Q Radio News/PA
Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister said she is “deeply concerned” after a burning car was left on a railway track near Bellarena.
Translink confirmed the incident occurred around 9pm on Monday and involved the 1910 train from Belfast to Derry-Londonderry.
Nichola Mallon has been speaking to Q Radio News:
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.
“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.”
A car's been set on fire and abandoned on the railway line in the Magilligan area near Bellarena. @NIFRSOFFICIAL says it was "deliberate." MLA Cara Hunter says a train was heading towards the burning vehicle but the train driver managed to stop “in the nick of time.” pic.twitter.com/CeDZt2sfNx— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) April 12, 2021
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.
“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.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
Mr Conway said Translink would be working with the PSNI to investigate the incident, adding: “We utterly condemn this attack which had the potential for very serious consequences.”
Chief Inspector MclIdowney described the incident as “reckless endangerment to life” and praised the “heroics of our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service”.
“Our investigation is currently underway to establish the circumstances into this incident.
We are appealing for any witnesses to contact police on quoting serial number 1945 of the 12/04/21.”
“The railway line currently remains closed at this time.”