Calleary meets with Irish Rail Officials – Discusses Mayo Service Issues

Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary met with officials of Irish Rail in Dublin this week and took the opportunity to raise a number of issues pertaining to services to and from Mayo.

Deputy Calleary said, “I was delighted to have the opportunity to sit face-to-face with officials of Irish Rail and to impress upon them the importance of rail services to Mayo.

“Passenger and Freight rail are crucial services for the county. It is my opinion that there is considerable scope for expansion of existing services on the Intercity Service as well as on the Western Rail Corridor in the context of the Atlantic Economic Corridor.

“It is time for Irish Rail to fully embrace the Western Rail Corridor and its potential and the company should be leading the debate in terms of the potential of the WRC in the context of a public transport response to the demands of Climate Change, to the freight and passenger potential offered by the Atlantic Economic Corridor and a rail connection to Ireland West Airport Knock.

“I also took the opportunity to raise a range of service issues that have been brought to my attention by constituents recently. I raised the issues and offered possible solutions,” explained Calleary.

Issue: All passenger services are focused on a to and from Dublin basis.

Solution: Greater thought and promotion should be given to inter-region services eg Mayo-Galway-Mayo Sligo etc.

Issue: –Need for Early Morning Train Service from Ballina

We accept we live a considerable distance from Dublin but if we have a meeting before 11.15 am, it is necessary to either travel by car or take the Sligo train as though the first train runs from Westport, there is no connection from Ballina.

Suggestion: Add a connection to the early morning train from Ballina.

Issue: Capacity on services

Trains are so often over capacity because of the small number of carriages (often three) on many of the train services to Mayo. Many passengers must remain standing for long sections of the journey. By comparison, this is totally at variance to the Sligo service which always seems to have the full complement of carriages and ample seating provision as a result.

Suggestion: Use the additional carriages on the Mayo train. The journey experience will improve and the use of the service will increase.

Issue: Platform Choices at Heuston

 For reasons of making efficient use of the time travelling to and from work, we like to arrive and get onto the train and start working on the laptop. This is very possible on the Sligo train as the train location is readily visible on arrival to Connolly station (on the return journey home). The Westport/Ballina train seems to always be located far away on Platform 7, a long walk away and the platform or train is not opened until close to the departure time which results in a mad dash by all in a short time. We would have no issue with the train being located on Platform 7 on occasions but this is another disincentive when compared to the Sligo train service.

Suggestion: Vary the location of the train platform and allow the train to open earlier rather than having a mad rush to the train down once announced on the board as platform 7. This platform could be rotated with other trains rather which would be fairer.

Issue: ETickets/Replacement Tickets

In the interest of sustainability, e-tickets should issue, rather than having to collect a paper ticket at the machine. It is also totally unfair that when one mislays a ticket, despite a record of the booking, it is necessary to buy a second physical ticket at an elevated price. It happened to me once, and though I had paid €40 for a return ticket and had evidence of this, I was required to pay an additional €36 for a single journey. I found the ticket when I returned home but there was no scope to look for any refund.

Suggestion: Use E-Tickets like may bus operators / trains across the EU (e.g. Aircoach tickets which use modern day barcodes). This would save the cost of printed tickets and printed receipts and print machines in stations.

Other issues/suggestions:-Shelter at Manulla/Seat Booking/Extend LEAP Cards/Booking Office Staff/Ballina Station Exterior

  • A covered shelter is required in Manulla – passengers awaiting trains are often required to stand in the winter elements (rain, cold etc.)
  • Seat booking notices are often not working or are late being displayed – it is difficult to understand whether the aisle seat or window seat is booked when one of these is booked. There is always confusion and it is awkward to arrive at a booked seat and ask someone to leave.

Seat bookings should be visible before the train starts

  • Tickets should be integrated with the Leap cards and it should be possible to buy a ticket from Ballina to Dublin city centre (rather than one for a train and a separate one for a bus or Luas, where none of these are available to do in an integrated fashion online).
  • The need for staff to be available at booking office

 

  • The need to replace the trees felled on the exterior of Ballina Rail Station

 

“I look forward to working with Irish Rail to see these issues reach a satisfactory conclusion with a better service for Mayo resulting,” concluded the Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader.