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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!


dreamalittle Fri 10-Feb-12 11:20:13


We don't drive and live close to two mainline stations, both of which are only accessible by steep flights of stairs. The larger one (Bromley South, a pretty major commuter station) has had vague plans for lift access for years, and it looks like it might finally happen this year. I'm expecting DC2 in April, so this should make the prospect of travelling a bit less daunting.

The journey I hate most is going up to see the in-laws in the North West, which means we have to use Virgin Trains. It always boggles my mind how they got away with designing long-distance trains with almost no luggage space, and very little concession to those with wheelchairs or buggies.

notcitrus Fri 10-Feb-12 13:07:52

It's going to vary hugely depending on where you live - my part of south London has ramps or now lifts to all platforms at 3 stations, but the fourth is steps only to both platforms - luckily it doesn't tend to be vital to use that one.
Clapham Junction (at least now with lifts) is still terrifying in the rush hour, with gaps to trains up to 2 feet high AND across!

My main problem is going out of London as we can book seats for adults but invariably crammed in next to other adults and no space left for the under-5s.

frankies69 Fri 10-Feb-12 13:26:36

Done I have a 11yr old with spinal problems and a 3yr old still in her buggy. The trains are not good for people with children and trying to travel in rush hour for hospital appointments is an absolute nightmare!!!

WhatIsPi Fri 10-Feb-12 13:41:32

It can be absolutely horrendous. I remember a journey on my own down to Exeter with a 5 year old and a 3 month old. In order to try and wedge the techno xt into the too small luggage area I had to leave the 5 year old with the baby so she didnt roll off the seat.

Then I was holding up the whole carriage as it didnt fit in the space and they had doublebooked the seats and so I got back to the seats to find a couple trying to move my ds and baby somewhere else.

There were tears. No help from any staff though.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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

notcitrus - we just book on - 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.

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.

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!

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


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!

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 ...

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!!!

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....

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)

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.

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