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Irish Rail apologises after wheelchair user left on darkened train at end of line

Wheelchair user Louise Bruton found herself stranded on a train at Dublin’s Heuston Station two weeks ago.

319410440_19b4bb31be_o Heuston Station Source: Charles Haynes

A WHEELCHAIR USER in Dublin has spoken of her frustration at being left behind on a train at Heuston Station which then darkened its lights leaving her stranded.

Louise Bruton, who blogs about her experiences as a wheelchair user on her website Legless in Dublin, detailed her experience of being stranded on the train on Wednesday 9 November, together with two other recent examples of problems she has encountered due to her disability, at Electric Picnic and on a visit to London.

On 9 November Bruton was returning from giving a lecture in Galway when she became stranded as the last person in the last carriage on the Heuston service.

The train came to a stop some distance further down the track than she had expected, at which point it dimmed its lights.

Bruton was left stranded on the train for 20 minutes.

She shouted and called for help repeatedly and pushed the train’s emergency button to little effect.

Eventually a response to a distress-tweet she had posted gave her the emergency number of Heuston’s station manager who answered and finally came to her aid.

With the lights dimmed on the train Louise described the scene as being “a scene from a 90s teen horror flick” in a post on her site.

“Disabled people are being reduced every single day, whether it’s on a train line or at a music festival, and the ones with the power to change anything aren’t taking action,” she said.

This isn’t an attack on Electric Picnic… or Irish Rail, this is the way that society in general overlooks the needs of disabled people.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said it apologises “to Louise for this unacceptable situation”.

“While assistance was provided to Louise upon boarding in Galway, there was a communication falldown which resulted in Heuston not being informed that assistance would be required.  While we are pleased the Station Controller in Heuston assisted her, she should not have been in such a situation which caused her understandable concern,” the spokesperson said.

14215662894_b9bcdf0dcc_o Source: William Murphy

While the train involved – as with all our trains – is designed to modern accessibility standards, trains must have safe clearance from platforms as they can pass through stations at speed, which means a mobile ramp is required to ensure customers using wheelchairs can safely board and alight.

The company says it is “undertaking a review of our arrangements for assisting mobility-impaired customers to better assist customers at all times, including working with disability representative groups for their input”.

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