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Unread 17-12-2013, 13:29   #101
AD11
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I got a later train than usual in this morning from Mullingar (8.45) and it was a 4 carriage Sligo service. Very busy and definitely people standing part of the way, but that was probably due to the Christmas shopping brigade rather than regualr users and so I wouldnt be too concerned.

But - I noticed a lot of reserved seats in the carriage I was in and a thought suddenly struck me - is it possible to reserve a seat using my annual ticket? Does anyone know?

If a randomer buying a one off ticket can reserve a seat surely it would make sense that us long suffering annual pay through the nose ticket holders can also avail of the 'perk' of booking a seat.
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Unread 17-12-2013, 14:10   #102
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The second up-train is likely to be very busy all week with Christmas shopping. There would definitely be an argument swapping the extra cars for the early train onto it for the week as the early train was very quiet yesterday morning.

You used to be able to reserve a seat for 3 euro each way plus booking fee but I don't know if this is still possible. This is the same as the add-on fee for a booking.

It's a waste of time booking a seat as if you leave it until the last minute, the chances are it will be occupied by some Anto who will knife you or some old dear who will guilt you into giving it up.

The shouldn't be allowed offer seat reservations without staff on the train to manage the boarding process.
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Unread 17-12-2013, 14:38   #103
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Weell I would say they shouldnt allow reserving of seats on any commuter based service at busy times of the year ie Christmas.

The casual train user with their shopping bags on seats has no regard for long suffering commuters.
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Unread 17-12-2013, 15:44   #104
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I don't think reservations should be stopped - the point of them is to be able to make sure you get a seat on a busy service. What's the point of reserving a seat on a quiet train?

But Irish Rail should have somebody managing boarding if they have reservations. Because reservations are relatively new to the Sligo line, a lot of people arriving early to get a seat, sit in the wrong place and then end up either having a fight or standing because somebody with a reservation turned up 5 minutes before departure.

Irish Rail should have to surrender the reservation fee if you don't get your booked seat and the entire ticket price if you have to stand. The current situation is that they refund the reservation fee only if you have to stand.
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Unread 17-12-2013, 17:38   #105
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But - I noticed a lot of reserved seats in the carriage I was in and a thought suddenly struck me - is it possible to reserve a seat using my annual ticket? Does anyone know?
You can, but there is a 5 charge. Go online to book the ticket as usual. Select your train, de-select the adult ticket and at "Your Ticket Details" select "Reserve Seat Only".

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Irish Rail should have to surrender the reservation fee if you don't get your booked seat and the entire ticket price if you have to stand. The current situation is that they refund the reservation fee only if you have to stand.
Don't they give a full refund if you have a reservation and have to stand?
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Unread 17-12-2013, 18:12   #106
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How do they know if you had to stand or not? Do you have to provide proof or can you just say someone was in my seat and I had to stand?
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Unread 17-12-2013, 19:01   #107
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I presume you would have to complain to a ticket collector if there was one but otherwise, they would have to take your word. Hardly worth the bother though.

I couldn't really see myself paying 5 euro (plus fee) to book a seat I must say. I can remember being able to get a first class upgrade for 3 each way back in the day and even then it was 50:50 if the ticket collector made it to you to collect the money by Edgeworthstown.
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Unread 09-01-2014, 19:15   #108
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On the 1805 for the first time in nearly a month having altered my schedule to avoid it and good God it is uncomfortable. There are a couple of people standing to Mullingar and every seat is occupied. So I get to spend 2 hours crammed into a seat with my leg jammed up against a scalding radiator.

So given that they have pretty much finished splitting the 22Ks, this is looking pretty permanent now. It's a real pain as there really is no good option for a down train in the evening. Hopefully the pilot combined point-to-point bus/rail tickets they are running to Mullingar will get extended as a bus would be a better option than this.

To cap it all, 29Ks seem to be made of some material that is impervious to a three mobile signal.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 08:39   #109
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My train commute has become a nightmare experience too. Either I am standing (on the way home) or being stared at by a hundred people who are all jealous of the ones sitting.

