Accessibility Information

Access Statement for the Bluebell Railway for Disabled Passengers

Introduction

The Bluebell Railway welcomes disabled people on its Heritage Steam service operated throughout the year. However, due to the age and nature of the types of services operated on the Heritage Railway some types of mobility scooters cannot be carried.

The Railway has four stations along its eleven-mile route, all of which are easily accessible to wheelchair users and mobility impaired persons.

Mobility

Our carriages

Specially adapted vehicles, which allow wheelchair access, are available on certain trains and can accommodate wheelchairs that are within the dimensions prescribed in government regulations covering public transport (700mm wide by 1200mm long).

  • Width: 700 millimetres
  • Length (including footplates): 1200 millimetres
  • Weight (loaded): no more than 230kg (36 stone), which is the safe limit that many of our ramps can carry

At all stations, ramps are available which connect between the train and the platform. The train crew and station staff will assist passengers in wheelchairs if required; they are trained in doing this.

We strongly recommend all wheelchair users to seek advice prior to booking. All trains are wheelchair accessible, but some of the carriages’ accommodation is not suitable. Suitable disabled accommodation on-train is strictly limited, and only available on a first come, first served basis.

Due to operational difficulties, wheelchair accommodation may sometimes be unavailable at short notice.

PLEASE DISCUSS YOUR REQUIREMENTS WITH OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF BEFORE BOOKING.

We can only accommodate standard designs of wheelchair and mobility scooter. Unfortunately, some larger vehicles are too wide and heavy to traverse the ramp into our carriages.

Some powered scooters are effectively road vehicles and are unsuitable for carriage in heritage vehicles. This is because the majority of mobility scooters have wider turning circles than wheelchairs occupying the same space and tend to be heavier and therefore are not appropriate to take on board trains with the confined space in the carriages. We do undertake however to carry those models of scooter that can be folded down into lightweight and manageable components and those that fit within the wheelchair size above.

It is the passenger’s responsibility to load the scooter on and off the train and we ask the disabled passenger or their travelling companion to ensure that the scooter is folded down ready for boarding prior to the train’s arrival. Assistance may be requested from either a member of the station staff or train crew. The folded scooters can be stored safely in the luggage compartments.

For reasons of safety, powered wheelchairs and scooters must not exceed 2 mph on station platforms and must not go near the platform edge.


PLEASE DISCUSS YOUR REQUIREMENTS WITH OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF BEFORE BOOKING.

Our dining trains

Due to the historic design of our dining car carriages with their narrow doors and gangways, it is NOT possible to accommodate wheelchairs at a table in one of these carriages. It is also important to note that passengers with mobility issues will need to climb up or down a step to get into or out of the train.

For those who are able to walk a short distance, wheelchairs can be folded and carried in the brake van.

Our Stations

Please remember that our stations were built in the 1800s and, as such, can pose some access difficulties.

Our stations have bridges or subways connecting the platforms, but those with walking difficulties or wheelchairs can be escorted by our station staff via a ramped crossing between the platforms.

At Sheffield Park – Designated parking bays are situated in the top car park next to the coach parking bays. These bays are heavily used. We advise drivers to ‘drop off’ passengers who have mobility problems at the top of the car park.

The booking office, shop, and catering facilities are located on platform1 and are all accessible to wheelchairs and on the same level as the platform. The Bessemer Arms is also accessible and all tables have loose chairs enabling disabled persons in wheelchairs access to tables.

At Horsted Keynes – There is sufficient parking however access is via uneven surfaces from the main car park, which some wheelchair users may find difficult. Drivers can ‘drop off’ right outside the station entrance.

There is no disabled toilet facilities on the station. The buffet is accessible on platform 3 via the foot crossing where the Station Staff will assist, however, most trains arrive on platform 3.

At Kingscote – There are no car parking facilities. There is a disabled toilet.

East Grinstead – There are limited disabled badge holder spaces. There is a disabled toilet. The East Grinsteade Buffet is accessible and all tables have loose chairs enabling disabled persons in wheelchairs access to tables.

Please note that mobile phone networks may not work in the area through which the line travels.

 

No wheelchairs are available for use at any of our stations.

Concessions for Carers and Disabled People.  

Our policy admits the necessary companion, or carer, of a disabled visitor free of charge, while the normal membership, or admission fee, applies to the disabled visitor.

We request customers who have purchased a free Carers ticket online to please produce of one of the following forms of ID at the Booking Office when collecting tickets: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Document, Disability Living Allowance Record Book, Attendance Allowance Book, Invalidity Benefit Book, Visual Impairment Registration Card (BD8), Blue/Orange Parking Permit or written confirmation of the above from the DWP with photographic identification.

 

Assistance Dogs

We recognise that these dogs provide assistance not only for the sight impaired but also for those with hearing loss, epilepsy, diabetes, physical mobility problems and more. Assistance dogs are welcome in our restaurants, on our trains, museum and ‘SteamWorks’ exhibition. We also welcome Assistance Dogs in training provided they are accredited as such.

Assistance Dogs (and those in training) travel free on our trains.