“Giving Your Son A Skill……….

Is Better Than Giving Him One Thousand Pieces of Gold” is a chinese proverb implying that I should be given skills and not gold from my Dad, that will last a lifetime. Well, there is certainly no chance of any gold anyway (which would be my preferred option!), leaving me reliant on his, eh, skills, words of wisdom, and all round maturity! At this point, those of you who know my Dad well, will therefore know this is a proverb that has no meaningful outcome for me whatsoever! Seriously, I value the time I spend with my Dad, especially when in London, when I can also meet my sister, and all my friends at The London Transport Museum, where I have just returned from doing another stint of work experience.

Aside from the museum, I have done many marvellous things in London, like take a visit to Battersea Power Station for example! On our previous visit however, Dad stepped up to the mark and took me on an educational trip to Greenwich where I really enjoyed learning about ‘Time’. Just when I thought he had turned the corner, and whilst sitting in our favourite pub (The Mughouse, London Bridge), he suggests we take a trip to Heathrow Airport! With hesitation and dread, I ask the obvious question “Why”? Dad explains that on 6th November, the Elizabeth Line completes its line from Shenfield to either Reading or Heathrow without having to change trains. It therefore finally ‘becomes one’. An extremely useful line therefore to get from one side of London to the other, especially if travelling to Heathrow Airport. So, is it as good as it sounds – yep, you guessed it, I am about to find out!

Our journey starts at the end of my shift at the museum, and we make our way to Tottenham Court Road Station with Dad, and my buddy, Bill. Here we pick up the The Elizabeth Line, to firstly see the new station at Bond Street where our journey ‘officially’ begins. The trains have far more room than the cramped, standing room only central line, and certainly well supported and busy on the day we travelled. The new section of Bond Street Station is equally impressive and spacious, making it very welcoming for wheelchair users.

Our train then arrives to take us to Heathrow Terminal 4 (via Terminals 2 and 3). Terminal 1 closed on 29th June 2015. As I mentioned, the train was far busier than we expected, even all the way to Terminal 4. Journey time was around 41 minutes and stopping at just 8 stations before reaching its destination. By comparison, Green Park to Heathrow Terminal 4 on the Piccadilly Line is just under 50 minutes with 16 stops inbetween. Another advantage for wheelchair users is that all the intermediate stations on the Elizabeth Line are wheelchair accessible, whereas on the Piccadilly Line, they are not.

On arrival into Terminal 4, there were many staff members on hand to help which was good to see, and needed. One flaw seems to be that there appears to be meaures in place by means of metal pillars to stop crowds of people with luggage piling in to one another. This is all very well, but the gap between the pillars is not large enough to fit a wheelchair through. Yes, the staff can assist with you going through a seperate barrier, providing of course there are always staff on hand.

As we were now at Heathrow for no apparent reason other than the train journey itself, we (Dad!) decided to head back to Terminals 2 and 3 (one stop before Terminal 4) and take the other line to Terminal 5. It was noticeable that whereas you can indeed transfer from platform to train in a wheelchair, it is far easier on the newer Elizabeth Line Stations, than the older Heathrow Express/Connect ones.

Fearful of what may come next, we then took the traditional Piccadilly Line route back to Green Park, followed by the Jubilee Line to Southwark where we finished the evening off with a nice juicy burger near to our hotel.

To be honest, my favourite part of any adventure with my Dad is when something either goes wrong, or we go the wrong way! Sadly on this occassion, neither happened, but the fun was thinking it may do, and knowing it indeed will do sometime in the future!

"My past ... my present ... my future"

6 Responses

    1. Thank you Rozey. I must point out that if you are transferring from the Elizabeth Line to a different one (eg Elizabeth Line to Jubilee Line) it can be a very long walk, which is in no way ideal for many people. As good as the new line is, it does has issues when it comes to the elderly and disabled. Doesn’t bother me though as I just sit in my chair and let Dad push me!!

  1. Looks like you have been really busy my friend. That’s good to see. Seems dad took you on nearly every train in London,probably in a big circle ending up back where you began. 😂🙄

    1. You know my dad only too well Andy, because that is precisely what we did do! However, very few people argue with my dad, so if he thinks this is a good idea (which it isn’t!), then it is!

  2. Good to know that access for wheelchair users on the rail network is getting a little better as it modernises (except the bollards of course!). Sounds like a nice day and lovely pictures as always.

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Tom James

Hi – my name is Tom James and this is my blog. I have complex learning and physical difficulties, and I’m hoping that by showcasing how I live my day to day life you can be truly inspired.