Thursday 18 December 2014

Vandals put lives at risk as DART derailed by rocks

Emma Jane Hade

Published 10/07/2014 | 02:30

The DART train after it was derailed by rocks on the line.
Picture: Mark Doyle
The DART train after it was derailed by rocks on the line. Picture: Mark Doyle

VANDALS are believed to have pushed boulders on to a rail track, causing the derailment of a train carrying 34 passengers.

It is suspected that rocks were taken from a boundary wall on a walkway above the DART line between Greystones and Bray and rolled down the hill where they caused the next train to jump the tracks.

The matter has been reported to gardai and Iarnrod Eireann said the incident was a major concern.

The driver and passengers all escaped without injury from the incident late on Tuesday night, but a spokesman from Iarnrod Eireann said it had the potential to be much worse.

"With these things, with obstructions on railway lines, if it just hits it the wrong way you can come into a very difficult situation," he said.

"Obviously modern trains are built to withstand incidents like this well, but there have been incidents in other countries where you have had fatal accidents as a result of vandalism and obstructions on sites.

"The potential was very severe," he added.

Iarnod Eireann said that two wheels on a four carriage train came off the tracks just one mile from the Bray station shortly after 11pm on Tuesday night.

"When (the driver) felt the jolts, he brought the train to a halt immediately and ensured that everybody on board was okay.

"We assisted people off the train because it was just over a mile outside Bray station. We brought a train up as close as we could to the point where the train was rather than having people walking in the dark along a railway line," the spokesman added.

The DART service celebrates its 30th anniversary this month and this is the first time a train has derailed.

The service resumed yesterday morning, and Iarnrod Eireann said that this was not a "victimless action".

It added: "The potential was there that with 34 people on board who could have suffered serious injuries. We would be urging anyone with information on this to report it to the gardai."

Addressing the Dail Transport committee, Iarnrod Eireann chairman Philip Gaffney described the incident as "reprehensible".

"It's clear the derailment occurred from the train striking a stone from above the railway. It would appear to be a deliberate act," he said.

"Actions like this are extremely serious and reprehensible and could have resulted in serious injury to the driver and passengers."

Gardai are investigating the incident.

Irish Independent

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