I heard someone comment the other day that Irish Rail were on the radio saying that they have received very few complaints about overcrowding so for them there is no issue? So it's really time for people to let their voices / emails / letters be heard isnt it!!
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Unread 10-01-2014, 09:55   #110
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Well that's bull***t as several of the commuters on my train have complained as have I. How do you know when Barry Kenny is lying?

The 1805 is particularly overcrowded per se, it is just too uncomfortable a place to be for two hours. My journey is 1:35 but you have to arrive 20 - 25 minutes early if you want a table for your laptop.

It is especially galling when you pass a 22K that's doing a Maynooth run. Yeah, I know there are links and stuff that need to be made up but there has to be a better way.
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Unread 10-01-2014, 10:44   #111
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I complained again by email this morning, all I've ever got back was the standard 'someone will look into it' email but no follow up after that. Same again today.

I've also put some comments up on twitter and facebook but no doubt they will be ignored.

Standard response on twitter to other complainants is that the trains are engineered to carry people standing so it's not a safety issue.

Time they learned humans are not designed for standing uncomfortably for long periods while being fleeced of thousands of euro per year.
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Unread 15-01-2014, 16:25   #112
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I got a reply to my complaint about the current Connolly Mullingar situation from a Mr. Paul Slowey basically telling me the train is fine and it's shortened due to to cost cutting measures. He went on to say that while observers are monitoring the situation it is going to be like this for the forseeable future.

Seriously, is that all they have been saying to anyone else who complains. Like it or lump it in other words.

I tried to respond again but the email address he 'sent' from CustomerCare@IrishRail.ie has fatal errors apparently and is not recognised by the IR email system. How deliberately convenient.
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Unread 15-01-2014, 17:11   #113
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That's who I normally get responding to my complaints - rather good name for the Sligo line customer complaints guy I think. I sent the same complaint about 6 weeks ago and got basically the same response. Nobody at Irish Rail will even see a problem because nobody senior ever tries to spend 20 hours a week on a 29K. I've also spoken to three other people who commute from Edgeworthstown who claim to have complained about the 1805. There are plenty of people who have transferred over to using the 1705/1905 on alternate days.

The situation was far better when I started commuting 10 years ago when there was a lovely quiet comfortable Mark 2 leaving Connolly at 1810 that used to get to Edgeworthstown at 1935. Now after new rails, new signals, new level crossings and new trains, it takes 9 minutes longer and is far less comfortable. After all the millions pumped into the system, we have loads more trains but now cannot get home in reasonable comfort on the first train that leaves after office hours.
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Unread 15-01-2014, 19:22   #114
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That's who I normally get responding to my complaints - rather good name for the Sligo line customer complaints guy I think. I sent the same complaint about 6 weeks ago and got basically the same response. Nobody at Irish Rail will even see a problem because nobody senior ever tries to spend 20 hours a week on a 29K. I've also spoken to three other people who commute from Edgeworthstown who claim to have complained about the 1805. There are plenty of people who have transferred over to using the 1705/1905 on alternate days.

The situation was far better when I started commuting 10 years ago when there was a lovely quiet comfortable Mark 2 leaving Connolly at 1810 that used to get to Edgeworthstown at 1935. Now after new rails, new signals, new level crossings and new trains, it takes 9 minutes longer and is far less comfortable. After all the millions pumped into the system, we have loads more trains but now cannot get home in reasonable comfort on the first train that leaves after office hours.
I'd just make the quick observation that anyone commuting from Dundalk to Dublin could spend exactly the same amount of time on 29k sets as anyone from Edgeworthstown, given that the Enterprise times don't really facilitate using that service, and only one of the four commuter trains out of Dundalk is 22k operated.

I've not read any complaints about the 29k per se from any of those passengers, so I have to say that I perceive your negative comments to represent a personal dislike of them, rather than one that is generally held.

Again as Mark has pointed out elsewhere, people need to be asking their TDs why they voted for the government subsidy to the CIE Group to be cut - that fundamentally is what is causing them to have to cut back on train sizes.

