We all know being a mum with a buggy on public transport can be tricky: there’s usually a (large) step up to board the vehicle, sliding doors to manoeuvre and narrow aisles to navigate, but when you’ve successfully accomplished those, you’re generally pretty well catered for.
Unless you’re unfortunate enough to travel on South West Trains.
It seemed the perfect mode of transport for BB and I ahead of a weekend in Dorset. The excitement of the station, a picnic lunch as houses whizzed by, a table on which to do colouring and plenty of space to clamber around.
I don’t know what I was thinking. Clapham Junction + toddler in a pushchair + weekend bag on a Friday afternoon = bad idea. When we finally got on the train, having had to go in to London and back out again because our original train was cancelled, there was absolutely nowhere to park the buggy. Plenty of bike racks (with no bikes in sight) but nowhere for a parent to park a pushchair containing a sleeping child.
How hard can it be to create a buggy area with a couple of drop down seats? You can’t fault train operators’ pre-natal care – priority seats for expectant mothers, ‘baby on board’ badges for when you haven’t quite popped yet – but when you’ve actually produced the little monkey, forget it.
With BB’s buggy rammed between empty bike racks (pictured) I stood, and was sometimes thrown, by the loo in between carriages for the entire two hour journey from London to Bournemouth. With two other unlucky mums.
I’m sure you can guess where I’d like to ram the buggy now…