It has emerged that an empty passenger train being shunted out of the station had a ‘shunting irregularity’ and was pushed into the path of an incoming passenger train carrying a number of passengers. The incident happened on August 25.
According to a spokes-woman for Irish Rail, the driver of a Cobh train which was coming towards the station was notified of the danger from the shunted vehicle by his train’s safety protection system and the train was already going slowly because it was coming close to the station.
The Cobh train was brought to a stop and passengers had to be evacuated from the vehicle using ladders.
“There was no derailment and no injuries,” the spokeswoman said. “Trained staff escorted them across one set of tracks and brought them to safety. It is a serious incident but a shunting irregularity can happen.”
“The incident has been reported to the Railway Safety Commission and we will carry out our own investigation.”
She said it would not be appropriate to speculate on what had caused the shunting until the investigation had been completed.
Meanwhile, train services to and from Cork returned to normal yesterday after a two-day unofficial strike by railway maintenance staff in the city ended.
Iarnród Eireann said trains to and from Kent Station in Cork and on the Cork-Cobh route had resumed their usual timetables following the stoppage.
It is understood striking staff agreed to return to work following an invitation from the company to enter conciliation talks.
An Iarnród Eireann spokeswoman said yesterday: “Between 10am and 10.30am this morning, senior trade unionists were engaging in talks with their people down in Cork and they encouraged them to return to work. Thankfully now, services have resumed as normal.
“Services on the Cork-Cobh commuter route are now operating normally and we expect our intercity service on the Cork-Dublin route to resume as normal.”
Many passengers had been accommodated on a substitute bus service following the decision of line maintenance staff to down tools.
But John Keenan of Iarnród Eireann said the renewal work had been going on for years and rosters relating to the disputed work had been issued in July with no objections lodged.
“What appears to be at play here is that somebody in Cork has decided there may be an opportunity to lever additional pay for renewals work so it’s not so much that they are objecting to working on renewals work, they’re saying that they want additional pay,” he said.