Vandals may have been responsible for a Dart train derailment, Irish Rail has said.
Two sets of wheels on one carriage came off the track after the last service out of Greystones, Co Wicklow, on Tuesday night struck a boulder.
Gardaí have been called in to investigate how the rockfall was caused.
A large hole can be seen next to the coastal path which runs along the cliff face above the busy Dart line, sparking concerns that the boulder was dumped on the track deliberately.
“It’s believed it may have been caused by vandals. It is a large boulder. There’s evidence from above on the walkway between Bray and Greystones that a boulder has been dislodged,” said a spokeswoman for Irish Rail.
Irish Rail chairman Phil Gaffney raised the same concerns when he was before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.
The accident happened on the Bray side of a tunnel about one mile (1.6km) from the town’s busy station when two sets of wheels — known as bogies — on a four-carriage train, came off the track.
There were 33 passengers and the driver on the 11.10pm Dart service from Greystones to Connolly at the time of the incident and no-one was injured.
The railway line was closed until mid-morning yesterday with commuter services and also trains to Rosslare disrupted as checks took place on the track and hillsides around the tunnel.
Irish Rail apologised to affected customers.
Services have been running normally since the line reopened at 9.50am.
The boulder which caused the derailment was 2ft across.
The train suffered only minor damage while the impact and damage on the rail lines was not significant, Irish Rail said.
The company appealed for anyone with information on the suspected vandalism to contact its information lines or local gardaí.
“The potential was there for a far more serious incident,” spokesman Barry Kenny said yesterday.
“Obviously last night, in the darkness, it was difficult to establish where the rock came from but when it was reviewed at first light it was fairly obvious that it was a rock from a boundary wall above.”
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