Last edited by berneyarms : 15-01-2014 at 19:25.
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Unread 15-01-2014, 19:25   #115
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My train commute has become a nightmare experience too. Either I am standing (on the way home) or being stared at by a hundred people who are all jealous of the ones sitting.

I heard someone comment the other day that Irish Rail were on the radio saying that they have received very few complaints about overcrowding so for them there is no issue? So it's really time for people to let their voices / emails / letters be heard isnt it!!
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I got a reply to my complaint about the current Connolly Mullingar situation from a Mr. Paul Slowey basically telling me the train is fine and it's shortened due to to cost cutting measures. He went on to say that while observers are monitoring the situation it is going to be like this for the forseeable future.

Seriously, is that all they have been saying to anyone else who complains. Like it or lump it in other words.

I tried to respond again but the email address he 'sent' from CustomerCare@IrishRail.ie has fatal errors apparently and is not recognised by the IR email system. How deliberately convenient.
How far are all these people standing? I hardly think that there are a hundred people standing beyond Maynooth?
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Unread 16-01-2014, 07:50   #116
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I'd just make the quick observation that anyone commuting from Dundalk to Dublin could spend exactly the same amount of time on 29k sets as anyone from Edgeworthstown, given that the Enterprise times don't really facilitate using that service, and only one of the four commuter trains out of Dundalk is 22k operated.
Dundalk is not the same journey time as Longford so that quick observation is not correct. The morning journey times vary from 1:17 to 1:28. The two Longford 29K services are 1:55 and 2:02. For Edgeworthstown, you can knock about 10 minutes off that. I usually spend nearly 2 hours on the 1805 as you have to be about 20 minutes early to be sure of a seat.

I've only taken this train once in the last month, but it wasn't particularly overcrowded the one time I took it. There were about 4 people standing to Mullingar in the car I was in. For me, the main problem is that the noise and small seats are not bearable for a two-hour train journey. It is also impossible for me to work on the train.

So now I've switched to using the 1705 or the 1905 which are run using trains suitable for the journey distance but it is really draining having to spend 14 hours per day away from home on the two long days.

Quite a few Longford commuters are now stuck using 29Ks both ways as the early train has gone back to a 22K which racks up to 20 hours a week. If Irish Rail management had to spend 20 hours a week on a 29K every week, they'd find a way to put on proper trains fairly sharpish.
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Unread 16-01-2014, 07:59   #117
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I've not read any complaints about the 29k per se from any of those passengers, so I have to say that I perceive your negative comments to represent a personal dislike of them, rather than one that is generally held.
Of course I have a personal dislike of 29Ks. I've spend several months of my life on the noisy clattery cramped cold stinking things. They are not a good place to spend 20 hours every week. At a stretch, they are suitable for a 1 hour journey. The only decent seat on them to get a bit of work done is right outside the toilet and the only thing that makes the stink of the toilet bearable is the skangers smoking in the toilet that covers the smell.

If the Dundalk passengers love 29Ks so much, perhaps Irish Rail could swap their 22K over to the Longford service, so that they could get a bit more of that sweet 29K action.

If only the stupid pols had kept their stupid noses out of the railway, we'd be gliding up and down the Sligo line in comfy silent Mark 3s.
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Unread 16-01-2014, 08:04   #118
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Dundalk is not the same journey time as Longford so that quick observation is not correct. The morning journey times vary from 1:17 to 1:28. The two Longford 29K services are 1:55 and 2:02. For Edgeworthstown, you can knock about 10 minutes off that. I usually spend nearly 2 hours on the 1805 as you have to be about 20 minutes early to be sure of a seat.

I've only taken this train once in the last month, but it wasn't particularly overcrowded the one time I took it. There were about 4 people standing to Mullingar in the car I was in. For me, the main problem is that the noise and small seats are not bearable for a two-hour train journey. It is also impossible for me to work on the train.

So now I've switched to using the 1705 or the 1905 which are run using trains suitable for the journey distance but it is really draining having to spend 14 hours per day away from home on the two long days.

Quite a few Longford commuters are now stuck using 29Ks both ways as the early train has gone back to a 22K which racks up to 20 hours a week. If Irish Rail management had to spend 20 hours a week on a 29K every week, they'd find a way to put on proper trains fairly sharpish.
Whether you choose to spend the extra 20 mins on the train is up to you - I was comparing the travel times.

