Twelve injured as train derailed in Derry

 

Twelve people were injured, three of them seriously, when the 12.50 p.m. Derry-to-Belfast train was derailed following a rock fall yesterday.

All three train carriages were derailed when the front carriage struck a boulder which had rolled on to the line close to Mussenden Temple at Downhill, near Castlerock, Co Derry. There were 21 passengers on board.

One carriage rolled down an embankment and onto Benone beach. A second carriage careered into a car-park and stopped outside a public toilet building. The third carriage came to a halt beside a railway bridge.The casualties were taken to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine. The driver and two passengers in the first carriage sustained the more serious injuries.

Rockfalls along the stretch of railway line where the accident took place are not uncommon. Police spokesman Insp Millan Rountree said the Seacoast Road and the stretch of the track involved will be closed for several days. "The area is strewn with rocks and boulders. We believe that the recent heavy rain may have been responsible for a landslide which dislodged rocks and boulders and swept them onto both the road and track", he said.

Mr Kieran Rogan, of Translink, which is responsible for the railway service in the North, said the police had been notified of the boulder minutes before the collision."The train was coming around a bend at about 60 m.p.h. The driver saw the boulder on the track but despite his best efforts he was unable to stop the train before the impact," he said.