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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Aakanksha Surve & Emma Nevin & Clare McCarthy

Toddlers 'had to be stripped down to nappies' in sweltering conditions on the DART to Bray Air Show

A father travelling with two toddlers on a DART to Bray on Sunday has described how he had to strip the young kids down to their nappies as they were overheating on the train.

Hundreds of passengers going to the Bray Air Show in Wicklow were crammed onto trains that had stopped near Bray station.

Commuters reported being unable to breathe due to overcrowding and sweltering temperatures in the carriages and said they were not given enough information on how long the delays would be.

READ MORE: Soldier on board horror '50C' Bray DART 'broke open doors to protect passengers'

People, desperate for fresh air, forced open the DART doors and jumped onto the tracks which resulted in other trains being stopped.

Irish Rail have since apologised to "customers who were delayed, disrupted or distressed" as they travelled to the Bray Air Show.

Jason Byrne was travelling to the Bray Air Display with his three children, one aged six and two 18-month-old toddlers.

He told Dublin Live that he was expecting it to be "busy but manageable" and let six DARTS go by before he and his family made it on-board, which was the second train that ended up being stalled as they approached Bray.

He said: "I was on the second train, stuck in between Bray and Shankill. For the first five minutes everyone thought it was just a delay so people were okay about it. Thirty minutes in, the driver made an announcement that he didn't know what was going on. He apologised and said he'd get back to us.

"Conditions were crazy there. Our kids were stripped off to just their bare nappies because of the sweat. The six-year-old was stuck in a corner having a panic attack. Today, the six-year-old and one of the 18-month-olds have a temperature so they're not well after yesterday.

"After thirty minutes when the train driver said he didn't know what was going on, people started shouting and crying.

"The intercom wasn't working properly so the train driver opened the door and let people know. He brought babies, kids and elderly people up to his carriage to get fresh air.

"We felt very sorry for him, some people were giving out to him but it wasn't his fault obviously. He was being as helpful as he could."

After around an hour, Jason and his family decided to leave the train. He said a lot of people had already gone as some of the doors had been opened.

He said: "No parent in their right mind would want to get off a train and walk back to the nearest station but unfortunately we had to go for the safety of our children."

Jason added that he feels Irish Rail "have let us down to the point that we had to evacuate our children off a train by strangers passing down our babies".

He said the family walked for around 20 to 25 minutes before reaching Bray train station. "We had to stop a few times because the six-year-old felt like he was going to get sick and had to sit on the track. It was harder on him than anyone else because he knew what was going on," he said.

Irish Rail have said they will "fully investigate the incident" but Jason feels an independent investigation is necessary.

Today, Irish Rail Chief Executive Jim Meade said the company had arranged for nine extra DARTS to run from the city centre to Bray between late morning and early afternoon as the Air Show is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for the transport service.

He added: "As the last of these – the 13:45hrs Connolly to Bray, approached Bray Station, 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 6 minutes, and a number of people descended onto the track to walk towards the station."

He said: "Quite quickly, others – now concerned at the extending delay, and at the very warm conditions – also left the train, and this continued across a number of carriages. A second train – the 13:05hrs Howth to Greystones – 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."

He said that Irish Rail will be reviewing their operational plan including:

  • Demand before the event, and capacity available to customers. Notwithstanding the additional DARTs which operated, there was significant pressure on capacity reported.
  • Information available to customers on board and at stations
  • Response to the initial incident of detraining
  • Ventilation on board


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