Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Head in the clouds (or the sand)

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

Speaking of the wintry weather that is causing Britain to grind to a halt, we should point out that Great Britain is merely the largest island in an island group that, as you’ll probably be aware by now, includes the island of Ireland. And Ireland has been suffering with the weather just as much as Britain has. Now Iarnród Éireann have been saying that they are running close to full services, with delays (the irony being that it is the newest route on the network, between Clonsilla and Parkway, that has been suspended with a replacement bus). But, have they taken into account the fact that, with the roads icing over, people are not going to trust the road transport options open to them and move to the train? Hence you had the situation yesterday afternoon of Dublin Connolly, the capital’s main commuter terminus, having to be closed because of overcrowding, with trains delayed for up to half an hour due to frozen points. And because of the road conditions, those people who did choose to use road transport found both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann cancelling services. Which leads us to SWIFFT and the Waterford to Rosslare saga. Now that there is no rail service, the communities in the south of Wexford are totally reliant on Bus Éireann. But, according to the Save the Rail Facebook page, the 370 (the main replacement for the train service) has been cancelled, while there is no information on the 40 (the express service serving Rosslare, Wexford and Waterford). So, it seems, if you’re in South Wexford and want to go somewhere, you can either get in your car, or lump it. A case perhaps for an emergency timetable to be implemented and have a temporary return of trains to the railway line? Of course not. Because it’s Iarnród Éireann, and so everything is absolutely fine. Try telling that to the people having to negotiate frozen, twisty roads (although I don’t know as I’ve never been there, and hope that someone would correct me if I were wrong) that may or may not have been gritted (and if it’s anything like twisty country roads here, then the answer to that will be no) in their cars, on their own, when there is a perfectly good railway line sitting idle and unused. The sooner an open-access operator gets hold of the line and starts running trains, the better.


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