Train surfing prevalent on Dart, according to Irish Rail

Train surfing prevalent on Dart, according to Irish Rail
Fifty-five separate incidents of ‘scutting’ were recorded on Dart services on both sides of the Liffey. Picture: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

More than 60 incidents of train or tram surfing have been reported by Irish Rail and the operators of the Luas light rail system over the past three years.

The dangerous practice, also known as “scutting”, involves a person holding onto the outside of a carriage as it moves away from a station.

The problem is far more prevalent on DART services than anywhere else, according to a database of incidents released by Irish Rail.

A single incident of train surfing was reported on the Northern Commuter line, the records show.

However, 55 separate incidents were recorded on DART services on both sides of the River Liffey.

According to a detailed log released under Freedom Of Information, there were 20 reports of tram surfing in 2018, 32 incidents last year, and 3 so far this year.

For the 19 incidents where an exact location was provided, the highest numbers were at Salthill (3) and Glenageary (3) stations, both in South Dublin.

A spokeswoman for Irish Rail said they had put in place a number of mitigation measures to try and deter people from train surfing.

“We include a requirement in new vehicle specifications for manufacturers to consider this in the design to seek to prevent or minimise the risk.

“So for example we will reduce the ledges or handholds to make it difficult to ‘grab on’. Most of our door steps are covered.” 

Irish Rail also said when trains from the fleet are refurbished, steps are taken to “remove the surfing area”.

The number of instances of “scutting” on Luas trams has dropped dramatically over recent years.

In 2018, there were six reports – two on the Red line that connects Dublin city centre to Tallaght, and four on the Green line that services Dundrum and Sandyford.

By last year, that had fallen to just a single incident on the green line and so far this year, there have been no reports of scutting or surfing on a tram.

A spokeswoman for TransDev, who operate the Luas services in Dublin, said thankfully incidents had been low over recent years.

She said: “While the number of incidents associated with tram surfing are very low, our message is still the same.

“If you witness a person surfing, call the gardaí immediately. Seconds could change a life – surfing can be fatal or cause serious injury.” 

One of the most notorious instances of “scutting” took place on a Luas service where a young girl suffered life-changing injuries after falling from a moving tram.

Rebecca Kelly, who was 13 at the time of the incident in 2010, settled her case for €550,000 while accepting what she did was a “silly thing”.

At the time of the case, the High Court heard that placing metal strips to prevent gripping between the door and body of the train had helped deter the practice.

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