Sunday 11 December 2016

Train drivers fear for safety as violent incidents rise

Published 01/06/2015 | 02:30

Train drivers are growing increasingly concerned for their safety
Train drivers are growing increasingly concerned for their safety

Train drivers are growing increasingly concerned for their safety, as there has been a 35pc increase in the number of drunken and violent incidents on-board and in stations.

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Irish Rail said that there were 381 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2014. This represents a stark increase of the same figure from 2013, which stood at 281.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said that these incidents include "threatening and abusive behaviour, vandalism and other instances". And they also confirmed the number of employees who were injured in 2014 rose from 13 in 2013 to 19 last year, an increase of 46pc.

Dermot O'Leary, the general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), said that his organisation has a number of "ongoing concerns about anti-social behaviour".

"There is a particular concern that larger inter-city-type trains have similar crewing arrangements to smaller commuter-type trains.

"We have had occasion in the past to raise this issue, the feeling among our members is that it is only a matter of time before a serious incident occurs," he added.

He has written to Irish Rail bosses about this issue.

"Having a database is one thing, having an agreed joint approach in addressing such incidents is what is urgently required here.

"A recent incident in Cork where a loco driver was spat at as he went to board his train is symptomatic of the incidents we are hearing about."

Security

Irish Rail bosses believe that the increase in the number of recorded incidents is down to "greater reporting", which they encourage staff to do.

Irish Rail said they "engage security contractors to provide a roving patrol on board Dart and commuter services seven days a week".

This security detail also includes a "constant static" presence in Dublin's Connolly and Heuston stations.

Last November, several staff members were forced to tackle a man who smashed 16 windows on a stationary train with two emergency hammers. As a result, capacity during rush hour services was reduced.

Irish Independent

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