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Unread 23-12-2011, 22:25   #1
wolf99
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Default Multiple Gripes from a noob

Hi All
As a new RUI user- longtime IE user- I have a list of gripes/questions to get off my chest.
Let me preface them by saying that I am thankfull for the train service from Sligo as it means I dont have to suffer the bus!!

1) Seriously, what is with the hour or so it takes to get from maynooth to connolly?!?!

2) Why are there still commuter cars operating on this line?!!! When they were put on "temporarily" before the new intercities arrived we were promised the intercities would replace them...yet they're still here. At the time IE was made VERY aware of the commuter's deficiencies.

3) Why is the catering car always on the intercities but never operational??

4) Severe lack of passing places. I was on a train about a week ago that arrived an hour late (subsequently missing my belfast connection) due to having to wait on 2 VERY late down trains.

5) Is it just me or do the trains on this line travel slower in general than other trains? Even the intercities in the Dublin area seem to travel faster and the belfast express could be travelling at warp speed compared to it.

6) Why does the Sligo train never seem to pull into P3? Even if P3 is empty, when P4 is in use it nearly always pulls into P1...

7) The socket power issue on the intercities. The sockets in the front/driving car always work, but its a smaller car, the rest very rarely work at this point. sometimes the ticket collectors will agree to go see if they can reset the car, but invariably they either cant, or it just trips again...

8) Is there any sort of a schedule as to when the Sligo line will be getting Wi-Fi? And why, if the trial on the cork line was successful enough for it to be introduced for the other lines, is it being reported that it may be 2013 before other lines see Wi-Fi?

9) Why does the cork line always get the good stuff? In a lot (not all) of publications, programmes etc, the interviewee chooses the Cork line as their fave. I would guess this is mostly because it is reported as having the best service (Ive never been on it so IDK). Seems it gets the best service because more folks use it because it gets the best service.... extending > if other lines got better service maybe user numbers would rise on those lines also??? It seems however that CIE never ascribes to this logic, instead preferring the opposite: the other lines dont do so well so we'll let them deteriorate and focus on the lines that are already doing well.
Never having used the Cork line this could be somewhat down to my perception and a case of the grass is always greener... maybe there's some happy juice in the air conditioning )

And the last one:

10) What's going on with the current works on sligo's Mac Diarmada station?
I hope they're not taking down the walls around it, there'd be some breeze cut across the platform then.... are they finally going to put a lid on the place?

Thanks for bearing with al those points! While some of them might seem like Im just having a go (maybe I am a bit) it would be great to get some answers!
Happy holidays
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Unread 23-12-2011, 22:39   #2
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Default A couple more questions

Hi All

1) Whats with the changing ticket windows at sligo station?? sometimes its the new window sometimes its the old... I have seen on numerous occasions people (usually the elderly) patiently waiting at one ticket window for the blind to be raised to purchase a ticket while the tickets are actually sold at the other window

2) is broombridge actually a working station?

3) whats the story with the proposed plans for the old broadstone line? I remember hearing stuff a while back about it being developed for LUAS or IE use or LUAS and IE combined use.

4) IDK what train it was but one of the intercities from Sligo's disabled toilet door will not lock, it just keeps repeating a loud, recorded message telling you to "Push the lock button to ensure privacy" but the lock button doesnt do anything...

I would have added these to my previous thread instead of starting a new one, but i only just submitted the previous one and its awaiting moderation...

