PROPOSED CHANGES TO the Irish Rail timetable could have a negative effect on rural lines, the Green Party has said.
The proposed 2013 Southern and Western National and Regional timetables were announced in November and submissions on them are now being sought. According to the Green Party, the draft changes “have been designed to make rural lines unviable” and the party will be opposing them in their submission.
Adam Douglas, Spokesperson on Transport said:
While a good job has been done to maintain services on the four Inter-City lines out of Heuston, the non-radial lines which connect Limerick, Galway and Waterford are being pushed toward collapse. The meagre twice-daily services in each direction between Limerick and Waterford are an example of this.
He claimed that if the timetable plans are adopted, “it will not be possible to get to either city from outlying towns in Tipperary for a 9am start and on Sunday the service disappears altogether”.
The party also feel the Limerick to Galway line is not being fully utilised because the timetable is “so inadequate”. They are asking for it to be redesigned to allow for travel times of 100 minutes and less, to offer a realistic alternative to travel by car.
Barry Kenny of Irish Rail told TheJournal.ie that the draft timetable sees a lot of improvement in terms of journey time. He said that the company addresses frequency where it sees a demand, and there are some reductions in services where demand is extremely low.
The company is in a difficult financial situation and “the trains have to go where the demand is”, he said. With some train stations, they had put in new routes to see if interest would pick up. In Nenagh they put in additional trains in March to try and establish if there would be more of an interest, but found that only nine people a day used the service, which is “not sustainable in railway terms”.
“It is a very limited number of services that are affected,” said Kenny. “The most any route is seeing a reduction of in intercity terms is one [train] each way.”