Page last updated at 22:15 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 23:15 UK

Erosion may have caused collapse

An engineer surveys the damage to the line near Malahide
An engineer surveys the damage to the line near Malahide

A preliminary report into the collapse of part of the railway line between Belfast and Dublin said seabed erosion may have been the cause.

The section of track near Malahide collapsed on Friday just moments after a commuter train passed over it.

In a statement Iarnrod Eireann said it is believed that in a relatively short time-frame a small breach occurred in a causeway plateau within the seabed.

It said its investigation would also examine other factors.

Inspection and maintenance reports and procedures will also be scrutinised.

The company said it is immediately establishing a team to carry out a detailed inspection of bridges and viaducts across running water throughout the network.

Translink say they believe it will be 2010 before the line is fully operational again.

People using the Belfast to Dublin Enterprise service will face delays of at least half an hour each way while repairs take place.

Belfast passengers will be transferred by bus between Drogheda and Dublin.

Iarnrod Eireann had said they expected the line to be closed for at least three months.

BBC Dublin reporter Julie Kirby reports on the collapse

But Mal McGreevy, Translink's General Manager of Rail Service, said it was more likely to be six months.

The Consumer Council said Translink must ensure that disruption for rail passengers travelling between Belfast and Dublin was kept to a minimum while the repairs were carried out.

"We have made clear to Translink the need to ensure adequate bus services are available between Drogheda and Dublin to meet passenger demand," spokesman Aodhan O'Donnell said.

"We also raised our concerns over the knock on effect additional passengers choosing to travel by bus instead of train, will have on the Goldline 200 bus service between Belfast and Dublin."

Irish police have warned drivers travelling between Belfast and Dublin that they may encounter heavier than usual road traffic.

A spokesperson said increased traffic volumes may be encountered on all northern routes to and from Dublin city centre especially on the M1, N2 and M50.

Extra police will be on duty on these routes.

The first three Enterprise services into Belfast on Monday were delayed by 20 minutes, 32 minutes and 52 minutes.

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