IARNROD EIREANN is going 'off the rails' on the Sligo-Dublin line. That's the view of Sligo Chamber of Commerce over reductions to train services from January.
The company has confirmed that both the 7.05am and 9.05am services from Dublin to Sligo will cease. They will be replaced by one service departing Dublin at 8.05am.
This means that the first train will arrive in Sligo at 11.05am from the capital.
Chamber President Linda Moffitt, pictured, said: "This is devastating news for Sligo and very bad for business."
Despite a lobby to retain all eight existing daily services, the rail company has also announced that the 5.05pm and 7.05pm services from Sligo will also cease and be replaced with the last service departing MacDiarmada Station at 6.05pm.
The changes are due to come into effect from Sunday, January 20th, subject to the approval of the National Transport Authority.
Ironically, the Sligo-Dublin route is one of the most successful in the country. A total of 1.22 million passenger journeys were recorded last year. The Chamber President said: "These changes will have a significant impact on regular business users.
"To arrive in Sligo from Dublin at 11.05am is far too late."
Corporate Communications Manager with Iarnrod Eireann, Barry Kenny said: "We found that the 7.05am and 9.05am services to Sligo were lightly loaded.
"Therefore, we decided to amalgamate them into one service at 8.05am, which we feel will meet demand.
"These changes are being made after a period of consultation."
Mr. Kenny said a year-on-year review of services is carried out by Irish Rail and if further changes were required in 2014 the situation could be looked at again.
Linda Moffitt said :"A reduction in train services, which are a critical part of access infrastructure for tourism and business, is not what we need at this time."