Burning car left on Northern Ireland rail track forces train to stop

13 April 2021, 01:01 | Updated: 13 April 2021, 05:18

Emergency services attended the scene
Emergency services attended the scene. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

A burning car left on a railway track in Northern Ireland forced a train to stop, following days of riots and disorder.

The country's infrastructure minister said she was "deeply concerned" after the vehicle was left on the track near Bellarena, in the north.

It took place at about 9pm on Monday and involved the 7.10pm from Belfast to Derry.

Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway said: "The train driver reacted quickly and thankfully brought the train to a stop safely, short of where the car was burning.

"The train crew ensured all safety procedures were followed with the incident swiftly reported and emergency services attended the scene.

Read more: Northern Ireland violence: Why has it broken out and what is being done?

"The train returned to Coleraine Station, where six passengers got off safely for onward connections by road. It is very fortunate that no-one has been injured in this incident.

"The line will remain closed until further notice with bus substitutions operating tomorrow morning between Derry-Londonderry and Coleraine."

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon condemned the incident, which she said left her "deeply concerned and troubled".

"I am so relieved to hear that passengers and crew are all safe," Ms Mallon said.

Read more: 88 police officers injured during Northern Ireland riots

"It is unimaginable to think what could have happened this evening had it not been for the prompt action of the driver and crew.

"I want to express my gratitude to them and to the emergency services. I would urge anyone with any information about this incident to contact the PSNI."

It follows days of unrest and tension in some unionist and republican communities, where a combination of anger about a funeral for an IRA leader, the Brexit deal and accusations of paramilitary orchestration have seen violence spill out in parts of Northern Ireland.

Scores of police have been injured in the disorder.