Post date: 
Friday, 13 May 2016
 Image shows train at station platform

I have a large guide dog called Mac, who is 41 kilograms, and I’m six feet three inches tall. When I travel by train, I need the seat next to me to be free for Mac to sit comfortably in safety and not be in the aisle of the train.

So when I book my assistance, my details are already on the system and they know that I’m travelling with a guide dog, and I simply say that I want to request an additional seat next to me to be blocked out for the guide dog. That is done at no extra charge and everyone that I speak to is able to do that very quickly and doesn’t ask any questions. So it seems to be something that they’re aware of and are happy to do.
The train companies that I do that with are Virgin East Coast and Virgin West CoastCrossCountry Trains and First TransPennine Express.
CrossCountry Trains ask if the train’s crowded and there are people standing, that the seat is given up to somebody else. In practice, I’ve never had to do that – as soon as people see me and the guide dog, they’re happy for us to remain seated. 
Certainly for any members travelling with large guide dogs who need the space, this is something which may be useful.
Niall McMurtry, Newcastle

Find out more 

For more on assisted travel, visit You can also call Trainline on 0871 244 1545, 7 days a week, from 8am until 10pm (calls cost 13p per minute plus your phone company’s access charges. Calls from outside the UK may cost more).
Best of Connect