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Irish Rail CEO issues apology as full probe ordered into Bray Dart 'chaos'

Thousands had descended on Bray for the annual air show.


Updated Jul 25th 2022, 1:48 PM

IRISH RAIL HAS this afternoon apologised for what it described as “chaos” at Bray Dart Station over the weekend. 

Thousands of people had travelled to the Wicklow town for the Bray Air Display, which took place for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the day was marred by transport chaos which Irish Rail said was brought about by people manually opening the doors of the Dart and walking on the tracks. 

Many people present inside the trains said that the heat was becoming unbearable and that the doors were opened to allow better airflow onto the carriages. 

One person tweeted: “Stuck on a sweltering packed DART service to Bray for well over an hour. People fainted. Adults and kids had panic attacks and several of us tried to calm panicked passengers down. Some were so overwhelmed they prised the doors open and walked on the tracks.”

A statement released by Irish Rail chief executive, Jim Meade, said: “At the outset, I wish to apologise to customers who were delayed, disrupted or distressed as they sought to travel to yesterday’s Bray Air Show.

“The Air Show is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year on Dart, and in planning with organisers, we arranged for additional Darts to operate.  Ultimately, nine extra Darts operated from the city centre to Bray on Sunday between late morning and early afternoon.”

Meade said that as the last of these additional Darts, it stopped outside the station, waiting for a platform to become clear ahead.  

“Unfortunately, doors were forced open on one of the carriages after it had been stopped for approximately six minutes, and a number of people descended onto the track to walk towards the station. Immediately, trains had to be halted in both directions due to the presence of people on the track.” 

Meade said that a second train was stopped further back towards Shankill, and after approximately 20 minutes, “customers also out of concern for the delay and heat on board began to leave the train”. 

What should have been an enjoyable family day out ended for many in delay, upset and distress, including those who felt they had no option but to disembark from trains.  We are sorry for this.

Speaking to Joe Duffy on Liveline, Jason Byrne said he and his family decided to go to the Bray Air Show, like thousands of others. 

However, Jason explained that the heat became so much that the driver of the train started to allow people into his cabin for a bit of fresh air.

“We were in between Shankill and Bray and the train stopped. So, we waited 30 minutes or so and the driver gets on to say he doesn’t know what’s happening. He was apologetic and people started to get angry as you would.

“I checked on my phone and it was 23 degrees outside. It was definitely warmer inside – I’d say around 30. There were windows open but these windows were partially open and the aircon was non-existent. It wasn’t there.

We felt the need for our safety of our children to get off. There was one child that was six-years-old. He’s having a panic attack in the corner. There’s people dropping likes flies around the place with heat exhaustion.

Talking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning. spokesman for Irish Rail, Barry Kenny, said that the actions of some people who “had genuine concerns” for their well-being led to significant disruption on the line. 

“This is one of the busiest and traditionally best days on the Dart and it became chaotic and very upsetting for a lot of people and certainly I think we’ve ruined the day out for a lot of people and we understand that.”

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