Off the rails: No new carriages until 2021 for packed trains

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CARLOW commuters packed into train carriages heading to and from Dublin will have to wait until the end of 2021 before they see any new carriages.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has announced Government approval for the purchase of 41 additional rail carriages to increase capacity across the Greater Dublin Area rail network, providing a 34% increased capacity at peak times.

Passengers who travel to Dublin daily, have to contend with “oversubscribed train carriages”, according to Fianna Fáil Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor who said she was “angry” that the passengers would have to wait until the end of 2021 at the earliest before they would see any additional capacity.

trains dangerously overcrowded at Carlow

Senator Murnane O’Connor said: “The problem has become so bad that last month commuters were encouraged to stagger their train journeys due to overcrowded carriages.

“This infuriating initiative fails to recognise that the people commuting at those hours are doing so for work and it isn’t an option to simply take a train an hour or two later.”

She is calling for additional carriages on the Waterford to Dublin line due to trains being “dangerously overcrowded at Carlow”.

Senator Murnane O’Connor said: “Only recently we heard calls for limits or costs to be imposed on the free travel scheme to try and reduce the numbers of people using the train.

absolute nonsense and needs to be nipped in the bud

“This is absolute nonsense and needs to be nipped in the bud. People using their travel pass are not the problem. The lack of leadership shown by Minister [for Transport] Shane Ross and the failure of the Government to oversee the expansion of the rail fleet is the real problem here.”

She said: “Those travelling from Carlow can speak to what a calamity it is, and they cannot be left in this grave situation for another two or three years without a resolution.

“It’s not fair that thousands of passengers are paying steep yearly rates for a substandard rail service.

“I intend to raise this matter with Irish Rail and ask them what their plan is in the interim to increase capacity on the Waterford – Dublin line,” the Fianna Fail senator said.

People have to climb over each other

Mark Gleeson of the campaign group, Rail Users Ireland, concurs, “The intercity trains are horribly overcrowded. People have to climb over each other to effectively get out of the carriage.

“It is a common enough occurrence across the network that the train is shorter than expected. Because there is no spare if something breaks down a train is reduced in capacity.”

Iarnród Éireann wants to order 41 new carriages but they will take two years to deliver.
CEO Jim Meade admits there is a risk that things will get worse before they improve.

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