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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

(79 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

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Feb-12 15:23:42

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. We have done the prize draw and the winner is......
Gauchita
Congratulations! You have won £200 of high street vouchers. I'll PM you to get your details.

Kveta Wed 15-Feb-12 09:51:04

just wanted to add a short note, after taking DS (2.4) in to London on a Greater Anglia train yesterday (used to be NX East Anglia!). Brilliant service, can't fault it really. Ticket seller was great, chatting to DS, and gave him a blank ticket to play with, which DS thought was the best toy ever. Lifts to either platform were working (but slow!). Space for pushchairs (Maclaren Triumph) to go down the aisle, and then storage for it at the end of the carriage. Much nicer trains than NXEA had! Very clean too! Staff were all helpful at both ends of the journey, and DS had a whale of a time. Very positive experience.

We came back at the tail end of rush hour though, and it was certainly busier, and I wouldn't want to fight the crowds on my own with a Buggy (we met DH to come home!). It was on the old style of train too, so less space. However, DS seemed to enjoy it, and we managed to fold down the pushchair and hide it under the seat, and then get it back out just as we arrived to our home station.

petaluma Mon 13-Feb-12 15:02:36

The gap between the train and the platforms on many south west London trains is so treacherous that I wont travel on my own with my two dcs as they are both under 3 and I need the double buggy.

I don't know how other people do it, but I'm certainly not risking it. In addition, how the hell would I get up the stairs? I don't want to have to rely on the good nature of other people to assist.

dappply Mon 13-Feb-12 08:11:18

I've travelled with my son many times to visit family from when he was a baby to when he was a toddler. It's extremely hit and miss i find. It's impossible to phone and book a space for a buggy in advance ( even though it's possible to do this with a bicycle/ wheelchair) so it's Russian roulette as to the kind of train you get and the kind of staff you encounter.

Generally when I'm travelling with DS it have a phil and teds double with the back seat carrying luggage (suitcase and travel cot), so i prefer not to have to fold my buggy, as that's a lot of hard work whilst carrying a child.

So I play Russian roulette as to whether the wheelchair space is available on GNER, sit in the vestibules on virgin and hope for a sympathetic conductor who doesn't insist on me dismantling. And on central trains try and charm my way into the luggage carriages and sit on the floor next to the buggy. Obviously I make sure it's not impossible to fold the buggy up, but I try hard not to as it's so difficult to do so.

It would make such a difference if all trains had a few fold up seats and tables that were available to book in advance for buggy use. It's hard enough travelling with a baby, just being allowed to book a space and helping you need it would be so brilliant.

tahli Sun 12-Feb-12 18:20:56

Argh don't get me started! I have to travel from the south east to yorkshire to visit my Mum and it is impossible to plan a journey where I can change trains with the buggy. I am told the routes which are perfectly feasable aren't permissibble. Their routes would make me run through London with the pram since Victoria underground does not have disabled access and Canterbury and Faversham train stations don't have lifts so I can't change platforms. I called indis who told me my pram had to be less than 50cm! Also I had to fold it up on the train ( with baby in it?). I feel disabled on the train without the DDA to help. I'd like to think this survey will help but every time I have contacted train companies I get a brush off.

fuzzPigwickPapers Sun 12-Feb-12 17:44:07

I don't much like travelling with a buggy by train, but it is certainly preferable to the buses where I used to live (London Borough of Bromley)

angrywoman Sun 12-Feb-12 13:58:17

Me and a friend thought of taking a buggy with my daughters larger baby doll in it dressed up to make a girls w/e cheaper. We didn't risk it in the end and petrol between two was cheaper than full price adult tickets....

ReallyRachel Sun 12-Feb-12 13:36:00

I have a famiy and friends railcard and sometimes I find it's cheaper to pay for my 2yr old and use the card than to pay for one adult ticket! My biggest gripe is that on our small line there isn't enough room for more than 2 buggys or one wheelchair and you often find tourist putting their suitcases in the area for wheelchairs and prams and sitting there. But then during the summer when a lot of tourists use the train, the train is often packed and I've heard of trains refusing to take any more prams aboard because there isn't any room for them and then you have to wait 2hrs for the next train and run the risk of having the same thing happen again. Also as I breastfeed I never find there's enough room on the train to nurse my baby comfortably. The toilet either has rubbish and unsafe changing areas and I've even been on trains before where there has been no where to change the baby at all!!!

nancerama Sun 12-Feb-12 10:43:15

Thesoupkitchen, I had the same treatment as you at Reading Station. I was so angry, I wrote to First Great Western's chief executive to complain. The response sums up the entire attitude of the railway industry. Apparently platform staff have important jobs to do and are not employed to assist customers. hmm

I was travelling with a 3 month old sleeping in his pram. The chief executive suggested that I would not have struggled to board the train and wouldn't have needed to ask for help if I'd collapsed my pram - because my fellow travellers would have really appreciated me waking a sleeping baby against his will ...

KateSpade Sun 12-Feb-12 09:57:58

I go to manchester fairly regularly for shopping / meeting up with friends and my DD is at the age where she sleeps in her pram all the way round, best age.

However, i've never found help from a guard / train employee, but have had loads of help from members of the public.

