Wednesday 12 December 2018

Thirty passengers stranded on Dart for three hours

Mary Fogarty

Passengers travelling by Dart towards Greystones were stranded for around three hours last Thursday night between tunnels on Bray Head.

The Dart couldn't move from Bray Head after overhead wires got caught on the Dart's pantograph and were torn down and damaged.

Lorraine Hollingsworth from Kilcoole was on-board the train with her two children Dylan (4) and Lexi (3). She said that the Dart stopped suddenly, she heard a loud band and it was very frightening at first.

She said that it was less so when the driver came out to talk to everyone and keep them informed. Everyone on-board looked after each other, sharing food, blankets, and keeping each-other's spirits up. Some German women helped keep the children entertained. Another couple had signal and offered the use of their phone to anyone who needed it.

The family had been out to celebrate Dylan's 4th birthday with a trip to the zoo before stopping off in Dun Laoghaire for a bite to eat. The children were not phased by their adventure on the Dart.

It was the 'not knowing' which troubled Lorraine the most, as they waited to be rescued. After three hours, they climbed down a ladder, then walked for around 20 minutes in the rain to the waiting diesel train. Crew members carried the children.

Lorraine's mother Esther was waiting for her in Bray from midnight. She had originally been supposed to collect them in Greystones after their journey.

According to Barry Kenny from Irish Rail, they weren't able to get a Dart down beside the marooned train.

They had to get a commuter train to rescue the passengers as it is operated by diesel and not the overhead wires.

There were 30 passengers on one carriage to be rescued, including children.

The Dart was left without power after grinding to a halt. The heat was not working but emergency lights powered by battery remained on.

Extra personnel attended the scene to help the passengers on to the diesel train. This occurred approximately two kilometres from Greystones station.

Irish Rail crews had to ensure power had been disabled to the fallen wires before the replacement train could be allowed near the scene.

The process to load passengers onto the commuter train was slow as they had to climb down a ladder and negotiate rocks in the dark and rain.

The Dart stopped moving at approximately 9.30 p.m. and the train was pulling back into Bray station at 12.30 a.m.

Dart services between Greystones and Bray remained suspended first thing Friday morning, but were operating once again for the 8.10 a.m. service leaving Greystones/

Mr Kenny said that there was significant damage and the Dart involved in the incident remained on the line until 5.15 a.m. on Friday morning. Irish Rail are investigating what caused the issue.

Bray People