Many thanks for any answers
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Unread 24-12-2011, 20:00   #3
Colm Moore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf99 View Post
1) Seriously, what is with the hour or so it takes to get from maynooth to connolly?!?!
It should only take 25-30 minutes according to the timetable. However, if one train is delayed, that can have knock-on effects on other trains. Maynooth line trains are constantly delayed between Drumcondra and Connolly. DART and commuter trains receive highest priority, as they typically have the highest loadings, however, sometimes common sense goes astray and an already late train is kept even later. The layout of Connolly isn't great and aside from the current signalling and points works, changing it is unlikely in the current financial circumstances.
Quote:
2) Why are there still commuter cars operating on this line?!!! When they were put on "temporarily" before the new intercities arrived we were promised the intercities would replace them...yet they're still here. At the time IE was made VERY aware of the commuter's deficiencies.
New trains are being commissioned at the moment, so hopefully things will change during 2012.
Quote:
3) Why is the catering car always on the intercities but never operational??
As best we can determine, institutionalised indifference. If a train service is advertised as having a dining car, it should have one - and it should be open. Feel free to complain any time it isn't - in writing is best - use the heading "complaint" as that will then affect their statistics.
Quote:
4) Severe lack of passing places. I was on a train about a week ago that arrived an hour late (subsequently missing my belfast connection) due to having to wait on 2 VERY late down trains.
The afternoon train to Dublin has to pass, I think, 5 trains between Mullingar and Maynooth, with only 5 passing places. It is unacceptable and we have suggested changes, e.g. an extra passing place at The Downs. There have been level crossing improvements, but that is only part of the job.
Quote:
5) Is it just me or do the trains on this line travel slower in general than other trains? Even the intercities in the Dublin area seem to travel faster and the belfast express could be travelling at warp speed compared to it.
Parts of the Sligo line aren't great and that stems from its legacy of being built to follow the canal. Like several other lines, there are bridge and level crossing problems remaining. Enterprise has its own problems.
Quote:
6) Why does the Sligo train never seem to pull into P3? Even if P3 is empty, when P4 is in use it nearly always pulls into P1...
I'm not sure. It is possible that they want to keep 3 & 4 free in case of train failures - 4 is the only terminating platform that is electrified and it is next to the DART platforms

Quote:
7) The socket power issue on the intercities. The sockets in the front/driving car always work, but its a smaller car, the rest very rarely work at this point. sometimes the ticket will agree to go see if they can reset the car, but invariably they either cant, or it just trips again...
They need to replace all the sockets. Pressing the test button on the socket can trip the master fuse for all the sockets in a carriage. The front carriage will tend to be OK as the driver will habitually check his fuses at the start of a journey, but won't go through the train checking all of them. Do NOT press the test button!

Quote:
8) Is there any sort of a schedule as to when the Sligo line will be getting Wi-Fi? And why, if the trial on the cork line was successful enough for it to be introduced for the other lines, is it being reported that it may be 2013 before other lines see Wi-Fi?
I don't know the details. However, it isn't just a matter of buying a box and putting it on all the trains, the lines need to be surveyed to find the locations where there is little / no mobile phone coverage and additional masts put in place, which takes time. To fit several hundred carriages also takes time and money.


Quote:
9) Why does the cork line always get the good stuff? In a lot (not all) of publications, programmes etc, the interviewee chooses the Cork line as their fave. I would guess this is mostly because it is reported as having the best service (Ive never been on it so IDK). Seems it gets the best service because more folks use it because it gets the best service.... extending > if other lines got better service maybe user numbers would rise on those lines also??? It seems however that CIE never ascribes to this logic, instead preferring the opposite: the other lines dont do so well so we'll let them deteriorate and focus on the lines that are already doing well.
Never having used the Cork line this could be somewhat down to my perception and a case of the grass is always greener... maybe there's some happy juice in the air conditioning )
I think there is a "the grass is always greener" element. While the Cork-Dublin services mostly have wi-fi, there are few power sockets (1-2 per carriage) and while there are more services, there are also more services that can delay other trains. In fairness, the Sligo service isn't bad, if they could clear some of the points above, in particular the commuter carriages and the punctuality.
Quote:
10) What's going on with the current works on sligo's Mac Diarmada station?
I hope they're not taking down the walls around it, there'd be some breeze cut across the platform then.... are they finally going to put a lid on the place?
I'm not familiar with the works. There are quite a few stations that are receiving small improvements at the moment.
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Last edited by Colm Moore : 24-12-2011 at 20:26.
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Unread 24-12-2011, 20:35   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf99 View Post
1) Whats with the changing ticket windows at sligo station?? sometimes its the new window sometimes its the old... I have seen on numerous occasions people (usually the elderly) patiently waiting at one ticket window for the blind to be raised to purchase a ticket while the tickets are actually sold at the other window
Are the two windows in different places? A word to have staff put up a notice would be useful.

