Wednesday 21 February 2018

DART driver hurt as safety devices explode inside cab

One of the safety devices
One of the safety devices
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

A TRAIN driver was lucky to escape with minor injuries after safety devices he was carrying exploded in the cab of a DART.

A report from the Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) has found that fog signals – which are used to warn other train drivers of danger ahead – exploded after the driver put his bag containing the 12 devices on to the floor of the cab on March 6 last year. He sustained injuries to his hand, his clothing was scorched and he suffered temporary loss of hearing. The cab was also damaged.

Emergency services were quickly on the scene after the explosion, which occurred at 8am at Bray station.

The area was initially treated as a suspected crime scene and the Army bomb-disposal team was dispatched.

The report found that the French supplier of the fog signals had changed the specifications of signals supplied without telling Iarnrod Eireann.

"It was found that the fog signal supplier had changed the fog signals supplied to Iarnrod Eireann to a less robust fog signal," investigators found.

"Iarnrod Eireann had not been notified of this change and had not noticed the difference in fog signals until after the accident."

A small metal device which contains explosive, fog signals are placed on the rail behind a train which has broken down.

Any train passing over it causes it to detonate, resulting in a loud bang.

In this case, the 11 devices that exploded were manufactured by a French company named Alsetex, which is owned by another firm, Lacroix.

There have been no similar incidents in Ireland before.

The report made a series of findings including that the rail company had not provided training to staff on handling the signals and did not assess the risk of storing and transporting the devices.

It made three safety recommendations. The company said it had taken on board the recommendations, changed the signals used and introduced a new storage solution so that they were better protected.

Irish Independent

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