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NOW CLOSED Do you travel by train with a child in a buggy? Take part in a short survey and win £200 of high street vouchers

(80 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Feb-12 16:17:47

We've been asked to find out what you think about travelling by train with a child/children in a buggy/pushchair. Please take a few minutes to share your views and experiences by filling in the survey below. 

The survey is open to all UK Mumsnetters who have travelled by train with at least one child who uses a buggy/pushchair in the past four months. 

If you would like to take part in the survey, please click here.

Everyone who takes part will be entered into a prize draw, where one MNer will win £200 of high street vouchers.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw!

MNHQ

RunsWithScissors Thu 09-Feb-12 12:51:46

Done. Not too bad for me, but only because dh and I do the trips together. Can't imagine doing it solo.

Both he and I have always helped people with their buggies when out in London, hoping it's good karma if I ever need itgrin

Bloody appalling oop 'ere in't frozen north. Lifts don't seem to have made it this far north (Manchester) and the staff are more often than not dreadfully rude. There are TWO staff I have come across that have been helpful. TWO! northern rail I am looking at you here.

Oxford road I asked if there was a lift and told no and then the station chap just walked off, luckily a very nice passenger helped me up and over the bridge. Broadbottom has no lift, it does have access to the manchester bound side, but it has STEPS! Genius! hmm

I could go on and on and on.

coffeeinadrip Thu 09-Feb-12 13:29:30

I travel frequently on the train with a child in a wheelchair, could I fill the survey out?

BrianButterfield Thu 09-Feb-12 13:30:53

I have to say at my local station if you can't get over the bridge for whatever reason (buggy, bike, impaired mobility, luggage, any reason really) you can go to the end of the platform where there is a gate and a bell. You ring the bell and someone comes and escorts you across the line when it's safe. No comments or questions about why you aren't using the steps, either.

MissKittyMiddleton Thu 09-Feb-12 13:39:00

There was no suitable place to put this on the survey but South West trains have the stupid idea of putting priority seats right down the aisle so if you are pregnant or disabled you can't sit down and stay with your child in the buggy (which you prob can't fold and stow because of pregnancy/disability and lack of room on overhead storage racks).

That is assuming you can even see the priority seats when you're stuck in the crush in the atrium...

MissKittyMiddleton Thu 09-Feb-12 13:41:12

I've been told not to travel because I had DS in a buggy and refused access to the lift and interrogated about why I would use it. Apparently disabled people book it in advance hmm Bollocks Richmond Station staff and bollocks to your wet denial South West trains.

mousymouseafraidofdogs Thu 09-Feb-12 13:55:40

do tubes and trains in other countries count?

pinkappleby Thu 09-Feb-12 14:58:54

erm, I actually find it all fine. I have travelled solo with all 3 DCs currently all under 5 quite a few times. Maybe because I used to commute by train I know what to expect.

I use Winchester train station a fair bit and that has no lift. Often people offer to help. If they do not I ask people. Hardly anyone says no. Once there was no one about. I walked older DC to top of stairs with baby under my arm. Told them to wait with bags. Went back down and carried baby and buggy up. It is not rocket science confused

The worst thing I find is other people once you are in a carriage because I really need to sit all mine together - but again someone has always moved once I have asked. Some people say no, but someone else has always said yes. Often people offer to move before I ask. You have to be assertive. It helps that the four of us only take 2 seats up.

I have always changed nappies in the vestibule (in my pram if it is not folded), the toilets are too skanky to take a baby in.

You do always have to be ready to fold when the train rolls in, usually I don't have to though, which I am grateful for. I think the design of the trains on the lines I travel on are great, most carriages have some sort of space you can put your buggy in.

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-Feb-12 15:12:34

coffeeinadrip - yes that's fine - please go ahead

mousymouse - I'm afraid the survey doesn't include the tube/underground or trains outside of mainland UK

outofbodyexperience Thu 09-Feb-12 15:27:27

Gosh pink. That sounds great if it isn't a station where it's so busy that you literally have to hold the toddler's hand otherwise they get swept away in the crowds flooding up the stairs. Or the flow prevents you from getting back down them to the buggy. Or you're traveling with three kids and the youngest (buggy user) has sn and is too big to carry up and down stairs whilst you leave your three year old unattended. grin

Tbh, we have usually managed. The London stations are undoubtedly the worst, and I have been caught out at stations with no lifts at all. On one occasion a really lovely lady helped me up three escalators. (just an ordinary joe member of the public, no staff to be seen anywhere) and when we eventually got to the top and I found a flight of about ten stairs to get out at street level, two policemen stood and watched me wrestle with an sn buggy and a non-walking three year old all the way to the top. I'm sure they might have moved if i'd actually dropped the kid with the disability down the stairs, but I couldn't be sure.

So, I can't actually fill the survey in, because it was such a horrendous experience I vowed never to do it again.

Which is something you might want to highlight to whoever has put this survey together. There are a whole raft of families that don't travel by train with small children or children with disabilities because it is so horrific. So whilst they are asking those that do it, they are missing out on the views of a whole untapped army of potential customers. Or those that were customers once and vowed never to do it again.

Hey ho.

I travelled down to london, by train(s), what i dont get is that trains are supposed to be PUBLIC transport, yet none of the TUBE stations seem to have a lift?? Such a god damned pain, the esculators are ridiculous and no one wants to help you, even with a baby in a buggy and two suitcases. Stupiodity. Last time i got the coach which takes over an hour longer, but involves only changing onto a train once and no underground. Instead of two trains and the underground

DaPrincessBride Thu 09-Feb-12 16:25:05

It worries me that a capital apparently ready to host the olympics has no lift access to many, many of it's stations.... hmm

Miss Kitty I second the Richmond staff, they were astonishingly crap. They - and the guard on the SW train I was running to catch - watched me climb flight of steps with buggy containing toddler under arm (appreciate they aren't allowed to help, apparently) run across the bridge, down another flight of steps with toddler balanced and when I hit the bottom step the guard closed the train doors. And waved to me. Next train 3 minutes away, whinging toddler. I could have wept.

