|I am planning a trip by train later this summer, and am looking for some advice about doing it solo as an ambulatory wheelchair user.
I have tons of experience traveling by train, so don't need general advice. But here is my situation:
I'll be traveling alone. One train change along the way, in Chicago, a station I've been in many times and am familiar with.
I'll either be traveling with my mobility scooter, or with my manual wheelchair. I can walk short distances (I don't use an aid around the house, for instance) and AM strong enough that I haul my own chair or scooter in and out of my car as needed. I'm not worried about getting on the train from the platform. But I have questions for in the station and for on the train.
I suppose these are my big questions:
Once on the train, is there help available if, for instance, I want something from the cafe car? I have a special tendre for the Amtrak cheese and cracker plates and might like a cold soda, though it's not super-long trip (16 hours, all told, with a train change in Chicago, where I can get a meal) and I will bring food.
In the station: how do you navigate with luggage? It's a five-day trip, so I won't have a large bag, but I will have a bag on wheels. Will there be help in the station to get it inside, and then to the train? At what point does assistance begin and end? This may be the thing that decides whether I take the scooter or the chair, because I can pull a rolling bag while driving my scooter, if I choose the right bag. But overall I'd rather travel with my chair.
At the station I leave from, I'll have help right to the platform if I need it. Not so in Chicago, or at the other end, because the train arrives and leaves in the middle of the night and the friend I'm visiting can't do drop off/pick up in the middle of the night, so I'll be Ubering.
Anything else you can think of? I won't have problems getting to the bathroom or, depending on how far from it I'm seated, the observation car, but the cafe will be downstairs from the observation car and that is not happening for me.