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Malahide Viaduct Collapse

Reopening on November 16th

The Malahide Viaduct is due to reopen on November 16th. Full normal service was per the 2009 published timetable will be restored without exception. The temporary bus services will be withdrawn or cut back from Monday. Rail only tickets will no longer be valid on the remaining bus services.

Details of bus arrangements:

  • Drogheda - Dublin Withdrawn
  • Balbriggan - Dublin Withdrawn
  • Skerries - Dublin Reduced service from Nov 16th
  • Donabate - Dublin Reduced service from Nov 16th
  • Donabate - Malahide Withdrawn

Details of the revised bus times are available from Dublin Bus here. Further reductions likely from November 23rd.

Dynamic and static testing of the bridge took place on November 12th, consisting of the trapped Enterprise set departing for Belfast, followed by a fully laden Tara Mines train. This train was split in half such that each side of the viaduct could be stress tested. Total weight on the viaduct was approximately 1,050 tons. If the outcome of these tests are acceptable to the Railway Safety Commission a certificate to carry passengers will be issued to allow normal service to resume.

Emergency Timetable Till November 16th

Visit this page http://www.irishrail.ie/news_centre/travel_alerts.asp?action=view&news_id=501. Be warned its contents are updated regularly so check before travel.

The extra bus services will operate via the Port Tunnel. Details of regular Dublin Bus services for the area may be found here. Revised bus arrangements apply from August 31st here. Bus Eireann's response may be found here.

There are now dedicated bus services from Balbriggan, Skerries, Rush (morning only) and Donabate to/from the city. Off peak service extremely limited to Skerries only. Off peak passengers holding annual tickets may travel on the Bus Eireann 101 service to/from Balbriggan.

The revised timetable is available here

Extra services Malahide - Pearse (* Connolly), calling Portmarnock, Howth Junction, Connolly, Tara Street and Pearse
7:30, 7:57*, 8:37, 9:10*, 10:10, 11:05, 12:33, 14:11, 14:45 & 16:33.

Pearse (* Connolly) - Malahide, calling Tara Street, Connolly, Howth Junction, Portmarnock and Malahide
9:40, 10:35, 12:00, 13:15, 15:20, 15:42, 16:16, 17:13 & 17:50.

These are 4 coach services so stand towards the front end of the platform!

A new timetable has been introduced between Drogheda - Belfast, this will see fewer trains. Check before travel Note for passengers travelling cross border after 8pm, Ulsterbus/Bus Eireann will honor rail tickets on the 20:00 and 21:00 departures from Belfast Europa and Dublin Busaras.

Rail Users Ireland's request for services to be extended to Donabate and to increase the frequency has been accepted and significantly improved services will operate as of Thursday, check the journey planner on the Irish Rail website or download the timetable here.

Keep an eye on our twitter feed at http://twitter.com/RailUsersIe or Our live travel page

I give up I'm driving

Irish Rail has confirmed to us that a refund procedure is being prepared for anyone who no longer wishes to travel by rail as a result of this accident.

If your ticket was issued through the taxsaver scheme, contact the department (typically HR or payroll) or member of staff within your company who is in charge of the scheme. They have this morning received details of the refund procedure. You will be entitled to the remaining value, so if you have 3 months left, 25% of the face value.

Full refund details online. A slightly better quailty copy of the refund form is available here


The Railway Accident Investigation Unit investigates incidents and accidents. Its aim is not to apportion blame but to make safety recommendations as to prevent future accidents.

More details here

I saw something while travelling over the viaduct in the days before, and I want to tell the authorities? If you did, call the Railway Safety Commission details they will be able to put you in touch with the Rail Accident Investigation Unit.

The initial accident report may be found online here.

Safety Advice for Passengers

The railway safety commission have produced a guide for passengers, Rail Users Ireland provided two rounds of comprehensive feedback and comments on the drafts of the passenger safety guide during the initial closed consultation, having being contacted by the Railway Safety Commission. The vast majority of our comments have been incorporated in the final version.

We recommend that all passengers take a few moments to read through the guide. Although accidents are rare, prompt and correct action may make the difference and prevent an accident.

You can access the passenger guide from the Railway Safety Commission's website here. Other guides, including one for level crossing users are available from the Railway Safety Commission's website www.rsc.ie

Trains traveling over Viaduct

Service  From To IDTypeTime Passing ViaductNotes
16:10 Belfast ConnollyA131Enterprise18:04
17:48 Drogheda ConnollyP710Empty 8 coach 29k18:13
17:50 Pearse DundalkD8188 coach 29k commuter train 18:21
18:07 Balbriggan Connolly P7114 coach 29k commuter train 18:24Driver Observed Collapse
18:05 Pearse Drogheda D8218 coach 2600 commuter train18:35*Terminated Howth Junc
18:05 Drogheda PearseP6188 coach 29k commuter train 18:40*Cancelled mid journey

*Time train scheduled to cross, the viaduct was closed sometime between 18:25 and 18:30 in response to the radio call from the driver of the 18:07 train.

When did the last bridge collapse

During the floods of 1954 the bridge over the Tolka river collapsed.


All lines are walked three times a week, a track inspection car passes over regularly.

All bridges are subject to a major inspection every 2 years and other regular inspections. The last major inspection was in 2007 with the next scheduled for October 2009.

Last inspection of viaduct was Tuesday August 18th 2009 in response to call from a member of Malahide Sea Scouts who observed a significant change in the water flow under the viaduct. Last below water level inspection was in 2006 with next scheduled for 2012. The Irish Rail track inspection car EM50 passed the viaduct on Thursday August 20th 2009. All recent inspections reported no problems.

How old is the Malahide Viaduct

The viaduct was built in the 1840's originally in wood, this was replaced with an iron deck on stone piers in the 1860's which was replaced in 1967 with the current concrete deck. The support piers have been strengthened on several occasions.

The Last Train

The 18:07 Balbriggan Connolly train was the last train to pass over the viaduct. The driver observed the track begin to collapse and coasted to clear the viaduct where he made an unscheduled stop in Malahide and made a call by radio telephone to the control centre in Connolly station, all signals in Malahide where set to red by the signaller.

The driver also applied the track circuit bar to the northbound track, this bar tricks the signalling system into thinking a train is present and thus sets the signals to red to prevent a train passing. This is standard safety procedure. The trains black box will be downloaded as part of the investigation, the train set in question has returned to service.

Last Updated: November 12 2009 23:10:38
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