New Rail Timetable A Disappointment
September 26th 2011
Once again passengers have been let down by Irish Rail's never ending failure to deliver a service which meets the needs of the public. Journey times remain stubbornly high and nowhere near the Celtic Tiger era promises, despite the colossal investments made. While passenger numbers increased in 2010 compared to 2009, the 2011 Connolly timetable has fewer trains than the timetable it replaces.
Instead of focusing on inefficiencies within its operations, Irish Rail has again chosen to punish the long suffering passenger.
The timetable continues to make living in the 21st century difficult, not everyone has the convenience of a 9 to 5, 5 day a week job. Many commuter stations have no service after 7pm and poor service at lunchtime. it is impossible to reach Dublin city from any commuter rail station before 9am on a Sunday or Bank Holidays, when many people still work or have other reasons to travel. Peak hour DART frequency remains significantly below that offered 5, 10 even 15 years agoIn fact the frequency is no better than Victorian era at times especially on Sundays.
It must be noted Irish Rail receives a subsidy, which exists with the purpose to operate services which otherwise would not be profitable to meet the social and economic needs of the state
There are only three significant improvements to note
- Extension of the 16:30 Dublin - Wexford service to Rosslare Harbour, restoring the connection with evening ferry services to the UK.
- The 23:20 Connolly - Dundalk will now leave later at 23:30 from Pearse providing a massively improved late night travel option. This change has been sought for decades by long suffering northern line commuters.
- An extra early morning train from Drogheda on Sunday and bank holidays, which sadly fails to reach Dublin in time for a 9am start.
The reality is these changes are services which should have been provided a long time ago and again highlight the disconnection between Irish Rail and passenger needs
However long standing issues are again left unresolved:
- The use of commuter trains on the busy 17:00 and 19:00 Sligo - Dublin services on Sundays while intercity trains are idle, no seat reservations, no bikes and no discounted fares as a result. Other Sligo line trains on weekdays also suffer from this issue.
- It is not possible to reach Belfast from Dublin before 9am, nor is it possible from Belfast to arrive Dublin before 9am.
- Last train west of Maynooth remains at 19:05, south of Greystones 18:36 leaving numerous commuter towns without an evening rail service.
- Last train to Maynooth is still 20:45 on a Sunday.
- Gaps of up to 30 minutes between DART services on Saturday afternoons and weekday evenings.
- No effort has been made to provide a clock-face timetable on Dublin Dundalk/Drogheda services which results in an impossible to remember timetable.
Mark Gleeson spokesperson Rail Users Ireland, said "The changes in the timetable are merely window dressing and ignores the fact that what passengers want is fast frequent services operating to a clock-face timetable all day. Irish Rail claims it has plans for 4 trains per hour to Maynooth yet in this timetable has reduced the number trains for Maynooth."
It is possible to purchase from main stations a ticket, single or return, from any Irish Rail station to any rail station in the UK, via Rosslare or Dublin Port, through the SailRail scheme. Rail Users Ireland and its UK colleagues Rail Future, are in discussions with Arriva Trains Wales to restore UK to Irish through ticketing via Rosslare as a result of the changes in this year’s timetable.