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Thurles
Mostly cloudy
7°C
real feel: 3°C
wind speed: 4 m/s WNW
sunrise: 8:09 am
sunset: 6:22 pm
 

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Cork To Dublin Rural Rail Line Most Delayed This Year

Irish Rail

Back in late November 2019 we raised the issue of the increasing unreliability of Irish Rail on their Cork to Dublin rail line, latter serving Thurles town.

Irish Rail admit that their Cork Kent-to-Dublin Heuston line have had the most delays this year, with almost 14% of train journeys on that route [one of the longest such routes in Ireland at 266 km], being delayed by more than their punctuality target of ten minutes.

The Dublin to Cork line was initially built by the Great Southern and Western Railway (GS&WR), connecting the largest and second largest cities here in the republic of Ireland. Construction first began in 1844, when the GS&WR built a line from Kingsbridge Station (today Heuston Station, Dublin) to Cashel, Co. Tipperary, which they then later extended to Cork city.

Each day, Monday through to Saturday, there are 14 services between Dublin (Heuston) and Cork (Kent), each departing hourly. Similarly, on the return journey there are 15 daily services between Cork Kent and Dublin Heuston, each also departing hourly, with 14 daily departures on Saturday, while on Sundays, travelling Cork Kent – Dublin Heuston – Cork Kent, there exists 10 such services.

Some 14,575 complaints were forwarded to Irish rail by commuters this year, of which 1686 were about seat reservations; while 872 reported issues were with overcrowding. Other complaints raised concerns regarding the temperature of carriages, drug use, intimidation, vandalism, theft, cleanliness and issues around 1st Class status.

Our published report of November 30th last, have already led to several email being received from local rural commuters, mainly students, also complaining about the non-availability of seating accommodation on carriages’ at weekends.

One rather disturbing complaint, however, came from Ms Evelyn Nevin, (Former Thurles Town Councillor & Honours Degree Social Care and Ability Project Co-ordinator), at the RehabCare Resource Centre here in Thurles.

Ms Nevin commented that a ‘Childrens Special Needs Group’ experienced a similar situation failure within Irish Rail last January, akin to our previous report in November 2019. A group of children were being taken on an outing to a “Wild Lights” event at Dublin Zoo. A wheelchair had been booked onto a carriage where no wheelchair space was provided. Staff then wanted the group organisers to leave that child in another carriage on their own. Despite paying nearly €600.00 in advance for reserved seating, no such seating was provided either travelling to or from the event, thus leaving very vulnerable children forced to scatter to find seats throughout various carriages’ on the train, leaving staff minders standing.

Despite communicating RehabCare’s dissatisfaction to Irish Rail chiefs, regarding this unacceptable service afforded to these children; to date, almost 12 months later, no reply, offering any explanation or indeed an apology, has ever been offered by Irish Rail.

Recently, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross has announced a €1 billion investment in Ireland’s heavy rail infrastructure to be introduced over the next five years.

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Irish Rail Passengers Investigating Lack Of Thurles Pre-booked Seats

For regular Irish Rail commuters travelling to and from Thurles station, the following scenario, involving the constant lack of seating on Irish Rail, will be viewed as a familiar Friday evening encounter.

On Saturday last, November 23rd, some 45 scouts and their 6 Leaders from the Cahir area of Co. Tipperary, together with other regular commuters, were obliged to sit on the well-trodden, floor aisles of their train, due to pre-organised seating facilities failing to materialise.

When they went in search of their pre-booked, paid in advance seating, it became obvious that the carriages they were to occupy were non-existent. With parents waiting to pick them up at an agreed time and collection point; the Cub & Scout Troop; the majority of whom were aged between eight and eleven years old, were forced to sit out for their 1 hour return journey, on the damp floor, as they travelled from Heuston Station to Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on the 5.05pm scheduled commute.

The Cahir Cub & Scouts Troop had paid €1,180 initially in advance, to pre-book their necessary seating for an annual Christmas treat, but now when their Scout leaders went in search of their indicated carriages F & G, on which the seats had been pre-booked, same could not be located and in fact did not exist.

Their Irish Rail problem had begun earlier however; at the start of their journey to Dublin, when initially they had accessed the rail locomotive in Thurles railway station. The train had already picking up its required speed, when their pre-booked seats were found to be already fully occupied. Adult commuters now occupying their seats had to be moved to stand and in some cases members of the Troop had to doubled-up, in order to respect the needs of elderly passengers.

But that wasn’t to be the end of their harrowing experience. It was on the return journey; having spent a very enjoyable and edifying day in Dublin visiting museums etc, that this group of 45 Scouts and their six Leaders, would suffer at the hands of further unmitigated incompetency.

