South Western Railway (SWR) recently welcomed members of Age Concern Richmond on a ‘Try the Train’ trip to increase confidence and accessibility of rail travel.
Age Concern Richmond are the latest community group to experience the ‘Try the Train’ trip, which is designed to reassure and educate those who have not travelled by train before, or those who have limited experience on the railway, to ensure it is an accessible mode of transport that everyone feels comfortable using.
Ten members of Age Concern Richmond, some of whom hadn’t been on a train for some considerable time, were greeted at Whitton Station by the station staff and Lucy Lomax, Community Rail Officer at the Hampshire Community Rail Partnership (CRP), who explained the whole travel experience to them, from purchasing a ticket and finding the right platform, to boarding a train and knowing when they’ve reached their destination.
The group were also shown how they could find help at the station, including through help points, information screens, and the Assisted Boarding Point, where anyone who needs assistance boarding the train can request help with as little as 10 minutes notice.
The group was impressed by the guidance offered through the help button on the platform and the support of the guard and station staff. They also learned that the flashing orange light on the side of the train indicates where the guard is located.
The group then boarded a train to Richmond, accompanied by the Community Ambassador, who told the travellers more about the support SWR can offer on the train. On arrival, they were impressed at the ease of using the information Totem for their onward journey and finding out more about the local area.
While in Richmond, the group were treated to a visit to The Poppy Factory before returning to Whitton, making for an interesting and informative day out for the group of travellers.
Members of the party were impressed by the facilities and help offered by SWR, commenting that it had boosted their confidence for trying trips of their own.
Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager at South Western Railway, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve access to railway travel and hope more community groups on our network see the benefits of a ‘Try the Train’ event. It is a perfect opportunity for people to familiarise themselves with the experience of rail travel, knowing that we are with them every step of the way.”
SWR is always ready to hear from community groups who think a ‘Try the Train’ day could benefit them. For more information including a video on the Try the Train days, visit their dedicated Try the Train page.