So it's been an eventful start to the new year for rail users, hasn't it? Nice new train for Sligo, but in an underhand move Irish Rail tried to run an empty train to Maynooth which could have been used by students there and then, when forced into a u-turn by the Students and staff at the NUI, and us of course, they put up a notice on their website that suggested the service had always run. You couldn't make this up.
So we also had Barry Kenny on Newstalk talking to Eamonn Keane about an Act of God which resulted in trains on the northern line being cancelled on Friday the 11th January, even though trains would have shuttled on a good portion of the line. Now, maybe Eamonn Keane has a high regard for the maintenance men in charge of these things but on my planet when a wheel comes off a freight wagon and results in such major damage as this I cant help but thinking at divine intervention isn't the first port of call.
First port of call, in reality, is that someone should get the sack. This will not happen, of course, but here is something that maybe the government should look at. Although IE is not a privatised company it could be treated as one - with performance targets the breach of which will result in a large fine. Given the threat of such a sanction maybe there would be a proper incentive to properly maintain the rolling stock.
It might also be a proper incentive to ensure that there are no more lightning strikes such as those in Cork this month. Sure, it lasted only a few hours and maybe discommoded only a couple of thousand people but a per head of passenger fine would go a long way to ensure that the management in the company would go that extra mile, and while they're at it, maybe they could look into holding Trades Unions vicariously liable for unofficial disputes by more than one person. Maybe then you can get up for work with some confidence that you will have a train to catch.