Irish Rail criticised for giving priority to service

IRISH RAIL was accused of treating its Limerick customers as second class citizens in order to give priority to Cork passengers in a new schedule of morning services to Dublin.

A new schedule involves the early-morning direct train which departs Colbert Station in Limerick at 6.30am having to move into a slow lane to Dublin to allow the new Cork morning express to overtake and get into Heuston earlier.

The move means that the Cork passengers get into Heuston Station ahead of the Limerick early-morning travellers, even though the line from Cork to Dublin is 48km longer than the Limerick/Dublin line.

Under the new schedule, a direct new super-train leaves Colbert Station each morning at 6.30am and gets into Heuston at 8.55am.

But passengers have been amazed to find if they opt for the train connecting Colbert Station with Limerick Junction at 6.40am and then change at Limerick Junction, they get into Dublin at 8.45am.

A spokesman for Irish Rail said the early train out of Limerick moves into a “slow” lane at Hazelhatch to allow the new 6.15am Cork/Dublin express, which stops at Mallow and Limerick Junction, to overtake.

The rail spokesman said the situation had arisen due to the scheduling of the new early morning express service out of Cork to Heuston which has seen the travel time reduced from two hours 50 minutes to two-and-a-half hours.

The spokesman said: “We are developing new express services between Cork and Dublin and Galway and Dublin.”

Limerick commuters who opt for a later train to connect with the Cork express at Limerick Junction get to Dublin 10 minutes ahead of Limerick passengers who opt for the earlier direct train out of Colbert station.

Niall Collins TD said: “I was late last week for the 6.30am direct train and had to get the 6.40am commuter shuttle which connects Colbert Station with Limerick Junction. At Limerick Junction I got on the Cork express to Dublin and I was flabbergasted to find out that I arrived in Heuston 10 minutes before the direct Limerick train which I had missed. I don’t begrudge Cork commuters an express service, but it is not acceptable that early morning commuters out of Colbert Station have to travel in a train which has to give priority to the Cork train on its journey. People pay the same fares and they are entitled to the same service.”

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