Richmond – Willesden Junction – Euston – Birmingham New Street Est time 2hr 15 min
Richmond – Clapham Junction – Willesden Junction – Euston – Birmingham New Street – Time 4hr 15 min
It’s a straight forward journey, one I’ve taken countless times. I grant you going the long way round seems counter intuitive, certainly the TfL journey planner can’t even be persuaded to see the route, but the alternative, at least for me and my chair, is a train into Waterloo then a taxi to Euston. This is expensive, uncomfortable and often takes just as long, depending on traffic.
Now we’ve established method in my madness, lets focus on the details. The requirement for getting from Richmond to Willesden is a train. The problem comes when there’s a points failure around Acton and there aren’t any trains. No problem, plan B, the underground will help… oh no it wont, there’s a strike. Plan C looms into view, looks like it’ll have to be Waterloo and a taxi. Fortunately my tame dispatcher warns me that waits for taxis are up to an hour at Waterloo. At this point I give up with plans and just wing it by re-routing through Clapham.
Whilst it’s longer, it does go relatively smoothly, except for a story my tame dispatcher at Willesden regales me with. It seems I’m not the only wheelchair navigating this rail service lacking trains. A previous passenger had exactly the issue I faced, but the official advice for completing her journey involved 3 buses to get to Richmond. The dispatcher knew the inconvenience this would cause so, wanting to deliver the most appropriate customer focused solution, advised her to go via Clapham Junction, just as I had. Somehow his boss found out about this off book advice and admonished him for it.
Looks like I have a supportive letter to write to someone’s boss. It’s late. I’ll do that after I’ve grabbed some food.