Train drivers’ dispute triggers rail delays

HUNDREDS of rail passengers suffered hours of delays after Iarnród Éireann axed more than a dozen services in and out of Dublin over Easter.

Irish Rail said further services would be cancelled tomorrow in another day of delays triggered by a dispute with drivers over rosters.

Last night passenger groups said the cancellation of services was an unacceptable inconvenience to the public and urged passengers to demand refunds.

“We are unhappy with the situation and especially over the lack of information from Iarnród Éireann,” said Rail Users Ireland (RUI) spokesman Mark Gleeson. “We would urge all affected passengers to put in for the refunds at Iarnród Éireann booking offices or online.”

Yesterday four trains on the Dublin Heuston to Cork line were cancelled. Iarnród Éireann also made minor alterations to other services on the route and to trains on the Tralee to Mallow line.

In addition 10 services on the Dublin-Maynooth line were cancelled.

Services between Dublin Connolly and Sligo, Belfast, and Rosslare Europort were replaced by bus transfers.

Last night the RUI blamed driver shortages in Cork for the cancellation of services to and from Dublin and knock-on effects to trains in Munster.

“There aren’t enough drivers in Cork, so drivers are being telephoned on their day off and asked to work,” said Mr Gleeson.

“They get a roster at the start of the week and they stick to it. Staff don’t want to work on their days off.”

The RUI said passengers were entitled to a refund of half the single fare if their train was cancelled and should get the money even if they travelled on a later service. Those with a reserved seat might be able to get a full refund of a single fare if they were forced to catch a later journey and had to stand, the RUI said.

Tomorrow’s cancellations are: the 1.38pm from Connolly to Clonsilla and the 2.10pm Clonsilla to Docklands trains; the 3.40pm and 6.08pm Connolly to Maynooth trains, and the 5.05pm and 6.58pm return services; the 2.45pm Pearse to Balbriggan train and the 4.16pm return; and the 5.40pm Drogheda to Connolly train and the 6.15pm return.

Meanwhile the 4pm Connolly to Sligo and 5pm Sligo to Connolly services will be replaced by buses.

Iarnród Éireann said the disruption was due to “operational problems associated with drivers’ issues”.

Talks between management and unions have failed to resolve a number of issues, one being the number of rest days drivers are requested to work on.

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