Network Rail ‘failed’ disabled passengers with broken lifts at Lewes station

Sean Macleod, a Liberal Democrat councilor for Lewes District, claimed lifts at Lewes station had been broken several times this year, leaving passengers with mobility issues stranded or unable to travel at all.

Councilor Macleod said: “Honestly, I feel like it’s a never-ending story. At least once a month I write to Network Rail Southern asking when their lifts will be fixed again. These elevators look like they had more parts than Trigger’s broom.

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“There must be a reason for their constant failures and given the rising cost of tickets that passengers are facing, the current situation is simply not acceptable.

Sean Macleod, a Liberal Democrat councilor for Lewes District, claimed lifts at Lewes station had been repeatedly broken, leaving passengers with mobility issues stranded or unable to travel at all.

“It wouldn’t happen so often at a London station. There would be a clear and lasting solution and the same would have to happen at Lewes station.”

Network Rail confirmed the lift on Platform 1 was out of service yesterday (June 15) as it was awaiting recalibration of a speed limiter.

A governor prevents the elevator from going too fast and engages a gear to slow it down if it does.

The railway company said the elevator would be repaired very quickly.

Network Rail Southern Region spokesman Chris Denham said: ‘We are very sorry for the continuing issue with the lift serving Platform 1 at Lewes, caused by the need to calibrate critical equipment for the safety.

“While we are confident this will be resolved imminently, we know this is not helping people who cannot travel without it and we apologize for the disruption.

“We had a series of problems with the lift on the other platforms in the station last year – four and five – and have made some improvements there as a result.”

Councilor Macleod said the lack of information to tell passengers the lifts are out of order means they only find out when they get to said lift.

For this reason, Councilor Macleod believes many people miss their train or get off at platform four and have to wait for the next train to continue their journey to Brighton and back.

Network Rail said Lewes lifts are currently showing 99.9% availability on platforms four and five 5 and 99.82% availability on platform 1 this financial year.

However, these statistics do not include problems with vandalism – which the company said was the most common problem with station elevators.

Availability figures last year were 99.65% on Platform 1 and 92% on Platforms 4 and 5 – a statistic Network Rail described as ‘poor’ as the station encountered a series of problems with this elevator.

Chris Denham continued: “Unfortunately the most common cause of lift failures is vandalism and the reliability of the lifts themselves is very good – 99.9% in the case of Platforms 4 and 5 at Lewes since april.

“We have undertaken work behind the scenes to speed up our responses to issues when they arise, including stocking components from Europe which are now often stuck in transit, so we hope people will see greater availability of lifts from now on.”

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James H. Wright