LNER took over the east coastline from Virgin trains running from Edinburgh to London.
I booked the tickets online using my disabled railcard to get discount. Once the tickets were booked I filled in the extra help form that I also found online and was simple to complete. Within 24 hours I got an email to say that the extra help and wheelchair space had been booked and all I needed to do was turn up at the information desk at least 20 minutes before the time.
Upon arrival, we went to the ticket machine at Newcastle Station which was easy access. Although we had some issues printing off the tickets the station was easy to access. The Information desk was easy to find and had a lowered desk. I was not asked for my booking form, just give them my name and they told me that they would have someone ready to take me across to the platform.
The person who was assigned to me offered to help with the cases but did not offer me an option of using the lift to get across to the other platform. Instead, he took us across the platform footbridge, which was steep for me even in an electric wheelchair, but for some, oneself propelling or frail and trying to push a manual wheelchair it would be impossible.
He also walked far ahead never to check if we were all right and going down the other side due to the gradient was a bit hair raising. At one point we actually lost sight of the passenger assistant and had no idea where we were supposed to go.
The ramp was at a safe enough angle but could have done with being a little longer, however the passenger assistant did not check to see if he had it the right way round (i.e. the pegs that go in the holes on the step of the train to keep the ramp stable),so when I used the ramp it was not actually safe to do so.
Access to the seat was clear, the disabled toilet was working and the space they booked me was big enough for me to get angled and settled with my electric wheelchair. Upon arrival at Kings Cross, it did take a while for someone to come to the train to put the ramp up for me to exit but it was easy to do once it was done. The return journey was just as smooth. At Kings Cross, they asked us to wait in the waiting room and near the time of departure, someone from passenger assist came and took us to the platform. Accessed the train easy enough again the wheelchair space was large enough and the toilet was working. However, due to the train being busy luggage was leftover spilling the luggage rack and also left in the passageway in front of the toilet and exit. On top of that, some people had got on the wrong train and had no seats so decided to stand outside the accessible toilet, this made it impossible to access the toilet at all.
Upon arriving at Newcastle which was not the end of the line it was difficult to find the space to exit with the wheelchair as there was luggage still in the way of the exit which I had to ask to be moved. The person with the ramp was waiting for the train to pull in and secured the ramp so it was safe to use however the people wanting to be on the train where crowding the ramp, making it difficult to see the ramp edges and making me feel pressurized and anxious about exiting feeling as if I had to hurry up. This nearly resulted in an accident and me nearly going off the edge of the ramp in the wheelchair which would have been a very nasty accident!
Train really needs to be upping the ante when it comes to disabled travelers making sure that luggage is out of the way and telling people to leave the toilets and exits clear for disabled passengers
I think they have a long way to go to be totally inclusive for disabled customers but like there service they are getting there.