Councillors Cadogan Enright and Robert Burgess have hit out at long delays in replacing an incorrect lock on the Roads Service Car Park between Rathkeltair House and Down Railway, blocking access for emergency vehicles to the new greatly expanded working Rail Museum.
Cllr Enright explained “Early last year I complained to the Road Service that when one of the gates to the car park was damaged, it was left with an incorrect lock that did not facilitate access by the emergency services. In June of 2012 I complained again at the behest of the Councils legal officer and Roads Service apologised once more and said they would get a standard lock on the damaged gate as soon as possible.”
Councillor Burgess agreed and said “This has been going on now for over a year, action is past-due and its not for the want of us calling into Rathkeltair House, making phone calls and writing emails.”
Cllr Enright highlighted how recently deceased Down Rail Chairperson collapsed with a heart attack in the entrance to the railway last summer, “My wife Brenda did her best to make Michael comfortable while we waited for the ambulance which was not long in coming. The ambulance crew tried the standard key that is supposed to fit all these locks and could not get in. I ran from gate to gate with keys and a stepladder to try and let the ambulance in to no avail. The emergency services were upset that the key would not fit all gates and this caused a delay in the rescue.”
Robert Burgess commented “You would think that this incident would have created a sense of urgency in the Road Service, but not at all – here we are in March 2013 and the gate is being repaired – Lord knows if we will get the right emergency services key or not. There have been similar long delays in dealing with our request to Roads Service to improve signage to the railway for Tourists – we will be watching carefully to see how this ends up”.
Both Councillors help out at the railway on a volunteer basis for what is rapidly becoming one of County Downs premier tourist attractions. They invited people of all ages to volunteer – saying that there are a wide range of skills required from manual labour, operating heavy machinery, carpentry, engineering, administration, on the internet and in the museums and shop. There are 13 different teams of people working away throughout the week, and there were roles for people of every age and ability. See www.downrail.co.uk/join.htm