Quote:
2) is broombridge actually a working station?
Trains do stop there. However, there are no station facilities other than platforms and I think one shelter.

Quote:
3) whats the story with the proposed plans for the old broadstone line? I remember hearing stuff a while back about it being developed for LUAS or IE use or LUAS and IE combined use.
I it expected to become part of Luas line BXD in 2012-2018.

Quote:
4) IDK what train it was but one of the intercities from Sligo's disabled toilet door will not lock, it just keeps repeating a loud, recorded message telling you to "Push the lock button to ensure privacy" but the lock button doesnt do anything...
There are two buttons, one to close, one to lock. When the door is closed, it is NOT locked and can be opened by another passenger!
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Unread 25-12-2011, 13:27   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf99 View Post

2) Why are there still commuter cars operating on this line?!!! When they were put on "temporarily" before the new intercities arrived we were promised the intercities would replace them...yet they're still here. At the time IE was made VERY aware of the commuter's deficiencies.
The commuter trains were very much intended to be a permanent fixture when introduced. Local politicians in Sligo demonstrated there complete ignorance when they started to protest when Irish Rail suggested using the same trains as Dublin Cork, new no matter what was the mantra despite comfort and capacity being more important. Magically 33 further intercity railcars were ordered (thanks to the NRA unspending that year). That 33 was on the basis of a train every 3 hours on Dublin Sligo and the existing 3 a day to Rosslare, which left no scope to go every 2 hours without dragging in a few commuter trains. So you have a dilemma.
Quote:
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3) Why is the catering car always on the intercities but never operational??
Sligo is advertised as catering trolley only, on occasion a first class train is used on the Dublin Sligo which contains a buffet car which is not staffed (which means a route elsewhere which should have a buffet does not) . Upside you get to sit in first class for free. The trolley now has a vastly better range now compared to years ago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf99 View Post
6) Why does the Sligo train never seem to pull into P3? Even if P3 is empty, when P4 is in use it nearly always pulls into P1...
Platform 1 contains service equipment to fuel and water the train and also the train can get in and out of the shed without getting in the way of anything else. It is very very rare to depart from platform 1. Platform 1 is too short for a full length commuter train

Much of the problems on route are related to the fact the route is running at 100% capacity at peak times. Dublin Sligo frequency is actually better than what Dublin Cork had 6 years ago!
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Unread 25-12-2011, 14:09   #6
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8) Is there any sort of a schedule as to when the Sligo line will be getting Wi-Fi? And why, if the trial on the cork line was successful enough for it to be introduced for the other lines, is it being reported that it may be 2013 before other lines see Wi-Fi?
Irish Rail say in 2012 but its more lightly that it will be 2013 before every 2200 train is fitted and you are certain to have Wi-FI.

Have heard that they plan to fit the 10 6 car first class sets before the others. Anybody confirm?
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Unread 25-12-2011, 16:06   #7
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9) Why does the cork line always get the good stuff? In a lot (not all) of publications, programmes etc, the interviewee chooses the Cork line as their fave. I would guess this is mostly because it is reported as having the best service (Ive never been on it so IDK). Seems it gets the best service because more folks use it because it gets the best service.... extending > if other lines got better service maybe user numbers would rise on those lines also??? It seems however that CIE never ascribes to this logic, instead preferring the opposite: the other lines dont do so well so we'll let them deteriorate and focus on the lines that are already doing well.
Never having used the Cork line this could be somewhat down to my perception and a case of the grass is always greener... maybe there's some happy juice in the air conditioning )
It is generally accepted that the Dublin Cork train is pretty poor in comparison to the fleet elsewhere. Dublin Cork the seats don't line up with windows, the tables are small, no power sockets, the train rocks and shakes and the seats are not the best for long distance. The interior is a little fancier thats about it. On the reliability side the Dublin Cork train is pretty poor in relation to others.

