Vandalism blamed for Dart derailment in Bray
Iarnród Éireann says ‘capping stone’ was dislodged deliberately from overhead walk
Iarnród Éireann workers at the scene where a Dart commuter train derailed near Bray after it struck a boulder. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The derailment of a Dart train at Bray last night was probably the result of an act of vandalism, Iarnród Éireann has said.
According to chairman designate of the company Philip Gaffney, Iarnród Éireann investigators and the Garda determined the train struck a large capping stone which had apparently been dislodged from an overhead walkway.
None of the 33 passengers or the driver were injured when the 11.10pm Greystones to Connolly Dart train hit the capping stone and boulders which forced two sets of wheels off the track.
The incident occurred about 100 metres on the Bray side of a tunnel 2km from Bray station.
The rail line between Bray and Greystones remained closed to services this morning, causing considerable disruption to Dart and regional trains from the Wexford area. The train suffered only minor damage while the impact and damage on the rail lines were not significant.
Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport yesterday, Mr Gaffney said it was the first time a Dart train had suffered a derailment. He described the removal of the capping stone as “extremely serious and reprehensible” and something which could have resulted in fatalities.
Darts can seat anywhere from 128 to 160 passengers at capacity and travel at a maximum speed of 100km/h. Trains run at a restricted speed of about 50km/h on the section where the derailment happened.
Mr Gaffney said there had been a number of instances of anti-social behaviour at Howth and Sutton Dart stations in recent weeks and security was an important issue, particularly in the summer months.
He said a similar issue with vandalism on trains had occurred at Broombridge and this had been addressed by staff working with the authorities and the local community.
Gardaí said a number of rocks were found on the railway line with initial investigations indicating the y may have been dislodged deliberately.
Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.
The company also appealed for anyone with information on the suspected vandalism to contact its information lines or gardaí. “The potential was there for a far more serious incident,” spokesman Barry Kenny said. “Obviously last night, in the darkness, it was difficult to establish where the rock came from but when it was reviewed at first light it was fairly obvious that it was a rock from a boundary wall above.”