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Train station lifts closed for over three months

The disabled access lifts in Balbriggan train station in North County Dublin are finally due to reopen today, three months after being vandalised.

The crossing at Balbriggan train station, which had lifts installed in 2002.
The crossing at Balbriggan train station, which had lifts installed in 2002.
Image: infomatique via Flickr/Creative Commons

A TRAIN STATION in North County Dublin has not had a working lift for over three months, TheJournal.ie can reveal.

Balbriggan – which was one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland during the boom – continues to be one of the largest commuter towns in the country.

Its main public transport hub – its train station – has been without the two disabled access lifts that were installed in 2002 since being vandalised on the 24-25 of June.

Despite this, however, website information for the station has continued to list a lift and footbridge as being available to take travellers to the station’s platform number one – its southbound line.

(Image Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Despite work having taken place on the lifts over the last number of weeks, and assurances made to customers that they were due to reopen last Friday, they remained closed this week.

Below was the lift on platform one earlier this week – its shutters still down.

(Image Paul Hyland/TheJournal.ie)

Today a spokeswoman for Iarnród Éireann, Jane Cregan, confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the opening of the lifts had been delayed, but were due to open later today.

The Lifts at Balbriggan went out of service on 24-25/06/2012. This was due to vandalism. The youths who caused the damage to the lifts were charged by the Gardaí having being identified on the stations CCTV.
The lifts were due back in service on 21/09/2012 after a major refurbishment but the lift company were running behind schedule.
The lifts are due to open for service this evening. We have been providing taxis for customers with reduced mobility. The lifts, once opened, will be in operation from 05.45hrs and are closed  at 00.15hrs.

Unacceptable

Having previously been unaware of the closure, Tony Maher, the National Transport Manager for the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) told TheJournal.ie:

Obviously if it has been out [of service] for that amount of time, we wouldn’t find it acceptable. We have heard that lifts in individual stations have been out-of-service before, but never for anything like three months.

“Lift closures create serious problems for wheelchair users and elderly people,” Maher says.

“We appreciate there are issues around vandalism but we would want stations that are wheelchair-accessible to remain wheelchair-accessible.”

When contacted by TheJournal.ie, the Cathaoirleach (chairman) of Balbriggan Town Council, Larry Dunne said:

It’s really unacceptable to be honest. It’s not as if they’re building them from scratch. There is a huge volume of passengers that use Balbriggan station. Taking three months to fix it is stretching the imagination.

Read: €25k left unallocated for wheelchair-accessible taxis >

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Paul Hyland

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