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THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has indicated its approval for Iarnród Éireann’s contemptible plan to cull its services on the south Wexford branch.
It illustrates clearly the political power behind the state body which has now effectively demonstrated it can literally get what it wishes with no regulatory interference. The functions of the NTA should be reviewed and any power or rights conferred on it removed because it is not exercising them to the benefit of the wider population, but only to the benefit of CIE management.
The various reports published in recent times set out grounds for a structured timetable to be provided on this line, with three services a day mentioned on several occasions.
Significant cost savings could be made by upgrading signalling and the installation of automatic level crossings, hence removing the requirement for gatekeepers. But, of course, this would be the logical step.
The NTA mentioned how Irish Rail is “contractually obliged” to maintain the line in order to make it usable should the demand manifest itself once more.
Was this not the case with other rail lines such as Limerick-Foynes and Mullingar-Athlone? It is blatantly obvious from even a passing glance neither line has been “maintained” since the day it was closed.
It is time to stand down CIE and Irish Rail managements before further irreversible damage is caused throughout the national rail network – as it is now only a case of when, and not if, closures of other lightly used lines such as Limerick-Ballybrophy and Limerick Junction-Waterford take place.
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