Anyone travelling from Dundalk to Pearse is spending at least 1 hour 30 + each way on 29k sets, which does compare with Edgeworthstown.

I'm merely observing that I've not noticed any of them complaining about the 29k sets here or elsewhere.

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Unread 16-01-2014, 19:18   #119
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You're still not comparing like with like. Pearse puts another 10 minutes on Longford services exactly the same as for Dundalk. The morning service is over two hours from Edgeworthstown to Pearse, the evening one is as long as it requires a change at Connolly. And if you're comparing Edgeworthstown, you should be comparing Drogheda. The extra 20 minutes at Connolly isn't really a choice. If you don't wait, you will definitely spend about 40 minutes standing and you stand a good chance of spending over an hour standing. Try doing that 5 times a week.

My point is that they should not be using these trains on 2 hour runs (Some of the Longford trains come from Bray so end-to-end you are not far off three hours actually). When Irish Rail put in the second 22K order they actually stated the reason for the order was that they would use the 22K from any runs longer than 1 hour so at the time they acknowledged themselves that the 29K didn't offer sufficient passenger comfort for this duration of a run.

Maybe it is something in the air on Longford, because this issue has massively pissed off any of the commuters I've talked to. If everyone on the Dundalk route is so happy with the service, that's their own business, but I know a couple of people on that line (around Drogheda and Rush) who have switched to buses as they are cheaper, more comfortable and faster.
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Unread 16-01-2014, 20:22   #120
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You're still not comparing like with like. Pearse puts another 10 minutes on Longford services exactly the same as for Dundalk. The morning service is over two hours from Edgeworthstown to Pearse, the evening one is as long as it requires a change at Connolly. And if you're comparing Edgeworthstown, you should be comparing Drogheda. The extra 20 minutes at Connolly isn't really a choice. If you don't wait, you will definitely spend about 40 minutes standing and you stand a good chance of spending over an hour standing. Try doing that 5 times a week.

My point is that they should not be using these trains on 2 hour runs (Some of the Longford trains come from Bray so end-to-end you are not far off three hours actually). When Irish Rail put in the second 22K order they actually stated the reason for the order was that they would use the 22K from any runs longer than 1 hour so at the time they acknowledged themselves that the 29K didn't offer sufficient passenger comfort for this duration of a run.

Maybe it is something in the air on Longford, because this issue has massively pissed off any of the commuters I've talked to. If everyone on the Dundalk route is so happy with the service, that's their own business, but I know a couple of people on that line (around Drogheda and Rush) who have switched to buses as they are cheaper, more comfortable and faster.
James - I'm trying to make a point that there are and have been people on the Northern Line who have had to make journeys of a similar length in time perspective on 29k sets, yet I don't hear the same level of complaint as from you.

If I was to compare a journey on the Northern Line that is similar to Connolly/Edgeworthstown in terms of journey time, then Pearse/Dundalk is fairly close - they are both about 1 hour 35 or so. Whether you sit on it for an extra 20 minutes is your choice. People have to stand often for 35/40 minutes on the Northern line so I am comparing like with like.

I'm making the point that your objection to the 29k is down to a personal dislike for that trip rather than one that is generally prevailing - otherwise people on the Northern line would have been up in arms about them.

For the record - I do accept that they shouldn't be going any further than Longford.

As for the 22k sets on the Northern line - you know full well that they are maintained overnight in Drogheda and hence have to be on the Northern line first thing.

I appreciate what you're saying about what the sets were bought for, but we're now in completely different circumstances, exacerbated now by politicians cutting the subsidy yet expecting service levels to be magically maintained. The company is faced with trying to maintain services yet having to cut fleet size back. It's far from ideal, but what would you rather see - services cancelled?

I would be far more concerned that:
1) Services be maintained - i.e. that they continue to operate
2) Capacity be such that no one is standing beyond the short hop zone boundary

Last edited by berneyarms : 16-01-2014 at 20:28.
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