Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Accident to C.I.E. Diesel Locomotive.

15.

asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he has received a report of an accident in February last to an American diesel locomotive operated by C.I.E.; if so, if he has established from his inspector the consequences of the future use of these locomotives; whether representations have been made in respect of the safety of the locomotives by any of the trade unions whose members are involved in their use; and whether in the interests of public safety the locomotives will in future operate only in reverse during their use in the public service.

I presume the Deputy is referring to an incident which occurred on the 20th February, 1961, when one of the new American locomotives undergoing acceptance tests was involved, during a trial run, in a collision with a platelayer's bogie. The locomotive was not damaged, no injuries to persons were caused and no train delays resulted.

The Railway Inspecting Officer has reported to me that a survey is being made by C.I.E. of the extent to which signals and other line-side signs are visible on all parts of the system when these locomotives are operated with the cab at the rear. Pending the outcome of that survey, these locomotives, when in public service, are operated cab forward, which allows the driver an unobstructed view in all directions.

I understand that one of the trade unions concerned made representations to C.I.E. on 16th February, 1961, concerning the extent of the view of the driver when the locomotives are being driven in the leading position.

Could I ask the Minister if it is a fact that the specification laid down for the purchase of these locomotives held that they should be capable of being driven in both directions?

They are capable of being driven in both directions.

Could I ask the Minister whether in fact they are at present in the public service being driven in both directions?

Not pending these experiments.

Could I ask the Minister whether it is proposed to have investigation carried out into this gross policy blunder by the management of C.I.E. that they purchased these engines which are now being used only in reverse on our major transport service?

That matter could be left to C.I.E. and I understand that there has been no policy blunder.

Of course there has been. Everything is backwards in this country.

Except the West Cork line.