Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Shame on you

Posted in Customer service, Infrastructure, Ireland, Politics by Chairman Pip on 3 September 2010

So, the National Transport Authority have made their decision, and have agreed with Iarnród Éireann over the non-viability of the Waterford-Rosslare railway line. The line will close in weeks, with travel between Rosslare and Waterford to become the responsibility of Bus Éireann. There will be no north-west to south-east rail connection, no cross-country network, just a mothballed railway. Apparently Iarnród Éireann will have an obligation to maintain the line in servicable condition “to enable a reinstatement of services if transport demand and economic circumstances should improve sufficiently in the future”. Iarnród Éireann will ensure the economic conditions don’t improve, and five years down the line (pardon the pun), they will make a case to lift the track, and the region will lose its rail link forever. The NTA have chosen the direction at the crossroads, and it’s the one that allows Iarnród Éireann carte blanche to run down rural railway routes and close them. No doubt they will turn their attention to the Ballybrophy line next (whose only check in favour is perhaps that it can act as a diversion for trains from Dublin to Limerick), or perhaps the Ballina line. I have to say that I’m glad I’m British, and live in a country where the railway network is cherished, by the public (even if we grumble about the cost), by the state (even if they grumble about the cost) and the operators (even if they grumble that they don’t make enough). If Ireland’s government gave a damn, then they would have intervened instead of simply saying it was an “operational matter for Irish Rail”. If Ireland’s operator gave a damn, they would have tried to find a way to make a go of the route. Those responsible for this will no doubt see this as a job well done. They should hang their heads in shame.

“Rosslare-Waterford rail line to close”

Mr Fearn, you should hang your head in shame

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2 Responses

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  1. David Parks said, on 3 September 2010 at 8:07 pm

    The NTA have proved that they are no more than another buffer between the Minister for Transport and the public. Now he can say it is an operational matter for CIE and NTA – whoopee, democracy Irish style! Ironically the announcement comes on a day when CIE/IE reopen a half completed white elephant railway in the Minister’s own constituency. Shame on you NTA – if you had a scrap of integrity you would all quit rather than rubber stamp Fianna Fail rubbish policies – but then I suppose you would lose your perks/expenses etc. Incidentally, how much does an NTA board member receive?

    • Chairman Pip said, on 4 September 2010 at 2:10 pm

      I know the criticism that the Navan line has garnered, but I believe that that is a good thing, except that it isn’t ambitious enough. They should have built the thing in one piece and opened it to Navan straight away. But it isn’t right to say “one in and one out”. The government are wrong not to take an active involvement, which contrasts starkly with the last five years or so over here, where the DfT has micromanaged more and more. I don’t agree with micromanagement, but I think the government should take a greater involvement. It seems that there is no coherent policy from the Irish government on the railways, beyond letting Iarnród Éireann do what they like. I’ll write an entry on this. I hope you’ll let me know your thoughts. Keep an eye out.


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