Updated: Aug 23
Hi readers, it's me Kerry here this week, writing about travelling by train in my wheelchair.
First, did you know, if you use a wheelchair and are travelling to or from Dorchester, you need to book in advance? The main reason for this is that, when travelling to Dorchester, the train comes into platform 2. For me to get home, I need to be on platform 1, which is the town side, but there is no wheelchair access across.
If I did get off on platform 2, it’d be hard getting home as it’s a long way by wheelchair, plus the pavements and roads aren’t all wheelchair friendly. By booking, they can change the rails so that trains come into Platform 1, and I can get home easily!
As for booking, I prefer a personal experience, booking with a real person at the ticket office. I also use WhatsApp, simply typing in which train, my destination, and that I’m using a wheelchair. I get an automated message saying the guard has been contacted.
I’m more confident booking in person as occasionally WhatsApp doesn’t work and the train comes into Platform 2. If that happens, I have to stay on the train to Weymouth (last stop on the line) and take the next train back to Dorchester, which arrives on platform 1. It’s a pain as it takes ages, and is especially inconvenient if it’s early evening, and gets dark during that time, as I then have to get back home in my wheelchair, which I don’t like doing. I can’t easily book a taxi either as they don’t always take wheelchairs, and it starts to get expensive.
I’m going to write more next week about the train stations, and my experiences of them, so do read if you are interested!
The writers of the Our View column are supported in their editing by People First Dorset - a charity led and run by people with learning disabilities with support from staff.