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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Several injured as train derails
NI Derry to Belfast train derails injuring eight
The train's three carriages were thrown from the track
A train driver and seven passengers have been injured when a train came off the line in County Londonderry.

The 1250 BST Londonderry to Belfast train came off the line as it was approaching the Downhill tunnel near Castlerock, between Coleraine and Derry shortly after lunchtime on Tuesday.

A police spokesperson said recent heavy rain was believed to be responsible for a landslide which saw rocks and boulders land on the track and two adjacent public roads.

The train was approaching downhill when the driver saw a boulder on the track. He applied the emergency brake, but could not stop the train in time.


Fatalities could have occurred not only on the railway but also on the road

Ciaran Rogan Translink

Twenty-one people, including the driver, were on board the three carriages when they were derailed

Six people are being treated in the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

Two others were released after treatment.

The driver of the train, who is the most seriously hurt, is being treated for leg injuries.

One of the carriages was forced onto the beach adjacent to the track

Investigation

Among those taken to hospital were five people suffering from angina, one of whom is an 84-year-old woman.

They had complained about chest pains and are being kept in hospital for observation.

Translink's Ciaran Rogan said there would be a thorough investigation into the accident.

"It could have been a lot more serious," he said.

"Fatalities could have occurred not only on the railway but also on the road and we will be taking it up with the landowners of the land adjacent as to exactly what their management and maintenance routine was for the cliffs here."

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said more needed to be done to make everyone that comes into contact with the railways aware that such a thing could happen.

"When we look at the scale of the problem here, we could have been talking about fatalities," he said.

The DUP assembly member added: Any measures that can be put in place, although it is difficult to legislate for this sort of thing, I am sure will be put in place immediately."

Maurice Walker, who lives near the scene, said: "The lead coach is over on the shore side, it has keeled over and separated entirely from the rest.

"The centre coach is on the land side and the rear coach is keeled over at 45 degrees along the track."

Police said the Coast Road and Castlerock Road have been closed to traffic.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Warr
"Eight people were taken to a local hospital"
Eyewitness Maurice Walker
"The lead coach is over on the shore side"
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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