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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020

'Urgent discussions' between drivers and Irish Rail over DART disruption

Irish Rail has said that additional peak capacity will be restored on its services this evening.

A DART train in Dublin (file)
A DART train in Dublin (file)
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IRISH RAIL HAS advised customers taking the DART today that despite a dispute, additional peak capacity will be provided on its services this evening.

This means that most of it trains will be back to their normal peak size during the commuter rush.

The company said it is “working to restore as much peak capacity as possible”. Earlier today, it emerged that DARTS were running with fewer than the usual number of carriages, due to a dispute with drivers.

Fewer carriages meant that many trains were packed during the morning commute.


The dispute centres on what Irish Rail describes as a “necessary check” that it says drivers refused to carry out on DART trains before the carriages left the depot to enter service.

This evening, SIPTU Organiser, Paul Cullen said that the issue at the centre of the dispute ” relates to drivers being unilaterally instructed by management to carry out maintenance work on DART trains”.

He added:

We have been working hard over the last number of weeks in an attempt to resolve this issue. We regret the disruption of services today which arose because drivers withdrew co-operation with a maintenance test which, until recently, was carried out by trained engineering staff.

Irish Rail said that while there may be some shorter trains this evening, most will operate to planned size, and that tomorrow morning it is expected normal peak capacity will be restored in full.

This follows communication between Iarnród Éireann and SIPTU, which will see the planned talks on this issue go ahead tomorrow, and coupler checks resume, said Irish Rail.

The company apologised to customers “for the discomfort and inconvenience caused this morning when peak services operated with significantly reduced capacity”.

This was as a result of the refusal by drivers to undertake the checks, which verifies that an electrical connection is complete through the train when multiple DART units are connected together to form longer trains. This is to ensure that doors are correctly interlocking.

While peak time DART services ordinarily operate as a mix of eight-carriage, six-carriage and four-carriage trains, the company said that this morning’s services were predominantly operated by four-carriage trains, and some two carriage trains.

It said that additional peak capacity will be restored for this evening, and normal peak capacity will be provided tomorrow morning onwards, as the issue is addressed through agreed procedures.


SIPTU said that its drivers at Irish Rail have held “urgent discussions with management in order to prevent further disruption of DART services”.

“SIPTU members have been carrying out the test on a goodwill basis since 24 September when we informed management that drivers would not continue to carry out maintenance work indefinitely,” said Cullen of the coupler check.

He added that they are hopeful that discussions with management can lead to an early resolution of this dispute and prevent further disruption of DART services.

Read: DARTs running with fewer carriages than usual after driver dispute>

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