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Cow-crash train left with no heat or toilets


'Irish Independent' magazine editor Yvonne Hogan. Photo:  James Horan/Collins

'Irish Independent' magazine editor Yvonne Hogan. Photo: James Horan/Collins

'Irish Independent' magazine editor Yvonne Hogan. Photo: James Horan/Collins

PASSENGERS were left without heating and toilet facilities after they were stranded for more than four hours on an InterCity train that hit a cow.

Iarnrod Eireann (IE) has apologised to almost 300 people who left Dublin's Heuston Station at 5pm on Wednesday, but didn't arrive in Cork until 1am yesterday.

Official Jane Cregan said IE was investigating conditions for passengers, some of whom were forced to urinate out doors after toilets overflowed.

The train hit a cow on the line after 6pm. In accordance with policy, the driver stopped the train between Thurles and Lisduff and a replacement arrived within 40 minutes.



When the original train was disconnected, they lost heating and toilet functions.It was decided to not move passengers by bus due to the remote location and bad weather.

One person on board called the eight-hour journey, almost four times longer than normal, "a total nightmare".

Yvonne Hogan told the Herald: "The representatives on board were saying one thing and Irish Rail Twitter another. At times it seemed as if the staff knew less than the passengers.

"There were mothers with small children who were dying to go to the toilet, people with babies who had run out of food.

"The staff should have taken this into account with the free food. It was given out on a first come, first served basis. The elderly and those with children got little or nothing."

Ms Hogan said Irish Rail told them tickets would be refunded, but those with travel passes would get no compensation.

Sean Hogan, also on board, added: "The toilets were full and overflowing after about an hour or so. There was urine spilling out on to the floor.

"People were desperate to go to the toilet and I saw a few urinating out an open door."

And a woman with a child returning to Cork said:"My daughter wanted to go to the toilet but I couldn't let her use them because of their condition."



Other passengers said they were told there were "technical problems" with the train, and only found out a cow had wandered on to the line via Twitter.

Iarnrod Eireann described the situation facing their staff as "very difficult" and vowed passengers would get a refund.

A spokeswoman said passengers were given food and drink and brought to Thurles station to get a new train to Cork.