Train Travel: Disabilities and Special Needs

Train Travel_Disabilities and Special Needs

Last post, we talked about a specific kind of medical challenge when traveling. This post, I will be more generic about disabilities and special needs on a train. Aren’t we all relieved! (tee hee)

When I began putting together my cross-country travel plans, I thought I would have to travel under the term “disabled”. Due to chronic pain in my feet and legs with added injuries from a car accident, I didn’t see myself able to do the trip alone without a lot of assistance.

A year of physical therapy and I was off the walker and propelling on my own two feet. Not always comfortably, but I could do it. So when I made my final plans, I didn’t click the disabled button.

Help is There If You Need It

But the nice part, it is there if we need it. Even if mid-trip I should have needed help, help would be there.

How Does Amtrak Help Disabled Passengers?

For current information, read Amtrak’s policies on their website, but here’s what I observed on my trip:

– At staffed stations, golf carts help a passenger to and from the train.

– Conductors will help you lift your carryon onto the car and off the car. If you have a hidden disability, you may have to ask.

– If you ask for their hand to help you down the stairs, they will give it to you. I had old time movie flashbacks and pretended I was wearing gloves on my hands instead of fake Uggs on my feet.  Winking smile

Hand_National Gallery of Art

– The superliners (two story trains) have a lovely compartment on the lower level for disabled passengers. The conductor keeps a close eye on those coming and going, so it seems very safe.

– Meals and snacks, from what I understand, can be delivered to your seat.

Help with Food Allergies? Not So Much

Speaking of meals, I can’t with confidence say that Amtrak considers food allergies a disability they accommodate. They have thoughts about the matter, which you can read online.

I wish they did a little more to help those of us with medical dietary restrictions, but for now, the best advice is to take your own food.

And take at least one good chunk of food more than you think you will need.

Even trains get disabled once in awhile.

Begin Locamotive-ing Locally

I hope this encourages you to think about taking a train trip. They truly are an experience!

If you are worried about taking a long trip, start short.

Try a train to a pretty spot just a couple of hours away.

Winter Park Train Station 1

For example, in March, my daughter and I took a train trip to Winter Park to eat at a dairy-free restaurant (oh yah!!!) called Ethos, visited the Morse Museum of American Art (think Tiffany glass!)

Morse Museum 2

and wander the lovely downtown area next to the train station. We left early in the morning and were home by midnight.  Smile

Winter Park Train Station 2

The financial investment in testing the waters can be well worth it. And you’ll get an extra adventure out of it!  Smile

Discover Ways to Learn, Love, and Serve

at Home ... and Beyond

Thoughts ... Insights ... Questions?