#wheelytrek- my first solo train journey in a wheelchair

I haven’t been able or confident enough to do any travelling since becoming a wheelchair user. Partly, this is due to the pain and fatigue that I get whenever I’m in a moving vehicle. It’s also because it has taken until now for me to feel confident enough that I could navigate/stay awake/be safe until I reached my destination.

Today, I travelled from Leeds to Birmingham. Once, this wouldn’t be cause for comment or celebration- I took for granted just how easily I navigated this country. Now, it feels like a major achievement.

I can’t fault the assistance that I received today from Cross Country Trains on the phone, and the train, and from the staff at Leeds and Birmingham railway station. I think my experience is an example of how it _should_ be for people with disabilities when travelling. Bravo to everyone involved. Particular thanks to my kind neighbour who has so often taken me places in his car when I have been worried about journeys. Truly, I couldn’t have done it without his help.

I plan to blog the after-effects of the journey, as I’m going to a two-day conference here and then returning on the train. It’s going to be a massive milestone for me. Wish me luck!

Here is the Grabchat of today’s attempt to Live-Tweet the journey.



@claireOT @gmd2

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Related tags

#spoonie #wheelchair

See Twitter for more tweets, people, videos and photos for #wheelytrek

@claireOT #wheelytrek 1st problem-how do I transport as suitcase and self-propell my #wheelchair ?(Tue, 08 May 2012 10:58:54 +0100)
@claireOT Best solution for eventuality no help appears- combination of straps attach wheeled suitcase to back of chair #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:10:39 +0100)
@claireOT Okay, Richard from CrossCountry trains assures me all the assistance is correctly booked, so I won’t need my strapping system #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:33:59 +0100)
@claireOT *takes straps and discreetly keeps in handbag just in case* #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:34:33 +0100)
@claireOT I’m hoping they will, since I’ve told them I’m going to blog the journey & share with other customers with disabilities #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:36:03 +0100)
@claireOT @SabreStairlifts @Robyn_Brockie @KennerleyWendy @smclrk thanks all for kind wishes, crossed fingers etc. I set off at 2pm. #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:42:46 +0100)
@claireOT @sexyswinging @sanabituranima yes, hope it all goes swimmingly, hoping it gives me the confidence to try travelling more #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:44:08 +0100)
@claireOT If I can make it to Birmingham today, that means I can definitely get to see my pals at @patientopinion in Sheffield soon! #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 11:45:23 +0100)
@claireOT Okay, T minus an hour before the #wheelytrek launch. Still to do: take tablets. Book taxi. Cashpoint.(Tue, 08 May 2012 12:49:45 +0100)
@gmd2 Good luck wishes to @claireOT with #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 12:55:31 +0100)
@claireOT And, we’re off! Thanks to my fab neighbour for lift to cashpoint and on to station #wheelytrek http://t.co/HaGIHpDN (Tue, 08 May 2012 14:36:04 +0100)
@claireOT Now pitstop for cash. #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 14:44:24 +0100)
@claireOT Thankfully managed to use ticket collection machine from wheelchair (only 2 failed attempts) #wheelytrek http://t.co/wGUxX9Kr (Tue, 08 May 2012 15:55:01 +0100)
@claireOT Assistance! The booking system worked! #wheelytrek http://t.co/z5osJ3lI (Tue, 08 May 2012 15:55:05 +0100)
@claireOT Fortunately they remembered the ramps and gave me a push up. Thanks train guys! #wheelytrek http://t.co/8bJRrQab (Tue, 08 May 2012 16:05:46 +0100)
@claireOT Wheelchair space already taken on train 😦 so, got an upgrade, yay! 🙂 #wheelytrek http://t.co/rXdEV8IM (Tue, 08 May 2012 16:06:31 +0100) 
@claireOT One has just been informed that one wont be able to have a meal due to being an interloper on a standard ticket. #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 16:16:06 +0100)
@claireOT I didnt know they offered one food and drink in first class- so have settled for a cup of tea #wheelytrek (Tue, 08 May 2012 16:19:15 +0100)
@claireOT Mmmm… coffee… just the job (especially cos 1) made in cafetiere and 2)free!!) #wheelytrek http://t.co/pEnJaBcD (Tue, 08 May 2012 16:20:50 +0100)
@claireOT My new pal Rennee and i, we like it in 1st #wheelytrek http://t.co/yOILODNm (Tue, 08 May 2012 17:02:51 +0100)
@claireOT Oh hai Chinatown! A lovely surprise to find myself here. Feels like I’m on holiday. #spoonie @ #wheelytrek http://t.co/57urS6NC (Tue, 08 May 2012 19:43:06 +0100)
@claireOT @smclrk am a bit exhausted, but made it with style! first class upgrade! see #wheelytrek for details of the trip x(Tue, 08 May 2012 20:37:44 +0100)
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  1. #in4matics Grabchat Health& in4matics Conference, 9-10/5/12 « Claireot's Blog

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