I asked a while ago if anyone could tell me about Assisted Travel on trains. Perhaps the lack of response was because you'd had a bad experience and didn't want to frighten me..................? Anyway, I'm back from my trip from Scotland (biggish station well north of Edinburgh and Glasgow) to Oxford and back, via York.
It was my first excursion by train for some years, as I had been increasingly worried about long platforms, carrying stuff, changing trains, etc.This time I admitted I'd need to ask for help, and booked Assisted Travel for self and luggage, requesting a station wheelchair, as I don't have one.
So I duly presented myself at the ticket office 20 mins before departure and waited. About 6 mins before my train was due, the wheelchair appeared, but the man pushing it flatly refused to pull my small wheely-case as well as pushing me (I am not particularly heavy) - and he wouldn't let me pull it either. He insisted he'd have to come back for it. But as I was booked in to the north end of the train, and the lifts to the bridge are at the south end of the very long platforms, there wouldn't be enough time. So I hastily heaved the case on top of the small holdall on my lap and clung on to it (extremely hard on the wrists), but at least luggage and I were safely loaded onto the train together.
On my return a few days later to my "home" station, there was no sign of any assistance, so I had to ask kindly fellow passengers for help to get the luggage and me down to the platform. I asked a nearby member of station staff about the wheelchair, and he just said "It's got a puncture" . I thought he was joking, but no such luck. And no apology either. He did go and get a luggage trolley and at least he pushed that, while I followed extremely slowly in his wake down the full length of the station to the lifts and back up to the ticket office. He did stop occasionally for me to catch up, but I was made to feel I was a nuisance to be tolerated.
There were no problems at Oxford, and the staff at York were exemplary.
But my future journeys will all have to start and end at my "home" station, and I can only see myself becoming more dependent on help, not less. I have written to Scotrail's Customer Relations, and will see what happens. My confidence has been eroded.