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DART accessibility; why can't we do better?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,823 ✭✭✭✭ Riskymove


    Why can't a permanent solution be put in place. Surely all this would require is some basic platform works?

    actually i think the permanent solution is that DART doors have ramps like bus doors in addition to stations having proper access


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    In the UK trains have a guard on board who can facilitate all this.

    I can't see and issue with have carriage in which the driver is in be dedicated for wheelchairs access and train the drivers how to use ramps.

    I was watching the pr stunt and all the management etc on the dart with TV crews and it was absolutely cringe worthy.

    Fit a ramp unit at each platform where the carriage is with driver, person needs ramp waits at designed area so driver sees and have a camera at the designated door so they can see along with the aid of a specific bell to allow the driver know they want to get off.

    I can't understand to issue been as big as it's been made out to be.

    All bus eireann coach services need to be booked also unless it's changed as seats need to be removed to allow for space for wheelchair.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 204 ✭✭ Hugh Jampton


    In the UK trains have a guard on board who can facilitate all this.

    I can't see and issue with have carriage in which the driver is in be dedicated for wheelchairs access and train the drivers how to use ramps.

    I was watching the pr stunt and all the management etc on the dart with TV crews and it was absolutely cringe worthy.

    Fit a ramp unit at each platform where the carriage is with driver, person needs ramp waits at designed area so driver sees and have a camera at the designated door so they can see along with the aid of a specific bell to allow the driver know they want to get off.

    I can't understand to issue been as big as it's been made out to be.

    All bus eireann coach services need to be booked also unless it's changed as seats need to be removed to allow for space for wheelchair.

    Not all stations/trains in the UK either have guards, or are accessible.

    Ireland compares quite favourably in this respect. London in particular is not that accessible to someone in a wheelchair, with the exception of buses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    Not all stations/trains in the UK either have guards, or are accessible.

    Ireland compares quite favourably in this respect. London in particular is not that accessible to someone in a wheelchair, with the exception of buses.

    They in the UK have staff at most stations but I can't see the issue with having rpu inspectors taking on such a role where they should be out checking anyway and be there when needed for assistance also.


    Years ago all trains here had a guard, food car staff, and ticket checkers/inspectors.

    Now it's mainly just a driver unless checkers board.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,889 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    In Berlin on both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn the train driver sees the wheelchair user as they wait at the front of the platform. There are metal fold out ramps at every station at both ends of the platform which the driver grabs, folds out and lays down.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    murphaph wrote: »
    In Berlin on both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn the train driver sees the wheelchair user as they wait at the front of the platform. There are metal fold out ramps at every station at both ends of the platform which the driver grabs, folds out and lays down.

    https://youtu.be/olyphv8lEGY

    Exactly what I said could easily be done.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Exactly what I said could easily be done.

    By the time it goes via the unions....15 years will have past. Quicker and cheaper to build something


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,300 ✭✭✭✭ ArmaniJeanss


    murphaph wrote: »
    In Berlin on both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn the train driver sees the wheelchair user as they wait at the front of the platform. There are metal fold out ramps at every station at both ends of the platform which the driver grabs, folds out and lays down.

    https://youtu.be/olyphv8lEGY

    Planning to go driverless in the next decade though aren't they?


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,889 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Planning to go driverless in the next decade though aren't they?
    Berlin or Dublin? Berlin definitely not. Dublin pretty unlikely.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,889 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    By the time it goes via the unions....15 years will have past. Quicker and cheaper to build something
    The Irish unions are almost guaranteed to reject accommodating the disabled in this way unfortunately. They considered 2 more units in a DART to be extra responsibility after all.

    There would be all sorts of claims made about back injuries that would magically vanish if the drivers simply got more money I'm sure.

    Sad but true. History shows it.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 108 ✭✭ CarlosHarpic


    Disabled people are not a majority in society. While resonable and compassionate concessions should be made to help them use public transport.

    Entire infrastructures can not be rebuilt for them. It's just that simple.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Disabled people are not a majority in society. While resonable and compassionate concessions should be made to help them use public transport.

    Entire infrastructures can not be rebuilt for them. It's just that simple.

    We are talking minor changes to the platform or other similar remedial works not metro north here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,374 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    We are talking minor changes to the platform or other similar remedial works not metro north here.

    more short term it just requires staff to be on the platforms or on the trains, so it's a matter of cost, not infrastructure (I suspect IR probably already have the staff available, never seems to be a shortage of staff in the stations I pass through).


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    With the new DART's and tri-mode trains being ordered, could some sort of automatic ramp be specced, like you have on Dublin Bus.

    Could be just on the first door directly behind the driver and operated by the driver, like a Dublin Bus. Would at least avoid whining about back pain, etc.

    But then you would actually need to have the lifts in the stations working!

    Over Christmas, I arrived into Clontarf Station with the missus and baby in buggy, only to discover neither lifts working! Queue me ruining my back carrying up one level of stairs and back down two levels on the other side!!

    I've no idea what my OH would have done if she was on her own!

    No announcement of the lifts out on the train (we could have gotten off at Connelly) and no notice on the Irish Rail website or twitter (I checked afterwards).


