Thursday 19 July 2018

Shocking pictures show teenagers crossing train tracks on one of the ‘busiest days of the year’

Cian Murray

Shocking pictures have emerged of several teenagers crossing the main Dublin to Belfast train track.

The pictures clearly show a number of youths on the tracks at Donabate station in North county Dublin.

The incident took place last Saturday evening at 7:45pm, a day when passenger numbers for Irish Rail were higher than normal due to the Bray Air Show.

Although there is no direct line to Bray from Donabate station, the busy Dublin to Belfast line does use this track.

A witness said there were several group of teenagers loitering in the area and added that there were no Irish Rail employees in the station at the time.

Jenny Snook, who was on the platform, said: “There were around 30 teenagers hanging around the station, with about 10 of them around the steps as you cross the bridge. It seemed like it was a pretty common thing for a Saturday.

"It just seemed like such a normal thing. There were other younger children there asking their parents ‘what’s happening?’ and ‘why are they running across the track?’

Mark Gleeson, a spokesperson for Rail Users Ireland, believes incidents such as this are due to Irish Rail’s lack of people present in smaller stations.

He said: “This kind of antisocial behaviour is happening because there is no one there. It is a symptom of Irish Rail’s failure to put people on the ground.

“Donabate is a 90 miles per hour railway and this kind of action is extremely dangerous and stupid. It was also one of the busiest days of the year for Irish Rail, with the Bray Air Show taking place. If you’re standing on the Donabate track, you can’t see the train coming until 10 seconds before it hits you.

“This isn’t something I’d wish on anyone. Unfortunately, being a train driver is one of the only careers where you’re virtually guaranteed to kill someone over your 30 year career.”

Barry Kenny, Corporate Communications Manager for Irish Rail, told that Irish Rail hasn’t received any report from the event, but warned against this sort of action.

He said: “We would have a number of stations which would be unmanned at off-peak times. However, at all times it is illegal and extremely dangerous for anyone to trespass on the railway line.

“Modern trains and tracks mean that trains approach much more silently than in the past, and a train takes a long distance to come to a halt. If someone were to trip or fall on a track, the driver of the train can do nothing to prevent an impact. 

“We will prosecute in cases of trespass, but much more importantly we would urge people to never trespass, and for parents in the area to be aware of how dangerous this is.”

The incident was reported to Irish Rail by a member of the public.  Barry Kenny also said: "Mobile security had been patrolling the area on the regular rounds, but we will be increasing our security numbers in that station."

Mr Kenny said Irish Rail is reviewing CCTV images taken of the teenagers on Saturday night with a view to “identify the trespassers and pursue the matter with them and their families.”

Gardai are also poring over mobile phone images taken of the teenagers in a bid to pursue them.

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