That evening the Cub and Scout Troop found themselves piled on top of one another; seated on dirty, littered, half washed floors or on table tops, in the knowledge that their emergency exits were blocked; and with each child, dog-tired after their busy and active day’s outing.
Usually available food and drink trolleys were suspended in the interest of health & safety, because the aisles were so packed with people either sitting down or standing holding unto bars and backs of seats.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson from Irish Rail issued a rather dubious apology to the Scouts. stating; “Irish Rail would like to sincerely apologise to each member of the Cahir Cub and Scout Group. The service they received was not acceptable and for that we are truly sorry. Our Head of Customer Experience made contact this afternoon with the leader of the Group and a full refund is being processed today. Saturday 23rd was a planned Line Improvement Works weekend and as a result there was reduced capacity on all services into & out of Heuston. We had extremely high volumes of customers travelling with us on Saturday and the train was full on arrival at Thurles. The online allocation was sold out on this service and the remainder of the seats were taken by turn-up and go customers.
On the return journey on a normal Saturday, this service would have been an 8-carriage train, but this was changed to a 5-carriage train due to the line improvement works and the group had originally booked onto the 8-carriage train. The booking was not transferred correctly onto the new train set so that is why their reservation did not appear we are currently investigating why this happened. We have taken a number of lessons from this unfortunate incident and will work to ensure that we will have better systems in place in the future to ensure that no other customers have the experience that the Cahir Cub and Scout Group had,” concluded the statement.

One wonders how two extra carriages added to a locomotive, subsidised by Irish taxpayers, could have affected line improvement works? But what do we know?

In another complaint forwarded to us some weeks ago, we are aware that two elderly ‘free travel’ passengers, travelling to Limerick Hospital and due to change at Limerick Junction, travelling from Thurles; unable to find a seat, unknowingly sat in an empty 1st class carriage. They were quickly approached by what they identified as a tall, aggressive balding, elderly Ticket Inspector, wearing thin framed glasses. Latter, indeed as was his right, he demanded that tickets be shown, before sternly informing both commuters that “free travel” was not available to persons accessing first class compartments. He now requested that they pay for first class tickets, if they were to remain in the empty carriage.

Since there are no other train stops between Thurles & Limerick Junction, (just a trip of 18 minutes from Thurles), no one else was going to ascend the locomotive, to use this carriage. Refusing to pay the fee then requested; both elderly persons were requested to return to the 2nd Class quarters, where they remained without seating and were forced to stand by the carriage exit doors. Both passengers stated that they felt like they had been reprimanded by ‘the commandant of a WW II concentration camp’.

Next year guys, consider hiring a private bus, because, as the Irish Rails advert claims, “Rail travel is so good nobody wants to get off”, no doubt the cause of last Saturday’s problem of seating.

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Irish Rail Advise Customers To Check Journey Details This Weekend.

Iarnród Éireann are advising customers to check their journey details prior to travelling this weekend.

Note: A full list of available services can be viewed on line, on Irish Rail’s web application, Journey Planner, or by Telephoning (0504) 21733 or (01) 836 6222.

Over this weekend, Dublin Cork and Limerick rail line services, affecting Thurles, are set to be disrupted with service cancellations and bus replacement transfers, latter which will impact several Munster and Leinster counties.

For commuters travelling to Dublin, Irish Rail confirm that Dart services are also expected to be somewhat restricted.

On tomorrow, Saturday, November 9th, 2019, Irish Rail confirm that the following changes will apply.

21:00 hrs: Dublin Heuston to Cork will operate using a bus transfer from Heuston serving Portlaoise and Thurles, when commuters will then continue their journey by train from Thurles to Cork.

20:25 hrs: Cork to Dublin Heuston reverse run will operate again back to Thurles only, with bus transfers in operation beginning from Thurles; serving Portlaoise, Portarlington, Monasterevin, Kildare, Newbridge and Heuston.

On Sunday, November 10th the 08:30hrs Heuston to Tralee service is deferred to the later time of 09:00hrs.

Iarnród Éireann, apologising for this disruption to services, state that this investment of some €10 million in overall line improvements, will lead to greater service reliability; smoother running of trains and will further deliver a consistent 160kph speeds (100 mph), which in turn will deliver shorter journey times for its consumers.

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Cow Killed By Train Near Limerick Junction.

Passengers travelling with Irish Rail experienced significant delays this evening after a locomotive struck a cow in Co. Tipperary.

The 5.25pm train travelling near Limerick Junction was forced to halt after it struck and killed a cow which had strayed unto the railway tracks.

As a result of the incident damage was done to the train, however it is understood that no staff or passengers were injured.

It became necessary to call in a maintenance crew, thus resulting in major delays, while anabling the track to be cleared.

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Irish Rail Services To Thurles Cancelled

Thurles Railway Station

Forgotten rural Ireland remains a little more forgotten this evening, as trains servicing the south-east are cancelled.

We understand that the rail services from Dublin will travel only as far as Portlaoise, due, once again, to a recurring power failure.

We are told that a bus service will be provided to ensure rail customers reach their destination. However commuters have previously found that this alternative bus service was not sufficient to accommodate all Irish Rail passengers and commuters in the past have been forced to wait for some 40 minutes for other buses to turn up.

Somewhat irate Irish rail representatives this evening at Portlaoise Railway station, have confirmed to passengers that they cannot be sure when their service will be back to normal or if trains will be allowed to return to Dublin either tonight or indeed early tomorrow morning.Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail