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Husband hails train driver wife who prevented horror collision

The husband of a hero train driver has told of his pride after she prevented a collision with a burning car that had been abandoned on the track.

Stacey Allen's fast reactions saved lives after the blazing vehicle was left on the line near Bellarena station.

Stacey, who has worked as a train driver on the Londonderry to Belfast route for more than 16 years, raised the alarm when she spotted flames on the track at Limestone Road shortly before 9pm on Monday.

She safely brought the train, which was travelling towards Derry, to a standstill, avoiding impact with the burning vehicle.

Travelling at an approximate speed of 70mph, Mrs Allen only had seconds to react.

Mrs Allen, the crew and all six passengers were unharmed in the incident and the line which was shut for several hours.

Mrs Allen returned the train to Coleraine station and passengers made the rest of their journey via road by bus.

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Her husband Ian, posting on social media, said: "I am so proud of her quick and professional reaction to bring her train to an emergency stop, potentially saving many lives."


Engineers at the scene yesterday

Engineers at the scene yesterday

Engineers at the scene yesterday

East Londonderry MLA Cara Hunter, who described the incident as the epitome of recklessness, said Mrs Allen undoubtedly saved lives.

She said: "Without a doubt, lives were saved because of the action taken by the Translink crew and we have to commend them for that.

"I spoke to Mrs Allen's husband who is also a train driver and he told me how shocking it was for her and the crew.

"That this car was deliberately left on the railway line and set on fire is deeply worrying, but the thing that concerns me greatly is what the consequences could have been if this car hadn't been burning and the flames hadn't alerted the driver.

"Travelling at speed, every second would have counted and that she could see the flames was probably a blessing because that gave her a few extra moments to get the train stopped. It is hard to understand the mindset of someone who would do this but it is the epitome of recklessness."

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon also praised Mrs Allen.

She said: "I am deeply concerned and troubled by the incident near Bellarena. The train travelling from Belfast to Derry was brought thankfully to a stop by the train driver who acted quickly before the train reached the burning car on the track.

"I am so relieved to hear that passengers and crew are all safe. It is unimaginable to think what could have happened had it not been for the prompt action of the driver and crew. I want to express my gratitude to them and to the emergency services.

"I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact the PSNI."

The car was abandoned across the line close to the station at Bellarena which was opened in 2016 by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh as part of the multi-million pound upgrade of the Derry to Belfast route.

Firefighters from Limavady tended the blaze which was extinguished in just over 30 minutes with the incident declared "deliberate" a short time later.

PSNI Chief Inspector MclIdowney described the incident as "reckless endangerment to life" and praised the "heroics of our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service".

He urged witnesses to contact police on quoting serial number 1945 of the 12/04/21."

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