This review of the wheelchair accessible trains from Nice to Milan (via Ventimiglia) is from Summer 2022.
Overview of Wheelchair Accessible Route to Milan
We took a TER train from Nice to Ventimiglia, and then transferred trains in Ventimiglia, and took a Trenitalia train to Milan.
Train from Nice to Ventimiglia
The TER train was the same we had taken from Nice to Monaco. The route was breathtaking–the train went along the coast of the French and Italian Rivieras. The beaches stretched for miles, and we had front-row seats to viewing yachts, snorkelers, swimmers, cafes, etc.
Accessible Train Transfer in Ventimiglia
Prior to our trip, the only information I could find on the Ventimiglia station was that it was not wheelchair accessible because there were steps into the station. I wrote to Sala Blu about it, and they assured me it was accessible. So we trusted Sala Blu, and booked the connection from Nice to Milan through Ventimiglia. Sala Blu was right–the transfer was organized, easy, and enjoyable.
In Ventimiglia, we were greeted by two Sala Blu members who were waiting for us with a mobile elevator with a gangway that folded down onto the train. I drove my scooter across the gangway, which they then closed behind me (securing me into the elevator). They then turned the elevator 90 degrees, lowered the platform, and opened another gangway in front of me that ramped from the elevator to the train platform. It was smooth, controlled, and easy to do.
Our next train was on a different train platform, so the workers escorted us to the end of the train platform. There was no need for an elevator–the end of the platform ramped down to the track level. With the help of the workers, we all looked both ways and then walked/scooted across the tracks to the next train platform. The tracks were largely flush with the ground, so traversing them was bumpy but never dangerous–similar to going over light rail or trolley tracks in the United States at a designated pedestrian crossing.
We had allotted an hour for the transfer — it took less than ten minutes. Since we had down time, the workers left to help others and then came back before our Trenitalia train arrived.
There was an elevator lift on each platform, so they unlocked the one by us and reversed the process to get me onto the Trenitalia train (which had several steep stairs). They put down the back ramp to get me onto the mobile elevator, rotated the elevator 90 degrees, raised it up, lowered the front ramp, and I drove straight (and level) into the Trenitalia train.
The crew in Ventimiglia was beyond words amazing–they were nice, caring, and dedicated to helping us. Their commitment to service extended to other workers as well–there was a construction crew nearby, and one of the crew brought us a box of cookies to eat while we waited.
Needless to say, it was an amazing welcome into Italy.
Note: My apologies for losing our photos for this process. But the photos below regarding the Milano Centrale process are very similar, and used the same type of mobile elevator.
Wheelchair Accessible Trenitalia Train
The Trenitalia train had a large and spacious wheelchair compartment, including room for my luggage to ride by me. The ride was smooth and quiet, even with the train was going at very high speeds in and out of tunnels. That said, we still tied our luggage handles to the grab bars to keep the bags from rolling around. There were also power outlets that were accessible.
The bathrooms were wheelchair accessible–they had space to maneuver, grab bars around the toilet, and easy access to the sink. My only complaint about the bathroom was that the door was not powered on our train. So it was hard to open/close by myself. I relied on my wife to help opening/closing the door, and I had to knock to let her know when I was ready to get out.
Arrival in Milano Centrale
As we pulled into the train station, we were again greeted by two Sala Blu employees who were waiting for us. They used the same type of mobile lift as was used by the crew in Ventimiglia. The crew guided me every step of the way and were ready to help direct/correct my driving if I could not see the ramp.
Pro tip: There were some language barriers, as we do not speak any Italian and the workers’ English was hit or miss. For those times, we used Google Translate to type questions into my phone and then gave the worker the phone for them to type responses. This system worked well, and even helped us ask the workers to teach us common phrases while we were waiting.
Once off the train, the Sala Blu employees pushed our luggage for us and helped guide us to the exit. The path down the train platforms to the exit and to the Sala Blu main room were all marked with grooved lines/rumble pads. The station has several elevators, and we were able to easily navigate from the train platforms to the outside courtyard. The station itself is gorgeous, and we enjoyed exploring it.
The wheelchair accessible trains from Nice to Milan (via Ventimiglia) were incredibly smooth. A long day of travel was remarkably enjoyable and smooth. Loved it. And we were close to our hotel.