Commuters have lucky escape after section of roof collapses at Cork railway station

Witnesses tell of how high winds sent roof crashing down on platforms at Kent Station

One Iarnród Éireann source said that it was fortunate that the incident happened in the mid-afternoon as if it had happened anytime after 5pm, the platform would have been much busier with commuters returning home and people could have been seriously hurt or worse.

One Iarnród Éireann source said that it was fortunate that the incident happened in the mid-afternoon as if it had happened anytime after 5pm, the platform would have been much busier with commuters returning home and people could have been seriously hurt or worse.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 21:09

Commuters had a lucky escape today when a section of the roof collapsed in strong winds at Kent railway station in Cork city resulting in the cancellation of both mainline and local commuter train services.

One woman suffered minor injuries to her shoulder and neck and two others were lucky to avoid injury when a metal canopy over platforms 1 and 2 at the eastern end of the station collapsed during a bout of heavy winds just after 3pm this afternoon.

Student Alan Dineen from Midleton told how the 3pm commuter train to Cobh had just left the station minutes early when sudden heavy winds whipped up and caused the roof to collapse on the Midleton commuter train which was due to leave at 3.15pm.

“It started raining really bad and the wind just started whipping up and it got really bad and the bins started flying out of nowwhere and everything and suddenly the roof came crashing down on the glass doors - it was scary - like something out of movie,” he said.

“There were three of us on the platform at the time and the roof suddenly came down on one of the girls who was on the platform but she’s okay - she got hit on the shoulder and the neck but it could have been a lot worse - she was lucky, we all were,” he added.

The former Arcadia Ballroom on Lower Glanmire Road has been converted into apartments and residents in one of the apartments reported seeing a section of the platform canopy flying from the railway station and passing over the rooftops on Lower Glanmire Road.

One witness told Cork’s 96FM how what looked like a tornado hit the railway station.

“I looked out the window and saw what looked like a tornado outside City Hall, swirling over in this direction and the whole place just erupted, timbers, sheets of glass, slates, everything.”

One Iarnród Éireann source said that it was fortunate that the incident happened in the mid-afternoon as if it had happened anytime after 5pm, the platform would have been much busier with commuters returning home and people could have been seriously hurt or worse.

Iarnród Éireann officials responded quickly to the emergency and evacuated passengers to a safe area while five units of Cork City Fire Brigade also attended and firefighters worked to make the area safe by removing loose debris and loose slates on nearby houses.

The HSE South also dispatched three ambulances, a rapid response vehicle with a doctor as well as an advanced paramedic to the scene and it’s understood that they treated the casualty at the scene for non life-threatening injuries.

Gardaí also began a traffic management plan in place to keep traffic moving along Lower Glanmire Road which is one of the main arteries for traffic exiting the city centre and heading for East Cork, Dublin and Waterford.

Iarnród Éireann later issued a statement in which it confirmed that one person had suffered minor injuries in the incident as it revealed that train services to and from Kent Station would be suspended pending an examination and making safe of the area.

According to Iarnród Éireann, the Midleton commuter train was not in service when a section of the roof on platforms 1 & 2 collapsed, resulting in non life-threatening injuries to one person whowas on the platform at the time.

“While there were high winds and rain in the area at the time, the cause of the incident is not known at this time, and will be the subject of a full investigation,” it said in a statement.

The company confirmed mainline rail services would commence and terminate at Mallow station with Cork passengers being brought to and from Mallow by bus while relief bus services was also operating to cater for Cobh and Midleton commuters.

Barry Kenny of Iarnród Éireann said: “Our priority is safety - we will be undertaking a full structural examination to ensure that the remaining sections of the canopy are secure as we do not want to put people in harm’s way.”

“Certainly it’s unlikely services will resume to and from the station this evening and if it safe to do so, we will be working towards a target of having services operating in the morning again,” he added.