If you need assistance, like boarding the train, buying a ticket, or help with luggage, we're here for you.
We are committed to making our services accessible and inclusive. Here is some useful information to help you plan your journey with us.
How to book assistance
We support the rail industry Passenger Assist scheme and our team are there to help you book assistance for your journey anywhere on the network.
You can book:
- Online using Passenger Assist form
- By phone on Freephone 0800 024 8998; or
- Next Generation Text: 18001 0800 024 8998
Our opening hours are 8am – 10pm, 7 days a week except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
To make a Passenger Assist booking, including seat reservations with other train operators, please contact us by 10pm the day before your journey. If you are only travelling on our services, you can book with us up to 12 hours ahead for journeys on the same day.
Don’t forget you can always simply ‘turn up and go’ without booking, but you may choose to book for peace of mind. We will do our best to help you on the day.
Please note: Whether you have booked assistance or not, please arrive at the station at least 20 minutes before your train is due to leave and allow more time if you need to buy a ticket.
We have a variety of trains in our fleet, which means facilities can vary. If you have a specific requirement please contact our Passenger Assist team. They'll be happy to help.
Please note: we are upgrading the accessibility levels of some of our trains. This means that whilst new ones are being brought in or refurbished, we are still running some older trains until the end of 2020.
Our Passenger Assist team can also advise you about the accessibility levels of our stations and can arrange alternative transport if a station is not accessible to you. You can also download a list of our Station Accessibility Guide and a step-free network map.
Mobility scooters and wheelchairs need to be able to use the ramps to board the train and turn safely inside the carriage. This means that wheelchairs and scooters must be no bigger than 120 cm long by 70 cm wide. Our ramps can carry a maximum weight of 300kg (the combined weight of the scooter/wheelchair and passenger).
Please see our Making Rail Accessible leaflet for more information.
Buying a ticket has never been easier. You can buy online, through our app, at the station booking office or ticket machine. If you can't buy a ticket before your journey because of accessibility reasons, you can buy one on the train or at your destination as long as you have cash or card to hand.
We can also offer the following discounts if you qualify:
- Railcard discounts (including Disabled Persons and Senior Railcards) - A Railcard is a great way get discounted rail travel throughout Great Britain, saving you at least a third on the standard fare. You can buy Railcards from any of our ticket offices or online.
- Concessionary discounts - Available without needing to have a Disabled Persons Railcard. These apply if you need to stay in your wheelchair during the journey or are registered blind and travelling with a companion. Ask a member of our station or train teams for more information.
- English National Concessionary Pass - Disabled or older people who live in the West Midlands can travel for free within the West Midlands boundary area at certain times.
Our staff are trained to listen to our passengers with patience and to be mindful that not all disabilities are visible to others. We recognise and make available a range of items which customers might find helpful, including:
Travel Support Card
Our staff are trained to listen to all passengers. However, if you would be more comfortable showing a member of our team a card that explains the help you need, please download and print our Passenger Support Card and fill it in:
You can also ask our Contact Relations team to send you one for free.
A JAM Card allows people with a learning difficulty, autism or communication barrier tell others they need ‘Just A Minute’ discreetly and easily. We are in the process of making these available to pick at our staffed stations. But in the meantime, you can request one from the JAM Card website or download the app on your mobile phone.
A Priority Seat Card
Priority seating is designed to be easily accessible for passengers who need it. Our priority seats are intended for:
- Disabled customers
- Elderly customers
- Pregnant customers
When asked politely, most people will be quite happy to move from the seat (unless they need it too) to allow you to sit there instead. However, we understand that not everyone is comfortable or able to ask so we operate a Priority Seating cards scheme. To sign up for the scheme, simply download a Priority Seating card application form or request one from our Contact Relations team.
The Sunflower Lanyard scheme is a way for passengers with non-visible disabilities to discreetly let others know they may need extra time or assistance on their journey. The scheme is widely recognised across the UK, for example by train companies, in large shops and at airports. You can wear the lanyard at any time and take it off when you choose to.
The Sunflower Lanyard website has more information, or you can pick up a lanyard for free from our staffed stations, just ask a team member at a station for more details.
You can also download a copy of our Accessible Travel Policy for more information on our policies and our plans for the future. An Easyread copy of our policy is available, or our Contact Relations team can send you a copy of any of these documents free of charge on request in standard or alternative formats.
We understand that accessibility is vital to ensure that our railway is a railway for everyone. One of our main aims is to make all our trains 100% compliant for disabled and older passengers. Over the course of our franchise we are investing in brand-new trains and refurbishing our older trains, like our 323s, to improve overall accessibility across our network.
Our upgraded train’s programme has already ensured that all our 323 trains (used on our Cross-City line) now meet the required accessibility standards. All these trains now have fully accessible toilets on board, as well as other features such as auto-announcements and passenger information screens.
Our Contact Relations team welcomes your comments, any complaints and praise for our colleagues.
If you travelled on or were due to travel on, one of our trains and you had booked assistance which failed to be given to you, please contact us. You may be entitled to a refund.
Our Stakeholder Equality Group is made up of a wide range of people who provide us with very helpful views on the accessibility of our trains and services. This includes disabled and older customers who provide feedback, ideas and help us improve the accessibility of our services.