Railway Travel Tips

trainTraveling by train is comfortable and safe. Modern trains are fast, comfortable and often much cheaper than flying.  Many European national railway companies have adapted their services for people with disabilities. They have special areas for people with disabilities in coaches and are working on improving accessibility in railway stations. The Netherlands and UK, for example, each have more than hundred railway stations that have made arrangements for passengers with wheelchairs. Railway companies also provide important and necessary information, enabling persons with disabilities to travel quickly, easily and safely.

Most trains in the Netherlands, for example, have coaches marked with the international accessibility symbol. Intercity trains have special areas for disabled people with extra wide, automatic sliding doors. Double-Decker trains with wheelchair-accessible toilets are marked with the international accessibility symbol. In the event a particular station is not fully accessible to a disabled person, the railway company guarantees assistance provided by trained station staff.

If you are new to the country to which you are traveling, it is strongly recommended that you contact your railway company to obtain all the information concerning your departure and arrival. Make sure that you request assistance beforehand, if any is needed. One additional advantage of train travel is that significant discounts are available on request for people with disabilities and in some countries even for their escort. The discount amount in some countries is as much as 75%.

However, some railway companies may promise assistance but fail to provide it.  There also have been reports of bad experiences in some countries, such as persons with disabilities boarding a train easily but on arrival having difficulties disembarking. It is unpleasant having to rely on strangers for help but sometimes it may be necessary. If you find yourself in such a situation, do so in a public place and choose the person or persons you ask for assistance carefully. Be aware of people that might take advantage of you or possibly rob you. Check to see if there is a taxi or accessible public transportation near the station.