Safety concerns after rocks fall onto road

editorial image

A local MLA has voiced safety fears for road and rail travellers after rocks fell onto the main road at Downhill near Castlerock on Friday.

SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat called on the Department of Infrastructure to carry out a comprehensive survey of the cliffs and said he was concerned about a repeat of the train derailment in the area in 2009.

“It is particularly important that these cliffs are surveyed on a regular basis to prevent a repeat of the derailment of the Derry to Belfast train in 2009 when a giant bolder bounced onto the roadway and then onto the track causing a serious incident where several passengers were injured,” he said.

“Following the derailment much work was done to identify other loose rocks and nets were attached to the cliff face.

“The current rock dislodgement happened a little bit further along and certainly endangered motorists who were travelling between Coleraine and Magilligan, many of them tourists.

“The Belfast-Derry railway is now one of the busiest routes on the rail network carrying more passengers than the Belfast-Derry Enterprise Service.

“I have been satisfied that in the past regular checks were made but this latest rock fall underlines the need to protect both road and rail travellers never mind the local population and holiday-makers living in apartments and chalets at the foot of the cliffs.”

Police have said the Seacoast Road between Downhill and Benone beaches is passable with care but is best avoided until the rocks are cleared.