A MOTHER and son and a visiting oncologist from London were left trapped in the lift at Tullamore Railway Station on Thursday night last.
The trio, who pressed an alarm button when they realised they were trapped, were freed by engineers after spending an estimated 45 minutes to one hour in the lift.
Sheila and Patrick Cunningham, from Callary St, were returning from Dublin while London-based oncologist Dr S. Basu was completing the final stage of his journey before starting work at Tullamore hospital the following morning.
Dr Basu, speaking to the Tribune after being freed and who appeared to take the mishapt in good sprits, estimated they had spent 45 minutes in the lift before being freed.
“We didn’t want to use the steps as it had been raining,” Sheila Cunningham told the Tribune.
When the lift stopped working they pressed an alarm button inside and were told it would take up to an hour before an engineer would come to release them, she outlined.
“They said someone would have to come from Mayo,” added Mrs Cunningham.
Patrick Cunningham contacted local councillor, Declan Harvey who arrived on the scene just as the trio were being freed.
The station appeared to be unmanned at the time and Cllr Harvey commented: “As far as I’m concerned the lift should not be turned on where there is no one on hand.”
He again voiced concerns that the railway station was being downgraded but these were denied by a spokesperson for Iarnrod Eirean.
The spokesperson said the station was manned seventy per cent of the time and there were two staff members there.
“A third person is being employed and the station will now be manned the whole time,” they added.
The spokesperson claimed Thursday night’s incident had been compounded by a communications breakdown and the station had been manned at the time.
She explained when the alarm system in the lift is activated the lift operators are contacted who dispatch an engineer.
The lift operators also contact the Iarnrod Eireann district manager who in turn alerts the person on duty at the station.