Imminent withdrawal of Rosslare Waterford rail services
March 14th 2010
Many millions of investment have already been made in the line and further investment has been committed under the Rail Safety program which will result in the automation of the signaling on all routes and the closure, upgrade or automation of level crossings resulting in significantly reduced operating costs and reduced journey times. That investment has now been wasted. Mark Gleeson for Rail Users Ireland said "The planned closure represented the failure of Irish Rail to provide a service at times to meet the public need."
As is all too frequently the case the root of the problem is Irish Rail's steadfast refusal to communicate with the public in a timely and professional manner. A complete failure to advertise the service and to provide information to passengers so much so that many stations between Rosslare and Limerick Junction are in breach of the basic and mandatory information requirements as laid down in EU regulations (EC 1371/2007) a regulation Irish Rail continues to avoid implementing.
With the imminent opening of the line between Ennis and Athenry it should be possible to travel from Galway to Rosslare as a single through journey with no changes. Instead Irish Rail will force passengers to change at Limerick, Limerick Junction and Waterford, despite the exact same type of train being used for each leg. A service from Rosslare to Galway would link with the radial Intercity network at several points allowing for a range of journey opportunities providing excellent connections not only in the local area but also to Dublin and Cork.
While the existing Rosslare Waterford timetable serves a specific and loyal group of passengers, it is only a single train each way, a realistic timetable needs to provide a train every two hours. Even its current sub standard state the direct routing of the line via the Barrow Bridge offers an unbeatable journey time from south Wexford to Waterford a fact Irish Rail has made no effort to exploit or advertise.
Irish Rail has failed from a business and marketing perspective to leverage the continued success of the Munster and Irish Rugby teams and their frequent visits to Cardiff by providing special services from Limerick to Rosslare Port. Irish Rail has the ability to sell tickets from any station in Ireland to any in the UK via Stena Line and Irish Ferries.
Irish Rail has failed to provide a Sunday service noting a large portion of Irish Rail's repeat intercity business is people traveling home for the weekend, particularly students. This is of particular concern between Galway and Rosslare given the numerous third level institutions along the route in Galway, Limerick, Clonmel and Waterford.
It is unfair to shut-down a service if no realistic effort is made to make it work. Irish Rail have made no effort to notify the public or enter into a consultation phase with any interested party about the future of the line. Rail Users Ireland understands that decision has been made behind closed doors with the backing of the Department of Transport. The National Transport Agency should use its powers to either enforce new timetable, run the service itself or to hire a competent third party to run the service and in doing so provide a realistic timetable to meet the needs of the public which undoubtedly will increase passenger numbers.
Rail Users Ireland calls for:
- A train every 2 hours between Galway and Rosslare
- Introduction of a limited Sunday service
- Introduction of single ticket fares on the route at 60% the price of a return
- A large scale local marketing effort
- Full implementation of the mandatory portions of EU regulation EC1371/2007