Dublin Cork actually makes a profit on paper so it is a lot easier to make the case for investment. Sligo has gone from 3 trains a day to 7 and is now the third busiest route in the country, new track, new signaling. Numbers doubled over 5 years. The solution to the Sligo line problems is to reinstate the second track from Maynooth to Mullingar, thats 35 miles. No chance of that happening in the current climate, wasn't much chance even in Celtic Tiger days.
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Unread 25-12-2011, 23:40   #8
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Not so sure that double track to Mullingar is necessary to address the current operational iisues on the Sligo line.

In particular I strongly suspect that evening westbound business beyond Maynooth (and certainly beyond Enfield) could be easily accommodated without running either the 1715 or 1817 beyond Enfield. Sets could be balanced by cancelling the virtually empy 2105 from Longford and running a later service from Dublin at say 2005 or 2105 to Longford.

Matters might also be improved somewhat by revising the time wasting schedules between Connolly and Maynooth - 22 minutes in either direction should be easily achievable for most services. It is hard to understand why a faster service was possible when a only single track, single section was available Clonsilla and Maynooth.
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Unread 26-12-2011, 02:15   #9
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As for the Cork line, I remember being pea green with jealousy when the new CAF Dublin-Cork carriages landed (photographed by the IRN types in the Port) and Dublin-Sligo still had only 29000 railcars. But recent experience has shown that the Intercity railcars, the 22000s, while perhaps not being as glamorous as the CAFs, are much more practical. For one thing, they do have at seat sockets throughout the train, though they cannot be depended on, while the CAFs only have them in First Class. Secondly the 22000s have a decent ride quality, the CAF carriages were (in the beginning at least) a lot like their Commuter cousins in terms of crappy ride quality and awful suspension.

I don't know if it's got any better with the trackworks on the mainline in recent years, perhaps Mark G can fill us in?

As to the matter of train speeds, it could be better - by a good margin - but all the lines ex-Connolly have the disadvantage of being twin-track mainlines with a small amount of Intercity traffic mixed with a lot of short haul commuter traffic. Whereas with Heuston, the mainline out of that carries 2/3 or so of all national Intercity traffic plus requirements for a frequent short haul commuter service to Hazelhatch and Kildare. Hence it was a much more obvious candidate for the quad track treatment that allowed more efficient line-sharing. Both the Rosslare and Belfast lines are worse off on this score, sharing the last few kilometres of the run into Connolly with the DART.
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Unread 26-12-2011, 13:42   #10
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Secondly the 22000s have a decent ride quality, the CAF carriages were (in the beginning at least) a lot like their Commuter cousins in terms of crappy ride quality and awful suspension.
Traveled on the Mark 4 on Wednesday and it was the worst train journey in a while. I think I may like the 2200 more now than ever. Have never had a train shake so much and the WI-FI was not working is many places between Limerick J-Portlaoise even though it said it had full signal.
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Unread 26-12-2011, 14:42   #11
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Full WiFi signal just means the device has a good connection to the train's computer. It means nothing as to the state of the internet connection. Portlaoise - Templemore is a real trouble location for phones at the best of times.


Mk4/CAF ride is still poor and inconsistent. The science bit http://www.railusers.ie/passenger_is...cky_trains.php its never been right and its only when the train is on the new track does it calm down.

