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Fares Up, Passengers Standing, 100 million euro worth of new trains lying idle

January 3rd 2012

Rail Users Ireland can reveal that a delivery of 51 new intercity coaches lie idle dumped in Heuston station Dublin and Portlaoise, despite continued overcrowding on trains and use of commuter trains on 3 hour intercity journeys. The first 12 coaches were delivered in May 2011 and should have entered service in good time for Christmas 2011.

While Irish Rail claims that testing is continuing and that there is no delay, this is completely contradicted by a statement made by a senior Irish Rail project manager:

"Hyundai Rotem and Iarnród Éireann have dedicated teams in place for the commissioning and testing of each train which now takes approximately 12 weeks from arrival in the port to entering passenger service." [1]

Which raises the question "Why, 31 weeks later, are none of these trains in service, when they are so desperately needed?"

Mark Gleeson, spokesperson Rail Users Ireland said, "This unacceptable delay in entering service has left many passengers standing or travelling on trains unsuited to three- and four-hour journeys"

Examples of services effected:

  • Passengers travelling to and from Sligo and Rosslare are regularly forced to spend up to 3 hours on uncomfortable commuter trains ill-suited to such long journeys.
  • Westport - Dublin services are frequently only 3 coaches in length when in the past they were 8 coaches, with resultant overcrowding on a near 4 hour journey to Dublin.
  • 18:05 Heuston - Portlaoise is frequently only 3 coaches despite being amongst the busiest commuter services from Dublin Heuston.
  • On Monday mornings a Waterford - Dublin service is mysteriously downgraded to 3 coaches from 6.

All the evidence points to a failure on Irish Rail to manage the delivery and commissioning process to ensure the trains enter service promptly. Despite Irish Rails supposedly thorough testing process the on-board power sockets frequently don't work and the electronic reservation displays have never worked reliably on this fleet of trains.

It is an absolute disgrace to enforce a sweeping range of fare increases while passengers continue to travel in sub-standard conditions. Making matters worse a further round of increases targeting intercity single and return fares is expected shortly.

[1] http://www.irrs.ie/Journal%20170/170%2022000%20Class.htm

Last Updated: January 03 2012 11:34:47
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