20/10/2010

Railways 'On Track' After Near Disaster

It was a bridge too far for the Irish railways when the collapse of a viaduct in the Republic of Ireland closed the main Dublin-Belfast track - and a major disaster was narrowly averted as a passenger train had just crossed the bridge when it fell into the sea.

As a result of the collapse of the Malahide viaduct and the closure of a large section of the line for three months in August 2009, it has been revealed that more than £100,000 has been spent repairing railway bridges in Northern Ireland following the incident.

A total of 157 rail bridges in Northern Ireland were studied following the damage near Dublin and there were also underwater inspections.
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The Stormont Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy revealed the figures to SDLP MLA Tommy Burns in the Assembly this week and said checks and repairs following the Malahide incident cost approximately £15,000 for inspections and approximately £110,000 for repair works.

In the Irish Republic, a report on the collapse of the Malahide viaduct found there was a failure as staff did not know the type of structure they were dealing with and an independent report found that over the years rail staff became unaware that the piers were resting on rocks and not pile-driven into the sea bed.

That study was commissioned by southern rail operator Iarnrod Eireann after the viaduct's collapse.

(BMcC/GK)

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