And to add the lemon juice to the wound, a SW trains employee appears when I'm nearly weeping at the bottom step and says 'Madam, you do realise there is a lift'.

Last time I was there, I asked to use the lift and was told I wasn't authorised to.

I no longer travel to Richmond.

RottenRow Thu 09-Feb-12 16:45:56

Done

MissKittyMiddleton Thu 09-Feb-12 16:50:27

Yup they are a special kind of sadist at Richmond station. I might just email SW trains this thread but they won't give a monkeys because there's no competition. They don't even have enough staff on duty to operate the lift and make sure the trains are safe arriving and departing.

Ryoko Thu 09-Feb-12 17:20:59

I take it the tube counts? or is this just about mainline trains?

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 09-Feb-12 17:23:53

Ryoko - this one's just about overground trains, not the tube.

suchnonsense Thu 09-Feb-12 17:26:59

Done. I commuted every day before I had DS, so I was aware how truly rubbish train travel would be with a baby/small child. As a result, I deliberately bought a pushchair which is light enough that I can carry it up flights of stairs by myself, with baby inside. However, I have no idea what we'll do if we have another child in the future - probably travel by car.

Even when stations do have lifts, they're so hideous that I'd still usually rather struggle down the stairs - anything rather than suffer the 2 minutes of hell in a piss-soaked death-trap.

roisin Thu 09-Feb-12 17:27:28

I used to travel by train with buggies loads, even with a double buggy on many occasions. Unfortunately my babies are now 12 and 14 ... years!

Done.

I'd happily do a survey like this about buses too. They are so overpriced (it costs me £4.10 for a return ticket to travel the 2 miles to the childrens centre) and run only once an hour. Which is a real pain when the bus only has space for 2 buggies, so after waiting in the cold with 2 small children I'm told there's no space (because even if I took the kids out the buses no longer have anywhere to put a folded buggy).

Compared to this the trains are far cheaper (off-peak) and easier. Except that I have to get the bus to the station...

stantonjulie Thu 09-Feb-12 21:55:36

We have to commute in rush hour to london with our daughter as there were no spaces in day care in Sevenoaks. We are not the only ones. We go in the disabled section but it's annoying when regular commuters sit there so we have to stand, when there are spaces elsewhere. She's pretty good as its part of her routine. Also nice having her to chat to on the commute home (and the nursery doesnt shut until 630 so no stress on getting out early).

I actually fit DD who's now just 6 (even though on the survey I had a mindfart and clicked 5 blush ) in a buggy as she has walking difficulties. So despite the ages of the children we've never travelled without a pram or buggy in the last 11 years shock

PastGrace Thu 09-Feb-12 22:43:42

I haven't, so not completing the survey, but would just like to say that National Express East Anglia are utterly useless - the trains to Ipswich are the old fashioned ones where you have to push the window down and use the handle on the other side of the door. I've often had to rescue women who are wedged in with a pram and can't reach, and then have to swing a heavy door open and wiggle their pram down the massive step.

No matter how helpful are, it's the 21st century and those sorts of trains just aren't accessible enough.

PastGrace Thu 09-Feb-12 22:44:04

*how helpful other passengers are

lurkingmurking Fri 10-Feb-12 09:15:39

I had to answer 'strongly disagree' to the staff helping either on the station on on the train. I have never ever had help from a member of staff, it's always a member of the public. I have to say that I take DS and his buggy all over the place on trains and tubes and have never had to yank him up the stairs - someone has always helped - even at Richmond!!

BertieBotts Fri 10-Feb-12 10:55:27

I find the train carriages too high up to lift the buggy into as well. And DS was useless - we went a couple of months ago, and although he is well able to walk he screamed and refused to get on the train without me. I did not want to risk getting on first just in case the guard didn't see him and the train left without him. (I know it's unlikely, but the possibility is so horrendous that I would not even slightly risk it) Luckily there were some other helpful passengers there but I cannot physically lift a buggy with a 3 year old and a week's worth of luggage on it by myself. I have had help from a staff member once. There are usually no staff even on the platform or train itself. I always try to help anyone I see who is struggling.

If you are using a virgin train and there is only space for a wheelchair/unfolded buggy in one carriage, there is nobody to ask which carriage to use, and the train does not wait for long enough for you to look for the symbol, I always feel rushed to get on. Not a problem if you are a single able bodied person with a small bag, but for anyone with large luggage or children with them or I imagine a disability, it is stressful trying to get on in time.

In the town I grew up in there are no lifts at the station, just an underpass with steps. The answer there too is to take the train to the next station and change platforms there. Luckily stations in either direction are only 5 minutes away. Annoyingly, there is actually access to the station on foot from both sides, but again, there are only steps leading up to one side.

I use(d) buses regularly with the pushchair, and have never had a problem, even when I've had to fold it up. Even the buses with a step tend to have a fold out ramp. Why can't trains have something like this? I can't imagine how wheelchair users get on.

I find with some of the local services the train carriages are less cramped and there are large areas near the doors with pull out seats so you can sit with your child in the pushchair, or leave the pushchair there and sit nearby. Virgin and CrossCountry are the worst for cramming too many seats in too small a space.

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