The ICR/22k has one minor flaw which is an issue on Sligo/Rosslare is in sharp corners at speed it tends to hit the lateral bump stops as the train tries to swing out in the corner. The trusty Mk3 used to do this as well, but the Mk4 doesn't its about the only good thing it has
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Unread 26-12-2011, 20:53   #12
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The reality is that everywhere is stretched because of the premature retirement of the Mark 3s. Waterford is frequently seeing 3 car consists when it needs 6. Limerick has lost direct services. Rosslare only sees 3 car 22Ks because Selective Door Opening has still not been deployed. There are few lines which are not seeing disappointment of some sort.

At least on the Sligo line there should be limited timing penalty when using 29s which top out at 75mph. When a 29000 is sent to Belfast in lieu of a broken Enterprise that's a noticeable diminution on the bits of track still capable of 90mph.
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Unread 26-12-2011, 23:15   #13
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Didn't think the Sligo line was like Limerick-Limerick Junction with these silly DMU's. I don't see why they aren't putting 22k sets on this line, yet they have 22k's on the Limerick-Galway line which struggles to sell seats. Like Sligo this line needs 22k's or refurb Mark 3's whatever. Those commuter trains are always dangerously overcrowded, they are not exactly built for intercity duties and should be removed from service.

Thinking about mark 3's wasn't that coach in the photo below out of one of the push/pull sets? Seems they are just letting them rot now and giving them away.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/6213270...n/photostream/
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Unread 27-12-2011, 00:53   #14
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If my menory is correct that train in the picture used to operate mainly on the Galway line and there was only 7 coaches (1 set) like that and they were taken out of service before the rest of the Mark 3's. It is not a push/pull one either. Think there was yellow writing in Irish above the doors to.

The push/pull sets are the ones that you could open windows on except the Buffet Cart on one of the sets.
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Unread 27-12-2011, 09:27   #15
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Destructix: how familiar are you with he Sligo line? Almost all Sligo services (about 14 out of 16 daily) are 22k. Of course shorter turns to Longford and points closer to Dublin are 29k.
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Unread 27-12-2011, 09:34   #16
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As to the matter of train speeds, it could be better - by a good margin - but all the lines ex-Connolly have the disadvantage of being twin-track mainlines with a small amount of Intercity traffic mixed with a lot of short haul commuter traffic. Whereas with Heuston, the mainline out of that carries 2/3 or so of all national Intercity traffic plus requirements for a frequent short haul commuter service to Hazelhatch and Kildare. Hence it was a much more obvious candidate for the quad track treatment that allowed more efficient line-sharing. Both the Rosslare and Belfast lines are worse off on this score, sharing the last few kilometres of the run into Connolly with the DART.
Not sure that the Cork line was the more obvious candidate for quad tracking especially in the context of existing requirements as opposed to potential future requirements. Having said that, Irish Rail were correct to specify quad tracking in the context of planned additional stations between Inchicore and Hazelhatch. As it turns out one of these massive stations hasn't even opened while the remaing intermediate stations between Hazelhatch and Heuston are little busier than Campile was before closure.

Meanwhile, post DART interconnector, Irish Rail fantasise about running 19 trains per direction per hour on the double track between East Wall Junction and Clongriffin. This is almost twice the current busiest hourly rate and approximately equal to the current daily utilisation of the slow lines between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch. It is utterly impractical and would effectively render the northern line irrelevant to all but short haul commuters.

In my experience the quad tracking on the Cork line sees comparatively few overtaking movements. In the outbound direction there is only one scheduled overtaking movement on Mondays to Saturdays and two on Sundays. The train overtaken in each instance is the 1855 from Heuston and the overtaking services are the 1900 to Cork (daily) and 1905 Tralee (Sundays).

The inbound direction is a little more used with 5 trains being overtaken Monday to Friday, 4 on Saturday and two on Sunday. One of these trains, the 0743 from Portlaoise is overtaken by two services, the 0615 from Cork and 0635 from Galway.

The last trip I made out of Heuston saw the 1030 from Cork stationary on the fast line at Cherry Orchard to allow the late running and lighly loaded 1230 ex Newbridge run ahead of it. Not exactly inspiring and not particularly unusual either.

