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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 23 June 2021

Faults mean 51 new train coaches remain out of action

As rail fares go up for commuter and DART passengers, Iarnród Éireann says technical faults are holding up the use of new carriages.

51 new rail carriages remain out of public service because of technical problems - while intercity routes remain overcrowded.
51 new rail carriages remain out of public service because of technical problems - while intercity routes remain overcrowded.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

IARNRÓD ÉIREANN has blamed technical faults for major delays in the introduction of over 50 new rail carriages – some of which were delivered for duty as long ago as May.

51 carriages, built by Hyundai Rotem, were delivered during the summer months of last year – but remain out of use at stations in Dublin and Portlaoise because of ‘technical issues’.

Rail Users Ireland has complained about the length of the delay in rolling out the carriages, which it says are desperately needed given the overcrowding on many routes and the use of commuter carriages for long-distance journeys.

RUI spokesperson Mark Gleeson said the delay in putting the carriages into service was “unacceptable”, and forced many passengers to stand for long journeys on trains that are not suited to long-dstance travel.

Passengers travelling to and from Sligo were regularly asked to travel on commuter carriages which are not suited to long distances, he said, while trains from Westport sometimes now feature only three carriages where there used to be eight.

“All the evidence points to a failure on Irish Rail to manage the delivery and commissioning process to ensure the trains enter service promptly,” Gleeson said.

An Iarnród Éireann spokesperson, however, said it was “absolutely not true to say we’re deliberately withholding” rail carriages.

“During the course of the commissioning process, technical issues arose, and they are currently being ironed out with the manufacturers of the rail cars, Hyundai Rotem,” she said.

Though it was intended that the coaches be put into service before Christmas, this date was an “approximate” one, the spokesperson said.

“We wanted to ensure that every issue was ironed out before these rail cars entered service, in order to ensure reliability for our customers.”

The news comes on the day that rail fares go up for DART and commuter journeys, with an increase in intercity fares expected to be approved by the National Transport Authority later this year.

Gleeson said it was “absolute disgrace to enforce a sweeping range of fare increases while passengers continue to travel in sub-standard conditions.”

Dublin Bus cash fares have already risen by around 15 per cent, while Luas tickets have also risen.

Dart and Commuter fares set to rise today

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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