Cork - Dublin Heuston
04 April 2010
So my last journey of the day (excepting a dander around Dublin and a packed DART from Tara Street to Lansdowne Road)...
First impression of Cork station: good. Further impressions: good. Several ticket machines, coffee shop and Everything a mainline station should be: bright and airy, and a big steam engine!
I had a while to have a wander around the station, it's a lovely redbrick affair with some "retro" features...
My carriage awaits...
It was the train that I had just arrived on from Limerick Junction. On the return journey, I decided to try First Class, the ticket office told me just to pay the supplement on the train.
The tickets were checked at the barrier in Cork, resulting in quite a queue, and I was directed to one of the Standard Class coaches. I explained that I wanted to pay for first class and was then directed to the front of the train.
I think IE, like UK rail companies, missed a trick here, by not mentioning the upgrade at any time during the call for boarding or any publicity at the station. The First Class carriage was virtually empty, but worse was to come...!
So I settled in to my seat, pleased that there were power sockets, and surprised to find audio channels (although only one channel worked).
I liked the aqua theme on the train, it felt very relaxing.
Very soon we were on our way, and I spent far too long trying to take artistic photographs... ;-)
Some train announcements followed: don't sit in seats with reservations attached, a list of stops and then one to say that the buffet/shop was open. There was no trolley service which was a shame but I made my way to the buffet area and ordered a cheeseburger and a beer, the burger was quite tastey given it was a microwave job and was served with plentiful condiments. The server was alright, not especially friendly. I don't expect conversation but maybe a smile would be nice?
I settled back in my seat for the rest of the journey, waiting for the ticket inspection and the chance to pay the upgrade supplement.
Which never occurred. No one visited the first class carriage, and even when I disembarked at Heuston, there were no staff to be seen.
I had paid €100.00 for my three days of DART and InterCity rail services. Excellent value, but IE didn't want my extra €20.00
I enjoyed my experiences, something I want to repeat on different lines again, I felt that with IE, there was something lacking. I am not sure if staff morale is good or not, but the whole experience felt very functional, none of the IE staff I encountered smiled, a bit like Ryanair in that regard.
But that wouldn't put me off using them again - every train I was on was on time, give or take a minute, I think the customer service could be better. (Still a lot better than I encountered on Irish Ferries, who didn't seem to have an Irish member of staff amongst them!).
The next day I went to Dublin Airport the long way: DART to Malahide and bus from there to the airport. Malahide station is very pretty.
Finally, a quick comparison to show that it isn't all bad on IE.
Cramped, isn't it? And it smells of loo. And the seat reservation displays rarely work. This is the First Class compartment on a Virgin Train. Virgin operate on the West Coast Mainline with these new trains.
PS: This is Irish Rail's "dodgy" leaflet image promoting the Trekker ticket. I am sure they could do better than this!