Hundreds of rail passengers on one of Ireland's main line services had a miraculous escape yesterday when their train derailed after torrential downpours caused a landslide.
Stones smashed into windows of the front passenger carriage of the Dublin to Cork service as the engine carriage careered off the track, eyewitnesses said. Travellers were shaken up, but no one was injured during the incident, which took place a quarter of a mile south of Portarlington station in Co Laois. The driver, however, had to be treated for shock.
Around 300 people were on board the train when it struck rocks and mud that had poured on to the track during the landslide.
Adrian Lydon, a news reporter for the state broadcaster RTE, was in the front carriage when the locomotive derailed. He said: "As the engine carriage came off the track, it started spraying thousands of stones on to our carriage, hitting the windows. One was shattered as a stone came through it. Everyone was falling all over the place."
Passengers were stranded on the train for hours after the incident.