Train travel for deaf and hearing impaired passengers has improved considerably with the introduction of new rolling stock and disability training for many front line staff.
Booking A Ticket
When buying a ticket from the booking office at most major stations it is usually possible to amplify sound via an induction loop system. To make use of this you should switch to the ‘T’ setting on your hearing aid. Alternatively it may be advisable to write down your ticketing requirements if your disability makes it difficult to be understood. If the booking office staff need more information or to clarify anything they can write down any questions.
Some stations have staff who are proficient in using sign language and, if they are on duty, will be able to communicate with you using this method. It is also possible to book tickets in advance over the internet. Not only are these usually considerably cheaper than pay on the day tickets, you are reserved a seat and can either pick the tickets up from a fast ticket machine at the station, but remember to bring the credit card that you used to book the ticket with you, or they can be posted to you if booked far enough in advance. Booking online means you can avoid the queue at the booking office. Some rail companies also offer typetalk with regard to train information.
You may also be eligible for a Disabled Persons Railcard which is priced at £18 for one year and £48 for three years. Contact National Rail for more information.
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On The Train
Almost every station in the UK, regardless of size, has a passenger information screen to inform passengers of arrivals, departures, platform information and delays to train services due to call at that station. Once onboard the train, especially the more modern or refurbished rolling stock, there will be a scrolling passenger information screen detailing stations that the train is due to call at.
It is worth noting the name of the station before the one that you want so that you can prepare to get off before the train actually arrives in the platform. If you are travelling on rolling stock that is not fitted with passenger information screens try and find a seat near the doors, so that you are able to make your way to the exit as the train arrives in the platform.
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If possible make the guard aware of your impairment and ask to be informed if there are any important announcements during the journey, especially if you are meeting someone at your destination or if you are booked on a connecting service. Many major stations have visual, as well as audible, fire alarms or signs telling passengers to evacuate the station. These usually take the form of a flashing light or flashing illuminated sign.
Modern rolling stock has doors that are either released or closed by an onboard member of staff. When the doors are about to close there will on most trains be, in addition to an audible warning sound, a visual reminder, for passengers onboard the train, of what is about to happen. This can sometimes be a flashing door closing light next to the door, or it can just be the light around the door button controls going out.