Accessibility at our Railway

We try our best to make it easy for everyone to experience our railway. Most areas of the railway are accessible for wheelchairs, walking aids, prams and people with reduced mobility.

Due to the heritage nature of some of our carriages, we can’t yet offer 100% access to all areas.

Our station

You can find step-free access from the car park into the station foyer, ticket office and shop. There is level access out onto the platform, to the model railway room and also to the new signal cabin. You can even take wheelchairs and walking aids into the signal cabin without the use of lifts or ramps, as it has been specially constructed at platform level to permit this.

At the end of the station building, a ramp takes you to a lower pathway which provides access to the viewing area of our workshop, and up a further ramp to take you into the carriage gallery. It is possible to access all areas of the gallery building without using steps, but access to the interior of some of the old carriages and locomotives may not be possible.

The small museum upstairs in the main station building requires you to climb two short flights of stairs.

Toilets

A large, accessible toilet is available at the ‘town’ end of our station building. This also has baby changing facilities.

A second toilet is located to the rear of the building. It is not fully accessible, but it has level access and has plenty of space inside it.

The Train

At least one carriage on every train has a set of large double doors and the ability to deploy a ramp for wheelchairs, prams or anyone else who needs that extra bit of help to get on or off. Prams can be lifted onto the train with assistance from our staff if you are happy to do that.

Prams can be parked near the double doors. Remember to put the parking brakes on, the train does sway a bit when it gets moving!

A wheelchair area is provided adjacent to these doors, with seating alongside it.

Loud noises

Trains can be noisy machines! The steam loco can sometimes “blow off” and make a lot of noise and steam when it is sitting in the platform. This is nothing to worry about, it just means there’s too much steam and it has to be released, it is perfectly normal. But it’s very loud, and some children and adults may find it alarming. Our crews will try to warn you when this is going to happen.

The diesel trains can also make a lot of noise too, as the engines need to rev up to operate the brakes. Horns and whistles can be very loud if you are too close, but we are required to use them at certain times for safety reasons.

Kids with autism can sometimes find such noises very disturbing, and you may wish to issue ear protectors. We recognise the blue ear defenders and will try our best to talk to you specifically if loud noises are about to happen.

If you have any questions or worries, please talk to one of our volunteer staff, or to the driver or guard of the train. It should be noted that at all times the safety of the train is the crew’s number one priority, and we cannot guarantee to warn you every time a loud noise occurs.

Inch Abbey

Our buffet train is usually parked at Inch Abbey platform. Unfortunately at present the buffet train is not wheelchair accessible – these carriages were designed in the 1950s and earlier, when accessibility was not considered. It is possible to have food and drink brought out onto the platform – we advise you to check the weather to see if this sounds like a good idea on the day you visit.

Step-free access is available from the platform at Inch Abbey down to the road to the Abbey, but the tarmac path does not go all the way into the Abbey itself. You can still get a good view of the Abbey from the end of the tarmac path.

The Abbey itself has grassed surfaces and is quite easy to walk on, but depending on the ground conditions it may be difficult for prams, walking aids etc.

Guide dog puppies in training in one of our carriages

Guide dog puppies in training in one of our carriages

Guide dogs

Guide dogs are very welcome at our railway. We’re even a training location for Guide Dogs Northern Ireland, as you can see in the photo!