New rail safety body launched

Transport Minister Martin Cullen will launch a new railway safety body today.

The Railway Safety Commission will be responsible for inspecting all Iarnód Éireann, Luas lines and even future Metro lines.

The commission, which was established on January 1, will also have the power to investigate any railway accident and to test train drivers for the use of alcohol or drugs at work.

It was originally due to be up and running by 2004 but it was delayed by concerns over the testing of drivers.

Like the Health and Safety Authority, the commission can issue improvement plans, improvement notices, prohibition notices and applications to the High Court to restrict unsafe activities.

Last year, a monument was erected at Buttevant Railway Station in Cork to commemorate one of the most serious accidents in Iarnód Eireann’s history. Eighteen people lost their lives when the Dublin-Cork express train crashed there on August 1, 1980.

Mr Cullen will perform the launch of the Railway Safety Commission at its new office in Blackrock, County Dublin at 9am.

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