Over the years railways in Ireland have been slow, uncomfortable, late and perhaps prone to any other failure you could imagine. But and this is a very definite but, the one aspect of Irish Railways that you could depend on for some semblance of quality and customer satisfaction, was its catering. Whether it was the breakfast, Lunch or Dinner menu on selected services, you were the recipient of food that was freshly cooked on board the train and served up in a manner that was comparitive to any restaurant. Was it reasonably priced? Well it was when you factored in the quality and location. It certainly wasn't "greasy spoon" prices, but then it wasn't "Ritz" prices either. The quality of sandwich on Irish Rail was always far superior to the much maligned British Rail equivalent. They had speed, we had a decent sambo! In general the Irish Rail catering service tended to make amends for the slow journey times, poor trains and rude staff.
So it's funny that in an age of investment in trains and Irish Railways in general, that the operating company, Irish Rail, have decided to out source the catering service. We may be getting new trains and efforts are being made to run them on time and with some degree of customer service, but this is coming at a price. Not just in terms of poorer catering facilities, but poorer catering facilities that act like Dick Turpin. Yes that's right, Dick Turpin is alive and well on Irish trains. However he now dresses in a smart (sometimes) uniform and you go to him to be robbed. Oh and he has a different name. He's now called, RAIL GOURMET. You have to laugh really. Irish Rail out sourced it's catering to a private company that attempts to rob you blind and then use the word "Gourmet" in it's name. Well let us tell you right now. They know as much about the word "Gourmet" as a rabbit knows about rocket science. At least the rabbit can claim ignorance through nature.
RAIL GOURMET have upped prices and dropped quality right across the inter city network. They don't care. They think they have a captive market. They rode out the initial storm months ago. But they didn't reckon on us, Rail Users Ireland. We will maintain a constant watch on these thieves as they go about their business. Let's start with the most obvious type of theiving that they introduced. Below is a brief cost comparison. One price is the original Irish Rail run catering price. (NETWORK CATERING) The other is the RAIL GOURMET price. The changes happened overnight without any warning or consultation with rail passengers.
|Network Catering||Rail Gourmet||Shop|
|Average Chocolate Bar||1.00||1.75||80c|
* Galway Hooker Heuston Station.
That's just a sample. Tea and Coffee went up in price as well. Everything went up in price. That's a fact! And to make matters worse, the opening times of the buffet car went down. This may be an inconvenience, but we urge you to think again. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise because these guys have less time to rob you. There are also reports of the trolley service not reaching certain carriages. Bad service alright, but considering the Dick Turpin act that RAIL GOURMET are performing, we reckon it's a good thing. So what do we advise? Well we say it plain and simple.
Bring your own food and drink on the train. Boycott RAIL GOURMET on every train they operate on. Under no circumstances should you let them rob you blind.
And one last thing, watch out for Rail Users Ireland people handing out free refreshments on your train. Why? Because we want to make the point that RAIL GOURMET should be kicked off Irish trains. They are nothing but the great train robbers under a different name.