Sligo Champion

| 12.1°C Dublin

Rail passengers left out in the cold

The closure of the waiting room in Collooney Rail station has been described as "another reduction in passenger service" by local Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Healy.

Irish Rail says vandalism caused it to close the station rooms and toilets on January 24th last.

"We are living in an era of unprecedented environmental crisis where all of our policies are encouraging and promoting use of public transport instead of private vehicles," stated Cllr Healy.

"The waiting room and toilet facilities in Collooney Rail Station are a vital part of the travel service as passengers are often waiting for prolonged periods in cold and wet weather.

"This room has now been closed due to vandalism on Friday 24nd last and has remained closed.

"Previously, the room was not heated and I had to campaign to keep the room open and warmed when the previous Station master retired," he said.

He related how he was alerted to the current closure by the daughter of an elderly man who had left her father to wait for the train.

"This man was soaked and cold through from having to wait on the platform in bad weather having expected to use the waiting room.

"This is part of a pattern of poor service on trains and platforms due to lack of staff on site, passengers do not feel safe or secure.

"I spoke to Irish Rail in order to clarify the damage done, date for reopening, security camera plans and interim arrangements for passengers made.

"We need to work together on this as a community to promote the advantages of rail travel and ensure the comfort and safety of passengers," said Cllr Healy.

While there's CCTV in the car park of the station there's none where the waiting rooms are located.

A caretaker opens and closes the facilities for the first and last trains of the day and there is no permanent member of staff on duty at the station since the station master retired a couple of years ago.

Damage was caused by the letting off a fire extinguisher and other acts of vandalsim including the braking of a disabled access door.

Sligo Champion