. :/ Website of German Rail regarding Mobility Assistence (sadly just in German)

Userlevel 7
Badge +15

We had the best experience in Austria and Switzerland as for example in Switzerland it´s enough to book the Assistence just 1hr in Advance :) We managed to use the GlacierExpress from Brig to Chur (Glacier Express [direct]  was easier compared to my personal prefference to take the Regionaltrains with 2 changes). We even took 2ship rides in Switzerland on Lake Lucerene and on Lake Leman :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Your husband will get a free Eurail pass as he needs to assist you, see below. On the page there is a link to a document with information about how to get assistance on train stations in the different countries participating in the Eurail offer.

https://www.interrail.eu/en/support/interested-in-interrailing/travelling-with-a-caregiver

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Anyway, for Belgium you can find all information and book your assistance here:

https://www.belgiantrain.be/en/travel-info/prepare-for-your-journey/assistance-reduced-mobility. You can also book international trips (that leave from, or go to Belgium) there. 

You will need to arrive a bit earlier to the station, go to the rendez-vous point where staff will help you on the train. When you get off, staff will wait for you at the exact place to get you from the train. 

Getting around in cities can be hard, since a lot of cities are very old, and have very narrow, difficult pavements. Cities with a recently repaved, car-free centre are usually much more attentive to people with reduced mobility. Most known visitor attractions and museums are perfectly accessible (although exceptions exist). 

There's usually always a solution to get around, by accesible taxi or the local transport company. But really dependent from city to city, region to region and country to country.

So again, the more concrete your travel wishes are, the better we can help. The situation differs so often. What's on your destination wishlist? 

Places with active restraints are really something train specific. I've seen it on a lot of trams, but not often on trains. But you shouldn't worry, rail transport (train, tram, metro, but especially trains) is much more stable than a bus and quite predictable. They won't go too fast around the corner. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Just something to be aware of. If your mobility device is a normal wheelchair you should not have any problem travelling with trains that say that they accept wheelchairs.

If your mobility device is an electric scooter, you need to closely check what limits there are for electric scooters for the different trains you want to travel with. At least in Sweden there are different limits for electric scooters for different types of trains.

Reply