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Video: Fire service 'heroics' praised after burning car left on train track near Bellarena

Minister ‘deeply concerned’

Police have paid tribute to the "heroics" of the fire service after a burning car was left on a railway track near Bellarena.

The Belfast to Derry train was forced to make an emergency stop at a level crossing on the Limestone Road in Limavady at around 9pm.

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Engineers examine damage to the track at a level crossing outside Bellarena where a train was forced to make an emergency stop when a car was set on fire at the crossing. Picture Martin McKeown. 13.04.21

Engineers examine damage to the track at a level crossing outside Bellarena where a train was forced to make an emergency stop when a car was set on fire at the crossing. Picture Martin McKeown. 13.04.21

Engineers examine damage to the track at a level crossing outside Bellarena where a train was forced to make an emergency stop when a car was set on fire at the crossing. Picture Martin McKeown. 13.04.21

Police said the car was set on fire then abandoned on the tracks and described it as "reckless endangerment to life".

An officer praised the “heroics of our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service”. An investigation is underway and police called for anyone with information to come forward.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said she was "deeply concerned" by the incident.

Translink confirmed it involved the 7.10pm train from Belfast to Derry and the fire service said it was "deliberate". The track has since been reopened.

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Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway said: “The train driver reacted quickly and thankfully brought the train to a stop safely, short of where the car was burning.

“The train crew ensured all safety procedures were followed with the incident swiftly reported and emergency services attended the scene.

“The train returned to Coleraine Station, where six passengers got off safely for onward connections by road. It is very fortunate that no-one has been injured in this incident.

“The line will remain closed until further notice with bus substitutions operating tomorrow morning between Derry-Londonderry and Coleraine.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon condemned the incident, which she said left her “deeply concerned and troubled”.

“I am so relieved to hear that passengers and crew are all safe,” Ms Mallon said.

“It is unimaginable to think what could have happened this evening 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.”

Mr Conway said Translink would be working with the PSNI to investigate the incident, adding: “We utterly condemn this attack which had the potential for very serious consequences.”

Sinn Fein MLA Caoimhe Archibald condemned those responsible.

The East Londonderry MLA said: “Those responsible for leaving a burning car on the railway line at Magilligan were completely reckless.

“It could have caused a serious accident and I understand a train travelling on the line got stopped just on time.

“The Fire and Rescue Service have described this incident as deliberate.

“I want to commend the Fire and Rescue Service for their swift response and for bringing the scene under control.

“I have spoken to the police who have said investigations are at an early stage and I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

Police appealed for any witnesses to contact police quoting serial number 1945 of the 12/04/21.

You can also submit a report line using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.


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