Cross Border Rail Service Reductions Condemned.
September 6th 2009
As predicted by Rail Users Ireland, serious difficulties have emerged on cross-border Enterprise services following the collapse of the Malahide viaduct. Delays of 30 minutes to an hour are now routine, on top of the extra 30 minutes caused by the bus transfer between Connolly and Drogheda.
Unfortunately, the response from Irish Rail management has been to push for a reduction in service frequency, despite opposition from the Northern Irish authorities. The underlying cause of the delays and disruption to Enterprise customers is Irish Rail's steadfast refusal to make available a third set of coaches for the service. While the Enterprise set parked in Dublin is obviously unavailable, 2 sets of intercity coaches lie idle in Dundalk and a third set is available in Belfast.
Rail Users Ireland understands that Irish Rail is required, through the agreements which exist with Northern Ireland Railways, to provide one train set each day for cross-border services. Since the collapse of the Malahide viaduct Irish Rail has failed to meet this requirement. The need for a third cross-border set of coaches was put to Irish Rail management by Rail Users Ireland as early as Sunday 23rd August.
From 6th September there will be six cross border services each way per day, a reduction of 25%. Mark Gleeson, spokesperson for Rail Users Ireland, said "This is a classic example of how the Irish railway network is run for the convenience of Irish Rail and not that of the public. Instead of addressing the problem and helping customers, Irish Rail has chosen the easy way out."
"Rail Users Ireland has also received numerous complaints, particularly from the residents of Balbriggan and Laytown, concerning the paucity of the service after 7pm", he added. "This is leading to severe inconvenience for the many who do not work a 9 to 5 day, and will particularly affect third-level students returning to college in the coming weeks. With weekend services remaining extremely patchy, rail services being suspended without reason between Skerries and Donabate, and no alternative transport offered to Donabate outside peak hours, we call on Irish Rail to take urgent action to improve the service."