Co Down firm fined £9,000 for causing rail accident
A Co Down firm has been fined £9,000 after a train smashed into equipment left on a railway line two years ago.
In February 2016, a six-carriage train from Portadown to Lisburn collided with an excavator bucket on the tracks at around 6.45am, leaving the two front windows seriously damaged.
No one was injured in the collision, but passengers had to be taken off and transferred to bus services.
The subsequent hold-up caused knock-on traffic chaos on the roads. Northern Excavators Ltd, of Culcavy Road, Hillsborough, was found guilty yesterday at Lisburn Magistrates Court of failing to remove the equipment after making repairs to the Belfast to Dublin railway line following overnight works.
Established in the 1960s, the company had been sub-contracted to carry out the overnight repair work because of its expertise in working on railway lines.
The court found, however, that the business failed to have adequate safety provisions in place during the repair, which could have resulted in passengers being hurt or even killed.
Health and Safety Executive inspector Linda Murphy said: "This case highlights the dangers of railway maintenance with inadequate safe systems of working.
"Appropriate attention must, therefore, be given by those who work on such activities to ensure that high standards of safety control are in place at all times."
In 2016, concerns were also raised over the rush hour traffic gridlock caused by the crash and a lack of initial clarity over whether it was a security alert.
Experts said it showed Northern Ireland's roads network was unable to handle the ripple effect from even minor traffic disruptions.