All TransLink trains servicing Brisbane and South East Queensland are wheelchair accessible.
Wheelchair users must board at the wheelchair boarding point, which is indicated by the blue and white accessibility symbol located on the middle section of the platform. The wheelchair carriages on the train are indicated with the blue wheelchair accessibility symbol on the doors. To access or disembark the train, a guard must place a ramp down for access.
Passengers must inform the train guard or the platform guard of their destination. A guard will then deploy the portable boarding ramp again at the departure stop. In the newer trains, there is now a wheelchair assistance button to contact a guard for assistance.
There are wheelchair seating sections located in the wheelchair carriages for those with mobility aids and limited mobility. Mobility aids should not exceed 75cm wide by 130cm long and 300kg.
Most stations are wheelchair accessible via lifts and ramps. Some stations have steep ramps and may require some assistance. You can find out which stations are accessible by viewing the TransLink station Mobility Map here.
I also highly recommend checking the translink website for any lift outages before a journey. Lifts outages are common around South East Queensland stations and can be a huge issue if the only alternate access is via steps.
Tickets can be purchased via a TransLink Go Card, or a paper ticket can be purchased at the station office or by a ticketing machine. Carer Companion cards are accepted for free travel for carers. Wheelchair users may also qualify for a disability TransLink Access Pass if they do not need a carer but have difficulty using a Go Card, click here to find out more.
I have travelled on the TransLink rail network many times, and unfortunately, have run into several issues and obstacles throughout the years. Even though the rail network is wheelchair accessible, there are still many issues in regards to travelling with a wheelchair.
On several occasions, I have actually been left behind on the platform due to no one being around to deploy the ramp. Most times, a guard is located at the front of a wheelchair carriage (on the older trains), but this isn’t always the case.
Queensland has purchased new NGR trains, and the guard carriage is no longer located at the accessible carriage, This is a concern as this could lead to a lot more wheelchair users being left behind on the platform. Some of the new NGR trains are now servicing the network, along with the older trains, The boarding process is a little different for the new trains due to there being no guard carriages on the trains. All platforms at stations now need to be managed by a platform guard to ensure access onto the carriage for wheelchair users. The guard then radios through to the destination platform to inform the platform guard a wheelchair user is on board the train. If all goes to plan the platform guard should be waiting at the destination to deploy the ramp.
On the new trains, I have had the station guard forget to radio through, and on the older trains, the guard has forgotten to let me off. Luckily I always travel with someone, so they are able to get out and remind the guard. Nevertheless, this is a huge issue if I wasn’t travelling with someone, as I would be left on the train.
Thankfully the new trains have an assistance button that allows passengers to speak to the guards.
In saying this, I have also had many successful journeys on the rail network, with no issues at all. When all goes to plan, and the system is followed as intended, travelling on the Brisbane train network is very accessible. To be prepared, it is recommended to allow plenty of time in case things don’t go to plan.
Even though the NGR trains have the new assistance button the trains actually don’t fully comply with disability laws. The new trains accessible toilets do not meet legalisation, and the gangways between the accessible seating area and the toilets are too narrow. All the NGR trains accessibility issues are scheduled to be fixed by 2024.
For more information on the South East Queensland Rail Network visit the TransLink website at Translink.com.au
In my opinion, I give the Brisbane train Network a rating of 4 for wheelchair accessibility and a rating of 3.5 stars for the overall experience.
* I was not financially compensated for this review. The review is based on my own opinion and personal experience.*