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Passengers Report Open Use Of Cocaine On Dublin-Cork Train Service.

Two passengers were “doing lines of cocaine” off the table on a train travelling through Thurles, from Dublin (Séan Heuston Station) to Cork (Thomas Kent Station), according to one of some 26 complaints lodged with Irish Rail in the past 18 months (January 2020 to June 2021).

One of the longest railway lines in Ireland at 266 kilometres (165 mls); in 2018, 3.46 million passengers travelled on this same Dublin /Cork line.

In all the complaints received of antisocial behaviour on this Irish Rail route; indeed several relate to drug use. A similar complaint said two passengers had a number of plastic bags and drugs on a table, which they were consuming, quite openly.

The other reports received involve details relating to drunkenness, harassment and threatening behaviour, latter which in the case of one lady; saw a report that one passenger threatened that he would hit her on the head with a bottle and machete (long flat bladed knife), if she did not talk to him.

Mr Dermot O’Leary, (National Bus and Rail Union), has called for a dedicated transport police force to be setup.
“The Cork-Dublin line is like a drug route at this stage. Our members certainly know who the drug-dealers and mules are; carrying these drugs,” Mr O’Leary stated.

Irish Rail have confirmed that the Dublin to Cork line passing through Thurles town is their busiest route; with the vast majority of journeys occurring without incident.


Anti-Social Behaviour Halts Train In Thurles.

Gardai were requested to attend at an incident in Thurles Railway Station yesterday evening.

A train coming from Cork, bound for Dublin, was forced to halt when anti-social behaviour broke out on board.

We understand that the 16:30 train from Cork to Heuston, carrying passengers who had embarked at Cork, was forced to halt at Thurles, when disruptive behaviour caused a technical issue on board.

The passengers were eventually accommodated on alternative services, causing minor delays to other services passing through the Thurles station, as a result of this 16.30 public transport failure.

From May 2020 to the end of April 2021, there have been 37 incidents of antisocial behaviour on Cork rail services or at Cork stations, with incidents ranging from non-compliance with Covid regulations, vandalism, possession of drugs or alcohol, theft and loitering.

We understand further Garda enquiries are now being processed.


“Big Lift” Promises Big Improvements To Thurles Rail Passenger Mobility Issues.

Big Lift Upgrade To Thurles Railway Station.

Some 22 railway stations nationally will see Lifts or Elevators facilities either renewed or upgraded in 2021, as part of an estimated €5.8 million investment plan by Iarnród Éireann.

Thurles Railway Station.

The Irish rail travel provider are making big changes by replacing and upgrading their elevators for people with mobility issues.
Twenty-two stations across the network will have their lifts upgraded by the end of this year.
This follows upgrades to twelve other stations previously in 2020.
Some 52 stations across the rail network are set to receive similar investment by 2024.

Upgrading of accessibility at Thurles Railway Station is expected to begin on June 7th next and is expected to be completed by July 23rd 2021.
Commuters departing or arriving at Thurles Station and who have mobility issues are advised to contact Thurles Railway Station [Phone: (0504) 21733 or (01) 836 6222. Calling from outside the Republic of Ireland +353 (1) 836 6222] in advance of their journey, so that they can be fully facilitated during the period of this necessary Thurles upgrade.

In order to achieve improvements, there may be some disruptions which will however provide in the longer term, extra reliable station access for commuters going forward.

Work, which began on April 19th last, at Templemore Railway Station Co. Tipperary, is due to be completed on Friday June 4th next, with work then commencing at Thurles.


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.


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.