Belmond Grand Hibernian train breaks down on first trip

Luxury rail service with tickets costing up to €7,700 encounters difficulties on way to Belfast

 

A train that has been touted as Ireland’s answer to the Orient Express broke down on its first weekend in service due to a technical fault.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian had only entered service last Tuesday, and is marketed as an exclusive rail service with trips costing up to €7,722.

The 252m-long train had been on its inaugural six-day tour of the country when it experienced difficulties on the way to Belfast on Saturday.

It ground to a halt between Skerries and Balbriggan for about an hour, Iarnród Éireann confirmed, and this led to delays for some northbound commuter services.

It was then kept in Drogheda for a period so engineers could perform an inspection.

The company confirmed that the stoppage was caused by a problem with the doors on one of the carriages, and passengers had to vacate the train to complete part of the journey to Belfast by road.

The train is operated by the Belmond organisation which has a chain of luxury hotels around the world, as well as other high-end travel experiences such as the Venice Simplon Orient Express and the Eastern and Oriental in southeast Asia.

“Belmond’s first priority is the safety and security of our guests and staff and we regret any inconveniences caused by this short interruption,” read a statement from the company in relation to Saturday’s disruption.

Some 40 passengers boarded the Grand Hibernian as it made its first departure from Heuston Station last Tuesday, and it arrived back in Dublin on Sunday.

The carriages were originally used by Iarnród Éireann on inter-city services in the 1980s and there were problems with the plug-type doors in their early years. They were withdrawn from 2007 and had been lying idle in sidings for several years before they were purchased by Belmond in 2014 from Iarnród Éireann.

The carriages were moved to Scotland for mechanical engineering works and painting, and then moved to Mivan Limited in Co Antrim, for fitting out. A series of test runs of the service took place in recent weeks around the Irish railway network.

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