Passenger assistance when travelling by train

06 April 2022

All train operators must provide assistance to you if you are disabled, or are older and cannot travel without help, even if your impairment is not visible. The rail industry runs the Passenger Assist service. This allows you to request assistance from rail staff for your journey. It helps ensure everyone can travel by train safely, in comfort and with dignity.

The assistance offered includes:

  • providing information on which stations are accessible, and the facilities at those stations
  • offering help to navigate the station
  • support when boarding the train, such as showing you to your seat
  • arranging a ramp on or off your train
  • meeting you from your train and taking you to your next train or the exit
  • carrying your bag(s) – up to three items of luggage as per the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

The railway recommends that you give at least six hours’ notice for booking assistance.

However, it is not always possible to plan your journey in advance. Passengers can turn up at any station that they have identified as accessible to them and request assistance on to a train from a member of staff, or via a help point or a Freephone number where stations are unstaffed.

This service is sometimes known as ‘Turn Up And Go’ and depends on conditions at the time of your travel, such as staff availability.

The amount of notice necessary may vary between companies though it cannot be more than six hours. Some do not need any notice. All companies are required to provide a clear explanation of their assistance service in their Accessible Travel Policy.

Even if your journey involves travel on more than one company’s trains or through more than one company’s stations, the entire booking can still be arranged in a single phone call or email message to any of the companies.

All companies will do what they can to assist if you need to travel at short notice without booking, but those who have given notice will have priority.

You can buy your ticket in the same phone call if you have allowed enough time for the tickets to be delivered.

When you book assistance a unique reference number will be created for you, for that booking. Confirmation of the details booked will be sent to you (by post or email). You should check that the details are correct and reflect what help you asked for.