DART worker had heart attack while driving train
Published 30/03/2011 | 05:00
A MAN had a heart attack while he was the lone driver of a DART train containing up to 500 passengers, Dublin County Coroner's Court was told yesterday.
CIE employee John O'Neill (50) died just hours after he managed to stop at a station before being rushed to St Michael's Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, on December 22, 2010.
The court heard that CIE doctors gave Mr O'Neill the all-clear just two months before the incident, despite a history of serious heart problems.
Questioning Dr Declan Whelan, the company's chief medical officer, coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty repeatedly raised the safety of CIE policy to have only one train driver on journeys.
He said Mr O'Neill could have been unable to bring the train to a station or could have died while it was in motion.
Dr Whelan said it was normal policy across the EU to have just one train driver on short journeys. He added that there was a safety mechanism on DART lines which would stop a train if the driver did not pull a switch every 30 seconds.
But Dr Geraghty said that if the safety mechanism failed, this could leave a train hurtling down the tracks, full of passengers, with no driver.