- Richmond – Kingston – Return
I’ve talked before about what a difference the staff on the railway can make to the quality of a journey for both good and bad, and sometimes, like today, the contrast is stark.
I arrived into Richmond station with only a few minutes to catch the train and by the time I’d got to the platform there was less than a minute before the advertised departure time. Without much hope of success, after all I was being very unfair, I spoke to the train dispatcher and apologized profusely for leaving it so tight. Rather to my surprise and delight, he promised to get me on the train and to my amazement set off at a full run to fetch the ramp from down the platform. These ramps are heavy and I’ve heard complaints many times from other people but somehow this message hadn’t reached here as I watched him run towards me carrying the now collected ramp. All I can say is that some people go above and beyond for customer service.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the return journey, for in the twenty minutes it took to travel from Kingston to Richmond the guard forgot there was a wheelchair on the train and somehow the message that a ramp was needed hadn’t reached the Richmond station staff. So when they eventually did show up it was with the regular refrain “no-one told me” (Ker-ching) Had my PA not been there to tell the guard I might still be riding the network.
And there in one microcosm of a journey, are examples of both the best and the worst that disabled people can expect riding the rails.