2010 Rail Timetable Leads To Anger Among Commuters
November 29th 2009
Once again the failure of Irish Rail to engage in any form of public consultation has left a large number of rail passengers dismayed at the combination of fewer and in many cases slower services in the 2010 rail timetable. While Irish Rail are quick to celebrate the early morning Westport Dublin service, no mention is given of the reduction in peak hour DART services or the longer journey times between Drogheda/Dublin and Dublin/Cork.
Reductions in the number of direct trains Dublin/Limerick results in slower journeys on Dublin Cork services, some of the journey times quoted appear incredibly optimistic considering the 24 temporary speed restrictions which exist between Dublin and Cork as result of Irish Rail failure to maintain the track to a suitable standard. Rail Users Ireland has in recent weeks been inundated with emails from Northern line passengers complaining of slower journeys and more stops at a time when passengers have discovered that the bus is both faster and cheaper!
Those passengers who have remained loyal to the train are being punished for Irish Rail managements failure to deliver the efficiencies and journey time reductions envisaged in the investment program, punctuality is poor, service frequency patchy. This coupled with Irish Rail's inability to collect fares from passengers due to unstaffed stations has resulted in a massive fall in revenue as passengers seek cheaper and faster alternatives. While it is easy blame the recession passenger numbers are broadly in line with the targets in the investment program.
The introduction of a proper clockface timetable on the DART service is a welcome development, but merely restores the DART plans of 1984. Looking deeper, the 12 southbound DART services departing Tara Street between 5pm and 7pm have been reduced to 8. Rail Users Ireland raises grave doubts as to Irish Rail's ability to operate a 30 minute frequency service to Greystones, noting DART punctuality has suffered since the opening on the extension to Greystones 10 years ago.
Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland said "As is typical, Irish Rail manage to take positive steps such as the early morning services from Galway, Westport, Waterford and Longford to Dublin, but then make a total mess of the peak hour DART service, Drogheda Dublin and direct Dublin Limerick services. It is as if Irish Rail want to fail, numerous obvious problems remain, the resolution of which would lead to reduced journey times, better connections, providing overall a more attractive service resulting in more people on the train"
The principle failings within the timetable
- Ridiculous 62 minute journey from Nenagh to Limerick, which used to take only 40-45 minutes in the 1970's
- Failure to provide Sunday services between Limerick Junction and Rosslare thus ignoring the bulk of available business
- To travel from Cork to Galway will require a change at both Limerick Junction and Limerick, instead of just Limerick Junction.
- To travel from Rosslare to Galway will require a ridiculous 4 changes, when no change at all is possible if timetabled correctly.
- Up to a 33% reduction in peak frequency on DART
- Failure to deliver later trains from Dublin, last train south of Greystones is now 18:30 (was 18:35), west of Maynooth 19:05, west of Portarlington 19:15
- The continued use of commuter trains on the busy 17:00 and 19:00 Sligo Dublin services on Sundays while intercity trains are idle
- Possible to travel between Wexford and Waterford in one direction only
- Failure to address the continued delays to evening Sligo line services
- Poor connections for passengers traveling from Cork to Killarney and Tralee
The current farcical and unaccountable situation where Irish Rail is handed a cheque and they decide what trains they run must end. Rail Users Ireland calls for the immediate introduction of a line by line minimum service specification determined independently as a condition of the subsidy Iarnrod Eireann receives in order to secure the service the public needs not the service Irish Rail find most convenient.
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