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Saturday 24 February 2018

Irish Rail criticise 'reprehensible' derailment 'by vandals'

Workers move the DART which was partially derailed when it stuck boulders between Bray and Greystones. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Workers move the DART which was partially derailed when it stuck boulders between Bray and Greystones. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A DART train with more than 30 passengers was derailed between Greystones and Bray after rocks from a wall were thrown onto the line by vandals, Irish Rail believes.

It suspects that rocks were taken from a boundry wall on a walkway above the train line and rolled down the hill to the point where they blocked the track and caused the next train to jump the tracks.

The matter has been reported to gardai and Irish Rail has said the incident is a major concern.

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

"Last night we had the first ever derailment of a DART train. It's clear the derailment occurred from the train striking a stone from above the railway. It would appear to be a deliberate act.

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

“If this was deliberate vandalism it is disgraceful and reckless behaviour that had the potential to cause serious injury or worse,” a spokesman told the Herald today.

“Luckily the train travels at a restricted speed at the point on the track where it derailed, because if this incident had happened at any speed we don’t know what sort of awful outcome could have resulted,” he added.

There were no reports of injuries to the 33 passengers and driver.

“Initially it was suspected that the incident might have been caused by a rock-fall from the sloping embankment, but there is strong steel mesh on the embankment at that point to prevent such events from happening so we had to keep an open mind,” the Irish Rail spokesman said.

“But then on further inspection in daylight this morning we could see that a number of rocks found on the line matched gaps in a wall along the walkway at a height alongside the track,” he added.

“The matter has now been reported to gardai and our own inspectors are also investigating the matter too,” he explained.

A garda spokesman confirmed they are investigating the incident and an inspection of the wall has been carried out.

From initial investigations carried out, gardai believe that the rocks may have been deliberately dislodged.

Investigating gardai are anxious to speak to anyone who may have been walking on the Greystones/ Bray cliff walk between 8pm and 12 midnight last night or any person who may have witnessed a group on individuals at the commencement of the cliff walk in Bray or the entrance to the cliff walk in Greystones.

The derailment occurred at 11.15pm last night when the Greystones to Connolly DART service hit the boulders on the line on the Bray side of a tunnel approx 1 mile from Bray Station.

Two sets of wheels, called bogies, on the four-carriage train came off the track as a result of the impact.

Rail sources say the train travels at around 30 to 40 miles per hour at that point of the track.

The train remained on the line overnight and rail inspectors this morning carried out an inspection into how the boulders got on the line and what would be the best way to put the train back on the line before moving it for a technical inspection.

The rail line between Bray and Greystones was closed until 10am today when it was put back into normal service.

But the early closure caused massive delays and inconvenience for thousands of commuters and tourists.

Dublin Bus accepted rail tickets for customers travelling to and from Greystones. And bus transfers were arranged for Rosslare-Dublin Intercity and Wexford-Wicklow-Dublin commuter services.

There were further delays for Dart passengers however a signal fault at the Merrion gates caused added disruption to the service to and from the city to Bray.

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