Belfast Telegraph

Twenty-two injured following separate mini-train accidents in Northern Ireland

By Joanne Fleming

Sixteen children and six adults have been treated in hospital following two separate miniature train crashes at the weekend.

On Sunday morning at Drumhoney Holiday Park in Irvinestown, the mini-train overturned during one of its regular excursions around the caravan park.

Twelve of the children and five adults were taken to the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen where they were treated for minor injures.

They have since been released.

On Saturday a woman and four young children were also hurt when a miniature train, run by the Belfast and Co Down Miniature Railway Society, toppled over on its track at the Drumawhey Junction outside Newtownards.

They were released from the Ulster Hospital within hours.

Ivan Bradshaw, manager of Drumhoney Holiday Park, said the accident at his site occurred when one of the carriages overturned.

He said the train, on site for eight years, was used for many charity events and that on this occasion they were fundraising for the Samaritans.

"One of the carriages overturned," he said.

"It has never happened before.

"We do not know yet what happened – there is an investigation under way."

Mr Bradshaw said he was pleased there was no one seriously injured.

"The reports are that there were bruises," he said.

"Everyone has been released from hospital.

"I would like to compliment the South West hospital on their speedy response."

The Health and Safety Executive has said it was investigating the incident.

The train driver involved in the Belfast and Co Down Miniature Railway Society crash, Michael Severn, described how the last coach toppled over, creating a domino effect.

He said this pulled the connecting coach and engine off the miniature tracks.

"I think somebody moved in one of the coaches and the track was very wet and slippery from all the heavy rain and it came off the track," he said.

"There were nine on it in total, plus a few babies in arms. They're all just shaken up but thankfully everyone appeared okay."

He said that he himself was quite shaken up, but had been more worried about his passengers.

Mr Severn added that within a very short space of time, the miniature railway was back on the track and running again.

The Belfast and Co Down Miniature Railway Society is run by a group of volunteers.

The miniature railway at Drumawhey junction is located on the Upper Gransha Road midway between Bangor, Donaghadee and Newtownards.

The Drumhoney Holiday Park is a five-star holiday park accredited by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Its website states that the 'Drumhoney Flyer' was custom built at the site.

Consisting of the main engine and two carriages, it can take up to 22 passengers and has wheelchair access for trips around the park.

Belfast Telegraph


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