The collapse of a railway viaduct on one of Ireland’s busiest lines has been blamed on erosion of the sea bed.
Initial tests indicate recent low tides and heavy rains combined to create a near-disaster on the Malahide estuary crossing on the main Dublin to Belfast track.
Moments after rush-hour commuter services carrying hundreds of passengers passed over the bridge, it fell into the sea.
According to Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail), a preliminary examination showed a small breach had occurred in the seabed which changed the pressure and flow of the water around the viaduct piers.
“Recent low tides, coupled with major rainfall would have seen the volume and speed of water flowing out of the estuary increase, causing water pressures to increase, with ultimately the forces of water pressure widening the breach quickly,” said a Iarnrod Eireann spokesman.
“The effect on the causeway plateau and sea-bed would ultimately result in the sudden and catastrophic undermining of the pier supports from below water level, resulting in the collapse of the pier.”