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,852 ✭✭✭ SeanW


    To me, it just seems like the matter is being made more complicated than it needs to be.

    One big problem with accessibility, as I see it, is that the levels of the floors of the trains - in addition to varying wildly between train types - bear little relation to the height of the platform. The solution is simple - and it would guarantee wheelchair, pram accessibility to ALL platforms, system-wide that are not on a curve. Simply follow the model of many trains in the U.S where the floor of the train is level with the platform. I was in London last year and they've started doing this on the Tube - some platforms have "Level boarding areas" where there the platform is raised on an incline, so that you can roll on-and-off the trains. Though why they just have level boarding "areas" and not "platforms" like all of the high-platform stations and trains around for example New York City, I don't know. Even here the Luas gets it right. The platform matches the trams floor height and so there is no need for the driver to do any messing around with ramps.

    The solution to allow wheelchair users to use any straight platform in Ireland - unaided - is simple. Irish Rail should do the following:
    • Do a full inventory of railhead to platform levels across all platforms in all stations in the State. Also do a full inventory of all train floor heights on all types of passenger rolling stock in the State. Consider the railhead to floor height of the 29000s. The 22000s. All of the DARTs. The Cork Dublin push-pull coaches. The DeDietrichs. Consider also the legacy rolling stock, such as the MK2s and Cravens operated by railway preservation societies, and the MK3s operated by the Belmont Grand Hibernian tour group.
    • Note any problems with trains whereby the aforementioned height varies too much because of a bad suspension system or something.
    • Also look at the situation (or, would that be, the sitcheeaation :D) North of the border. Look at the floor heights of the C3K and C4K trains. The railhead-to-platform surface heights of platforms in all stations in Northern Ireland.
    • When all of the information has been collected and the requirements for a common railhead to floor heights are known, then decide on a common value to applied to all platforms and all carriages, whether MU or locomotive push-pulled rolling stock. We'll call this height "X millimetres from the surface to the railhead" or "X.Y Metres from the surface to the railhead".
    • Begin enforcing this standardised height.
    • Rebuild all station platforms nationwide so that the surface of the platform is precisely that measure from the top of the rail.
    • Retrofit all passenger carriages so that the distance between the floor of the carriage and the railhead matches that of the platforms. If the carriage cannot be retrofitted to guarantee that level, scrap and replace it. No exceptions.
    • Consider solutions for platforms that are on a curve, like the Suburban platforms at Connolly, Heuston Platform 10, Mullingar etc. Can the platform be straightened or moved? If not, what new systems should be added to trains to facilitate someone who needs to roll on/off a train where the floor and platform levels match but the curve means there's a big horizontal gap.
    • Specify in all new contracts for new passenger cars that the floor height must be Xmm or X.Ym from the railhead. If it doesn't match, IE sends it back for repair or refund. No exceptions.
    • Consider adding ramps at every station possible. A useful fallback option, ramps may be long and time consuming to traverse, but they are passive. that is, you don't need to turn on the ramp and make sure it's working, it just sits there until someone needs to use it.
    There are literally dozens of railway systems worldwide ranging from intercity services, suburban rail, metro and tram, where there is no "step" from the platform to the train, so accessibility for people with prams, luggage, wheelchairs etc is a lot easier. Not to mention more pleasant for everyone even if they don't have to wheel something on. It's not rocket science and I don't understand how IE keeps getting it wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    SeanW wrote: »
    To me, it just seems like the matter is being made more complicated than it needs to be.

    One big problem with accessibility, as I see it, is that the levels of the floors of the trains - in addition to varying wildly between train types - bear little relation to the height of the platform. The solution is simple - and it would guarantee wheelchair, pram accessibility to ALL platforms, system-wide that are not on a curve. Simply follow the model of many trains in the U.S where the floor of the train is level with the platform. I was in London last year and they've started doing this on the Tube - some platforms have "Level boarding areas" where there the platform is raised on an incline, so that you can roll on-and-off the trains. Though why they just have level boarding "areas" and not "platforms" like all of the high-platform stations and trains around for example New York City, I don't know. Even here the Luas gets it right. The platform matches the trams floor height and so there is no need for the driver to do any messing around with ramps.