In conrast to the Cork line the northern line currently requires quad tracking as almost every non-DART service suffers a journey time penalty of anything up to twenty minutes due to a combination of inadequate track capacity, poor scheduling, poor traffic management and the very low average speed of DART services.

Last edited by Inniskeen : 27-12-2011 at 09:39.
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Unread 29-12-2011, 00:38   #17
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Meanwhile, post DART interconnector, Irish Rail fantasise about running 19 trains per direction per hour on the double track between East Wall Junction and Clongriffin.
Civil service mentality. Ask for the moon, hope for the international space station
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Unread 29-12-2011, 17:06   #18
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Many thanks for the all replies.
After that list I have to say that over the years I have been using Irish rail the service has much improved and most of the staff I come into contact with are very helpful and accommodating.

The time on the maynooth to connolly stretch is however one of my slightly larger issues, I dont recall it ever taking less than about 40 minutes and as I nearly always have ongoing connections Im usually sitting there biting my nails! The train always seems to idle along at under 10kmh-ish, and then als get stopped somewhere by croke park, sometimes for 5 mins or more.... it always feels like the signalling powers that be are surprised to see a train. on the train tracks. attempting to get to a train station....of all the things!

One suggestion on improving journey time elsewhere is the time it can sometimes take waiting for signals to switch. Its not been so bad in the last month or two, but previous to that trains could be stopped and sitting at a light AFTER the passing train has gone by for several minutes. I dont know how the signals in these instances are operated, maybe there is some reason for this?

One other query I came across today, is how does one buy the advertised 10 tickets? the 1905 Dublin - Sligo is offered online at 10 but the 2202 Sligo- Dublin is 23... Do the fares change with demand or is it possible to know in advance which train I can get a 10 ticket for?

Again many thanks for all the answers they were much appreciated. things become slightly less frustrating when you know there is a reason for them and not just ignorance/laziness.

Happy holidays all.

PSs: the works on the sligo station seem to be fairly major, there is a significant amount of scaffolding up round the entire station except the front. Having seen the improvements in Galway station, connoly, and tara st that seemed to consist mostly of rerouting cables and a genera tidy up around the eves etc, this seems more in earnest, jack hammers atop the main wall and the like... would love a roof on macdiarmada, highly doubt thats what is going on though...

Last edited by wolf99 : 29-12-2011 at 17:11.
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Unread 29-12-2011, 19:23   #19
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Fares do change with demand and by date

See http://www.railusers.ie/passenger_in...ne_tickets.php

New website http://new.irishrail.ie shows the fares upfront now

Dublin Sligo doesn't have the full yield managed fares just yet, this is in part due to the fact not all stations on the route have ticket collection facilities and indeed the Sligo line is actually quite busy!

Fares online single 10-23 euro
Cash 32-44

Online the system will issue the cheapest ticket depending on the day of the week, so two 23 singles will be 32 in total if Mon-Thurs+Sat

There will be a completely revised structure in 2012 which will really change things

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 29-12-2011 at 19:25.
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Unread 29-12-2011, 19:59   #20
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One other query I came across today, is how does one buy the advertised 10 tickets? the 1905 Dublin - Sligo is offered online at 10 but the 2202 Sligo- Dublin is 23... Do the fares change with demand or is it possible to know in advance which train I can get a 10 ticket for?
Yes, it is largely demand based. Book well in advance on a quiet service and you are most likely to get a good deal. Book the peak trains on Friday / Sunday and there will be few deals.

When booking on the old site, clicking on the icon on the right, opposite the list of departures while show the prices. On the new site, the (adult) prices are shown up front. So for the next few days, Cork-Dublin is 37 single on all departures, but on Sunday and Monday, some trains are 26 (most are still 37), by Tuesday, some are 21 (the rest 26 or 37). Skipping ahead to 25 January, all departures are 10 single.

If you need to travel on a different train, you must have the ticket endorsed by the ticket office. There may be a surcharge.

Ticket collection isn't available at all stations.
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