Broken train station lift hits disabled hardest

Wheelchair users in Tullamore are afraid that they will be “trapped” on the train when travelling from Dublin as the station's wheelchair lift is out of order once again, a local councillor has said.

The lift has been out of order for the much of the last month and has been a major source of anxiety for local with mobility issues, Cllr Declan Harvey says.

The Fianna Fail man says that he has been contacted by a number of people who were criticising the length of time it has taken Irish Rail to repair the problem.

“One wheelchair user's train pulled into Platform 2 and after wating 30 minutes it was decided to reverse the train back to Platform 1 to enable this lady to get off.

“On another occasion she was stranded on the footbridge for 40 minutes because a member of staff had to come from Clara Station to lift her and her wheelchair down the stairs. Other passengers also had to assist.

“It appears that there is no communication between Irish Rail, the driver or station even though the lady always contacts the station before travelling. The lady feels trapped now when travelling on the train. She is afraid that she won't be able to get off and this is taking away her independence.”

Cllr Harvey also revealed that he was also contacted by an elderly gentleman from Tullamore who travelled home by train after having major surgery in Dublin.

“He arrived in Tullamore to find that the lift was not working and it took him a considerable amount of time, assisted by family, to get across the footbridge. This gentleman was in considerable pain and this caused him a lot of unnessary stress.”

“This is an ongoing issue at Tullamore Train Station and should be addressed once and for all by the station master.”

In a statement issued to the Offaly Independent, Irish Rail apologised to customers about any inconvience caused.

“We are awaiting on the arrival of a part from our supplier. In the meantime we would advise all customers who require assistance when travelling to call Tullamore Station on 05793 21431 or Athlone station on 0906473300 in advance.”