Additional Exchequer funding from Budget 2021 accelerates accessibility programme

New “Changing Places” facility to open at Connolly Station, first of its kind in Dublin 1 postcode

Iarnród Éireann has said that the 2021 programme of investment in lift and escalator replacement and upgrade will benefit passengers of reduced mobility at 22 stations, with two further stations seeing the introduction of new lift facilities being designed and planned.

The upgrade of lifts in train stations is a key step towards making public transport accessible for all. Lifts which are out of service can significantly impact the ability of persons with reduced mobility to access services.

The 2021 programme will comprise an investment of €5.8 million, funded by the National Transport Authority, which includes the boost in Budget 2021 of an additional €2 million allocation from the Department of Transport allowing for acceleration of the programme.

2021 highlights:

  • Replacement of renewal of lifts at 22 stations
  • New Changing Places facility at Connolly Station – first in Dublin 1 postcode
  • Planning permission sought for new lifts at Dalkey and Gormanston
  • Lift Call system to combat vandalism to lists extended to 15 more stations

2021 Lift and escalator renewal and replacement programme

A total of 22 stations – 10 in Dublin city and county, and 12 in the wider network, will see lift replacements or system upgrades between now and the end of this year, in what is the second year of a multi-annual programme to improve lift performance and reliability across the network. 

At nine stations – Templemore, Thurles, Ballybrophy, Laytown, Leixlip Louisa Bridge, Monasterevin, Tullamore, Athlone and Ballinasloe – works will see the installation of new heavy duty stainless steel electric traction lifts.

Eleven other stations will benefit from modernisation, including lift control systems, water ingress prevention works, new roller shutter assemblies, and other system improvements.

The programme for 2021 is detailed below:

Station Works taking place Planned dates Length of onsite works
Clongriffin Modernisation 1st to 26th March 4 weeks
Booterstown Modernisation 29th March to 23rd April 4 weeks
Templemore Replacement 19th April to 4th June 7 weeks
Blackrock Modernisation 26th April to 21st May 4 weeks
Seapoint Modernisation Q2 4 weeks
Thurles Replacement Q2-3 7 weeks
Sandycove Modernisation Q2 2 weeks
Connolly Escalator replacement Q2-3 18 weeks
Pearse Escalator replacement Q2-3 18 weeks
Glenageary Modernisation Q3 4 weeks
Tullamore Replacement Q3 7 weeks
Laytown Replcement Q3 7 weeks
Ballybrophy Replacement Q3 7 weeks
Killiney Modernisation Q3 4 weeks
Shankill Modernisation Q3 4 weeks
Athlone Replacement Q3-4 7 weeks
Leixlip Louisa Bridge Replacement Q3-4 7 weeks
Bray Modernisation Q4 4 weeks
Ballinasloe Replacement Q4 7 weeks
Monasterevin Replacement Q4 7 weeks
Howth Junction Modernisation Q4 4 weeks
Gort Modernisation Q4 4 weeks

Alternative arrangements will be advised to customers of reduced mobility, to ensure continued access to services while works are take place at lifts and escalators at individual stations.

Twelve stations were completed in 2020 as part of the multi-annual programme, which in total will see 52 stations receive major investment in lift facilities up to 2024.

Changing Places

In addition, Connolly Station this month sees the first Changing Places toilet facility opened in the Dublin 1 postcode.  Changing Places facilities are fully accessible toilets, designed to provide sufficient space and equipment for people who are not able to use toilets independently, and include features such as changing benches, hoists and privacy screens.  The Connolly Station Changing Places accessible toilet was developed with input from Iarnród Éireann’s Disability Users Group, which comprises representative organisations for passengers with reduced mobility, and non-visible disabilities.

New lift facilities at Dalkey and Gormanston

Plans for brand new lift facilities will also be developed in 2021 at both Dalkey and Gormanston Stations, ensuring that both stations are equipped to the most up to date standards for persons of reduced mobility.  Design and planning works are underway, and it is planned to undertake works in 2022, subject to planning permission.

Lift call

Iarnród Éireann is also rolling out a Lift Call system which ensures lifts are monitored by CCTV to prevent access to those who seek to vandalise or damage equipment. Many lift faults arise from misuse, which in turn impacts on ongoing reliability. Results of installation to date at 19 stations have been very positive with a considerable reduction in the lifts being out of service due to persistent antisocial behaviour.

Benefits of the system include: higher availability of lift services for customers with reduced mobility, reduction in vandalism, remote fault & alarm status of lifts in service, and visual monitoring of lifts 24/7 during normal and emergency situations. In 2021 Iarnród Éireann plan to rollout the Lift Call System to a further 34 lifts at 15 stations.

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD said: “Rail users need a service they can rely on. For many people an out of service lift is not merely an inconvenience, but a signal to turn around and go home. Providing lifts and accessible facilities at our rail stations makes our towns and cities more welcoming, more inclusive, and gives people more opportunities to participate. Starting this month, Iarnród Éireann will undertake works at 22 stations to improve accessibility. An additional €2million was allocated from my Department to fast track this programme, bringing the total allocated to the Lifts and Escalator Renewal Programme to €5.84m this year. With 52 stations earmarked for investment by 2024, this programme is a key factor in making public transport accessible for all.”

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority said “The programme being announced today marks a significant step in our objective to make rail services more accessible, particularly for people with reduced mobility.  Under these plans, 22 stations nationwide, will see investment in projects such as lift replacement and modernisation, which will result in improving the accessibility and reliability of the infrastructure. As far as the NTA is concerned, it is vitally important that projects like these get the priority they deserve.

Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade said “with new trains and station enhancements planned, accessibility will be central to the design of all improvements we deliver under the National Development Plan.  However, improving the reliability and performance of our existing lift network is crucial to ensure customers with reduced mobility have confidence in using our services.  While it is unavoidable that the works themselves will result in lifts being temporarily out of service, we have arrangements in place at each of the stations affected to maintain access to services during the works.”

“With funding from the NTA, we can now progress this renewal programme, and upgrade lifts which are older, have suffered prolonged exposure to the elements, and which have been the subject of vandalism and misuse.”