Friday 20 October 2017

Wheelchair user trapped on darkened train like 'scene from teen horror flick'

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Alan O'Keeffe

Irish Rail has apologised after a wheelchair user was trapped on a darkened train that went out of service at Heuston Station in Dublin.

Louise Bruton surveys venues for wheelchair accessibility and posts her findings on social media under the headline 'Legless in Dublin'.

A recent post outlined her ordeal on the train.

She stated she was recently "the last person on the last carriage on one of the last trains into Heuston Station" from Galway one night and there was no ramp or Irish Rail staff member to help her off the train.

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She wrote: "The train was stopped further down the tracks than normal and the lights were dimmed, so I was in a scene from a 1990s teen horror flick.

"I stuck my head out the door... I shouted again and again and all I could hear in return was my echo. I pressed the train's emergency button but nothing happened. And then I tweeted. My responses gave me the emergency number for Heuston and, thankfully, Heuston's very apologetic station manager, Liam Donegan, answered my call and rescued me.

"When it comes to a lack of accessible disabled facilities, I'm sick of hearing that it's a lack of money.

"The ones with the power to change anything aren't taking action. This is the way that society in general overlooks the needs of disabled people. Everywhere we go, we have to accept a different kind of treatment."

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An Irish Rail spokesman said the company wished to apologise to Ms Bruton "for this unacceptable situation".

He said Ms Bruton was helped to board in Galway but a "communication fall down" meant Heuston staff were not told she would need assistance in Dublin.

A review of arrangements for helping mobility-impaired customers was under way, the spokesman added.

Irish Independent

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