Growing fears at attacks on trains in west Dublin

 

Iarnród Éireann has expressed concern about vandalism and stone-throwing incidents around Broombridge station on Dublin's western suburban line. It has not ruled out the possibility of suspending services if the situation deteriorates.

In one incident this month, a train was forced to stop due to wooden pallets and a car door being placed on the track.

A spokesman for Iarnród Éireann also confirmed that people have boarded trains at Broombridge in Cabra and broken windows from the inside, as well as attacking trains from the outside.

"This is very much a blackspot. It is an on-going problem, but it is worst at this time of year," he said.

"Placing a barricade on a track is a very serious matter, and in other countries there have been very serious accidents as a result of instances like this.

"We have had regular meetings with gardaí in the area, and with security people and our own management and operational staff. We have also met with local community and residents' groups and public representatives about the problems."

Broombridge is beside derelict factories and overgrown railway sidings.

It is the only unmanned station between Dublin and Maynooth on the busy line which also carries mainline services to Sligo.

The spokesman added that it was a "very lightly used station", and although it was manned at one time there were security issues. "We have invested in providing shelters and seating, but whenever anything is done it is vandalised almost immediately."

Asked if there was a possibility of services being withdrawn from the station, he relied: "If we felt that the security situation became impossible it is something that we would have to look at. You cannot have customers and staff at risk, but we do want to provide a service for people in the area."

Yesterday, Platform 11, the voluntary national rail lobby group, issued a press release expressing concern about attacks on trains at Broombridge. According to a Platform 11 spokesman, one of the most recent attacks involved a group of youths who "attempted to derail a passenger train at rush hour by placing a barricade across the tracks", and then pelted the train "with rocks as it came to a grinding halt".

He added: "What makes this incident even more disturbing is that the same attackers stood alongside the train laughing and making obscene gestures at the passengers and train staff while the train driver attempted to remove the object from the tracks."

On some of the older trains to Sligo, stones have been thrown through open windows of carriages.

However, the development of some of the adjacent lands for housing may help the situation.

The line is currently carrying record numbers of passengers, with the figures swelled by the recent introduction of new railcar sets that can have up to eight carriages.