What support is available for planning my train journey?

Many people with sight loss use trains to travel to work, visit friends and family or attend medical appointments. However, this can be a challenge as services can vary dependant on the service operator and where you live.

Planning your journey

National Rail Enquiries - can provide you with information about your train journey over the phone and on the internet. Call 0345 748 4950 or visit the website. Please note that this is an automated service. National Rail also has a free app to help plan your journey, get live status updates, alerts, and notifications

Describe Online - a website providing text guides for stations and transport hubs for National Rail and Transport for London.

Trainline - is a free app for your smartphone which can help you search for train times across the UK, plan journeys, purchase tickets and check for live delays to your journey

City Mapper - is a free app that can be used in London, Manchester and Birmingham

Traveline GB - is another free app available to use all over the UK. Both of these apps are free

Translink NI Railways - a website that can help you plan your train journeys and provide information on railway services in Northern Ireland.

If you’re concerned about making a journey for the first time, it might be useful for you to take part in a ‘Try a Train Day’ event or find out if there is a travel mentoring scheme in your area. ‘Try a Train Day’ events are run by train operators and usually involve being escorted on a journey so that you can familiarise yourself with the stations, trains and locations of facilities. First Capital Connect, C2C and South West Trains are just some of the train operators who have already run these events. To find out about ‘Try a Train Day’ events in your area, contact your local train operator through National Rail Enquiries.

You should also talk to your train operator or the staff at your local station about the availability of timetable information that is suitable for you. Some train stations also have maps in braille and audio to assist you. Many trains have on board visual or audio notifications of the next station stop. If these aren’t available or if you are not able to use them, then you could talk to station staff about the number of stops you need to travel so you can calculate when to get off the train. 

Most train platforms will have visual and tactile markings indicating where it is safe to stand, such as a yellow line or bumps in the paving that tell you the safe areas of the platform.

Booking assistance

Booking assistance for your journey can make travelling safer. You can book free assistance for boarding, alighting and changing trains through your train operator but this usually needs to be done 24 hours in advance of your journey. To find your train operator, contact National Rail enquiries on 0345 748 4950 or visit the National Rail website. If you haven’t been able to book your assistance in advance, you can still ask for assistance at ticket offices or turnstiles.

If you need assistance when travelling in Northern Ireland, you can call the Translink Contact Centre on 0289 066 6630 at least 24 hours before you travel.

Further information on train travel assistance and getting around safely if you have sight loss can be found on RNIB's Rail Travel web page.

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