I usually travel off peak when its nice and quiet, and my train station - home end, is small, has no facilities, which isn't an issue, however the toilets at the manchester end have been closed and replaced with port-a-loo's. Which is disgusting and inconvenient.

imnotperfect That's terrible about virgin train's, i was thinking about going on the train to Derby to visit uni friends with my daughter, as they always ask. The train is a virgin train usually, but defiantly not now. Thats awful.

screamingeels Sun 12-Feb-12 01:29:36

I've filled it in, but have to agree it seems a bizarre survey because generally as far as train operators are contributing its shit. Random members of public, brilliant! Carrying pushchairs, offering seats, taking DD on their knee on packed commuter trsin and reading Dear Zoo for a sodding hour. we generally travel off peak which is ok- but can we do something about filthy floors; DC will want to crawl under table

Thesoupkitchen Sat 11-Feb-12 22:21:50

I travelled between Swindon and Plymouth with first great western. The staff at Chippenham were useless, my DD was asleep in the buggy and as there was a bridge to the exit and i was alone with suitcases I asked a bloke in hi vis stamped FGW how I should get across. His response was something along the lines of 'up the stairs and over but you will need to do a few trips by the look of it.' and then he walked over laughing. I obviously rang customer care and complained immediately but I never heard anything back... Not to mention the fairs are extortionate! It's twice the cost of fuel for a car journey instead between Swindon And Bath!! They should wear masks and striped jumpers as my old dad would say.

ceeveebee Sat 11-Feb-12 21:47:41

The gap to get on the train at Richmond is huge, impossible to get my double buggy on. I asked the guard on the platform to help me on the train (was recovering from CSection) and he refused, said I needed to call 24 hours in advance to book assistance!

The next time I did call 24 hours ahead and was told on the phone that in fact they cannot help me onto the train and I should take my 10 week old twins out of the pram, fold it up and get on the train that way - er thanks Southwest trains, really helpful.

nailak Sat 11-Feb-12 18:33:54

yes please can we have one of these surveys about buses so we can all have a good bitch air our views

happybubbles20 Sat 11-Feb-12 16:30:45

Done. Travel by train to see family. Long distance with 18m old. Generally ok on trains round here, just wish there was some way to get a Pushchair on with sleeping baby in without having to get her out and fold it. Sitting in vestibule next to loo is not great!

giraffesCantDonateBoneMarrow Sat 11-Feb-12 13:13:28

done

TheTempest Sat 11-Feb-12 09:03:24

I've had fantastiuc experiences and awful experiences on the same trains from the same stations! Luckily, the journey I do is about 5 minutes long so it cant ever get that bad. Other than the time the guard watched me be bashed about trying to get off then bollocking me the other end for not managing to fight my way through the crowd at the door! An hour later I made it back to my station £10 poorer!

TenaciousOne Sat 11-Feb-12 07:42:14

Travelling by train is a nightmare with or without pushchair, the amount of times I've stood for over an hour long journey with a baby in a carrier while people stare at me is unreal.
People have pushed DH away from the bar that he was holding on to because they needed their bag to sit there when he had DS in the carrier, not the other three areas they could put it and still no one got up even after being asked. This wasn't even at rush hour, 2pm midweek.

WhatIsPi Fri 10-Feb-12 22:22:48

notcitrus - we just book on trainline.com - just book the under 5 at a child rate - down to cornwall and wales etc it rarely goes over 12quid with the family railcard and so its worth it. We have got an over 5 as well obviously though.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 10-Feb-12 19:16:07

I agree re the gaps between train and platform being enormous (am talking about Manchester to Salford/Bolton). I need two hands to lift the buggy on board, as the gap is too big to bump it up. It's so big that my four year old also needs hands-on assistance to navigate it, so i have to get one on, get off, get the other on, and hope that the driver doesn't close the doors in the middle of all this. Folding the buggy would entail a third trip off/on, so i dread the day I have to do this.

Again, when lifts are out of order ie all the time, i can carry the buggy two-handed with dd2 in it. problem is then that dd1 can get a bit lost in the crowd if it's busy.

planetpotty Fri 10-Feb-12 18:17:20

Done grin I've always received help boarding etc but it's not always the train staff that help usually lovely members of the public I guilt into helping us by looking harassed grin

notcitrus Fri 10-Feb-12 18:15:24

whatispi - how do you book your seats? Never been able to do it online and been told can't book a child ticket without paying a whole child fare, which adds a lot to my and MrNC's fares with a 1/3 off railcard, given it's only an issue for long-distance travel.

BrianButterfield Fri 10-Feb-12 16:47:34

When I was using the carrycot bit of my pushchair, it barely took up any less space collapsed than unfolded. A ridiculous rule. This thread shows that mums are happy (well, not happy, but not too bothered) to sit in the end bit on a fold-down seat, so why not make that space available? It's not asking for much, is it?

imnotperfect Fri 10-Feb-12 16:31:03

I ended up complaining to Vigin trains when I last travelled with a buggy. I had my 10 month old son and 5 yr old with me, I was also 12 weeks pregnant when due to a fault with the platform information, we all piled on to the wrong train. I realised and went to speak to the guard, who let me get off at the next stop and I waited for the right train.
This train which was half an hour late was absolutely heaving. I managed to heave my buggy and 5yr old onto the train inbetween piles of siutcases and was promptly stuck and unable to sit down anywhere.
The train manager then came along and rudely insisted I took my sleeping youngest out of his pram, collapse it and stand for the next hour, holding my son, pregnant and trying to entertain a 5yr old.
When I complained at having to do this, he threatened to throw me and my sons off at the next stop, I was in tears, tired, upsetting both my children, but nevertheless had to do as he insisted in order to get home. It was hell.
My husband complained via e-mail to the company when I eventually got home and was told that it was company policy that prams had to be collapsed. No-one has ever told me that before, and it makes no sense either. never again will I travel with Virgin Trains.

WhatIsPi Fri 10-Feb-12 13:42:36

notcitrus - we book a seat for under 5-s, even for babies - they're not expensive and gives you peace of mind.

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