A mum has told of the “terrifying” 50 minutes she and her two young children spent stuck in a pitch black lift after it broke down.
Lily Mount was trapped at Faversham railway station with her son, two, and daughter, seven, but despite shouting and ringing the alarm no one could hear them.
The 27-year-old is now calling for the station’s two lifts - which have regularly been hit with issues over the years - to be replaced.
Lily had been returning home to Herne Bay at about 4.30pm on Bank Holiday Friday, with her son in a pushchair and her daughter in tow, when the lift broke part-way up the shaft.
“I got in it and pressed the button to go up and within 10 seconds all the power shut off,” she said.
“The lights went dark, all the buttons went off. It was pitch black.”
The mum repeatedly pressed the alarm but there was no reaction, and her daughter began “panicking”.
“I could hear station staff on the top level,” said Lily.
“I called but no-one heard me. I kept sounding the alarm and there was no noise. No-one was coming.
“I started to raise my voice to be heard and that made my daughter scared.
“My daughter’s panic raised and eventually she screamed - and that’s what the workers heard.”
After 10 minutes staff heard her cries and reportedly tried to manually lower the windowless lift - which was stuck a couple of metres off the ground - to no avail, before calling the fire brigade.
“I could almost hear my daughter’s heartbeat,” recalls Lily. “She was panicking.
“She was so scared. It was so horrible. I was so afraid for my children.
“It took about six minutes, but I managed to get out my phone, so we did have that.
“If it wasn’t for that light, it would have been a much worse situation.”
Lily had to shout through the lift door to communicate with station staff.
“Every time I shouted for them to hear me, my daughter’s panic would spike again,” she said.
“She was just saying ‘I’m so scared, I’m so scared’, and I was just stroking her hair and trying to reassure her.”
Firefighters eventually lowered the lift in stages and forced open the doors, freeing the family.
Lily says the 50 minutes they were stuck “felt so long”, and says the incident has had a lasting impact.
Usually an animated person, she has become quieter and easily panicked.
“I’m just really struggling with noise,” she said. “When both my kids are talking to me at the same time, which would normally be fine, I’m finding that incredibly stressful.”
Meanwhile, her daughter has grown afraid of the dark and refuses to sleep in a dark room.
The mum says she is not looking for compensation.
“The most important thing to me - besides maybe getting some counselling - is those lifts not just being fixed but being replaced,” she said.
“One or the other has been broken [on and off] for upwards of five years.
“Sometimes they’re vandalised, sometimes broken down.
“They’re always being fixed, but it’s not working. To have them fixed I just don’t think is enough.
“It’s something they need to resolve.
“There are vulnerable people who could be even more affected by something like that happening.
“Elderly people, people in wheelchairs, and people who are already terrified of enclosed spaces and the dark.”
Southeastern has apologised to Lily for “what must have been a traumatic experience” and says it has been in direct contact with the mum.
A spokesman added: “We’re very much aware of the problems with the lifts at Faversham Station and we have been talking to Network Rail’s lift engineer with a view to upgrading [them], because we know how crucial accessibility is for our customers.
“While we can’t give a timescale for a more permanent fix we are urgently looking at more immediate measures to address the situation.”