    The solution to allow wheelchair users to use any straight platform in Ireland - unaided - is simple. Irish Rail should do the following:
    • Do a full inventory of railhead to platform levels across all platforms in all stations in the State. Also do a full inventory of all train floor heights on all types of passenger rolling stock in the State. Consider the railhead to floor height of the 29000s. The 22000s. All of the DARTs. The Cork Dublin push-pull coaches. The DeDietrichs. Consider also the legacy rolling stock, such as the MK2s and Cravens operated by railway preservation societies, and the MK3s operated by the Belmont Grand Hibernian tour group.
    • Note any problems with trains whereby the aforementioned height varies too much because of a bad suspension system or something.
    • Also look at the situation (or, would that be, the sitcheeaation :D) North of the border. Look at the floor heights of the C3K and C4K trains. The railhead-to-platform surface heights of platforms in all stations in Northern Ireland.
    • When all of the information has been collected and the requirements for a common railhead to floor heights are known, then decide on a common value to applied to all platforms and all carriages, whether MU or locomotive push-pulled rolling stock. We'll call this height "X millimetres from the surface to the railhead" or "X.Y Metres from the surface to the railhead".
    • Begin enforcing this standardised height.
    • Rebuild all station platforms nationwide so that the surface of the platform is precisely that measure from the top of the rail.
    • Retrofit all passenger carriages so that the distance between the floor of the carriage and the railhead matches that of the platforms. If the carriage cannot be retrofitted to guarantee that level, scrap and replace it. No exceptions.
    • Consider solutions for platforms that are on a curve, like the Suburban platforms at Connolly, Heuston Platform 10, Mullingar etc. Can the platform be straightened or moved? If not, what new systems should be added to trains to facilitate someone who needs to roll on/off a train where the floor and platform levels match but the curve means there's a big horizontal gap.
    • Specify in all new contracts for new passenger cars that the floor height must be Xmm or X.Ym from the railhead. If it doesn't match, IE sends it back for repair or refund. No exceptions.
    • Consider adding ramps at every station possible. A useful fallback option, ramps may be long and time consuming to traverse, but they are passive. that is, you don't need to turn on the ramp and make sure it's working, it just sits there until someone needs to use it.
    There are literally dozens of railway systems worldwide ranging from intercity services, suburban rail, metro and tram, where there is no "step" from the platform to the train, so accessibility for people with prams, luggage, wheelchairs etc is a lot easier. Not to mention more pleasant for everyone even if they don't have to wheel something on. It's not rocket science and I don't understand how IE keeps getting it wrong.

    Most train stations were built back in the day and British rule.

    No wheelchair back then or no plans to provide.

    Now with the Luas it's a mid 00s design so you would hope they got it right.

    You said it so many different levels at stations etc....

    Very costly to sort.

    Ramp at end of platform in designated area and signs and painted disabled sign on the ground so people know where to wait.

    Drivers could well do this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    Disabled people are not a majority in society. While resonable and compassionate concessions should be made to help them use public transport.

    Entire infrastructures can not be rebuilt for them. It's just that simple.

    Such a regressive comment. Fortunately, entire infrastructure has been rebuilt to the benefit of everyone, not so long ago all stations on Dart were retrofitted to be wheelchair accessible, for example (IIRC).


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,374 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    Most train stations were built back in the day and British rule.

    No wheelchair back then or no plans to provide.

    Now with the Luas it's a mid 00s design so you would hope they got it right.

    You said it so many different levels at stations etc....

    Very costly to sort.

    Ramp at end of platform in designated area and signs and painted disabled sign on the ground so people know where to wait.

    Drivers could well do this.

    Even this is pretty complex - trains are not all the same height above the platform and they're not all the same length (also some of Irish Rails platform surfaces are not entirely even)

    IR has tried to get shorter trains to stop in the same place each time on the Dart network, it's not adhered to consistently by the drivers and there's still no information provided to waiting passengers about when a train is going to be short.

    The simplest solution is a ramp on the train, either automated on new trains, or placed by the driver or conductor on older trains - the latter option is probably a matter of how much money IR are will to pay.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,686 ✭✭✭✭ punisher5112


    loyatemu wrote: »
    Even this is pretty complex - trains are not all the same height above the platform and they're not all the same length (also some of Irish Rails platform surfaces are not entirely even)

    IR has tried to get shorter trains to stop in the same place each time on the Dart network, it's not adhered to consistently by the drivers and there's still no information provided to waiting passengers about when a train is going to be short.

    The simplest solution is a ramp on the train, either automated on new trains, or placed by the driver or conductor on older trains - the latter option is probably a matter of how much money IR are will to pay.

    I've already said all that.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,492 ✭✭✭✭ blanch152


    Not all stations/trains in the UK either have guards, or are accessible.

    Ireland compares quite favourably in this respect. London in particular is not that accessible to someone in a wheelchair, with the exception of buses.


    Only a small minority of underground stations in London provide wheelchair access.

    The cost of providing the infrastructure versus the subsidisation of taxis for wheelchair users needs to be considered.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,700 ✭✭✭ plodder


    murphaph wrote: »
    In Berlin on both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn the train driver sees the wheelchair user as they wait at the front of the platform. There are metal fold out ramps at every station at both ends of the platform which the driver grabs, folds out and lays down.
    I watched this happen in Copenhagen the other day. There, the ramps are kept in cabinets on the train at the doors nearest the driver and the whole process took about thirty seconds, from start to finish. No fuss whatsoever. I can't see why the DART can't do it the same way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,889 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    plodder wrote: »
    I watched this happen in Copenhagen the other day. There, the ramps are kept in cabinets on the train at the doors nearest the driver and the whole process took about thirty seconds, from start to finish. No fuss whatsoever. I can't see why the DART can't do it the same way.
    The DART drivers and their unions demanded more money to drive 8 car trains over 6 car ones. That's the mentality you're dealing with.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    murphaph wrote: »
    The DART drivers and their unions demanded more money to drive 8 car trains over 6 car ones. That's the mentality you're dealing with.

    Also when they had to drive to Greystones


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