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Commuters feel pinch as more trains to be cut

THE first train services to be cut because of the Irish Rail cash crisis are revealed today and include the midlands, the north-west and Dublin suburbs.

Similar cuts to the south, south-east and west from Heuston Station in Dublin will be announced in the coming weeks.

The company has just applied to increase rail fares by 6pc.

Irish Rail's plan to axe services due to soaring fuel costs, the new motorway network, competition from bus routes and falling passenger numbers was first revealed in the Irish Independent on August 30.

Off-peak services to Sligo, Longford and Balbriggan and from the M3 Parkway and Clonsilla are affected.

Some services are being axed completely, while others will be amalgamated.

The changes, due to come in at the end of the year, include:

• Three services from Dublin Connolly to Balbriggan will be cancelled.

• Four services between Connolly and Sligo will be amalgamated into two.

• One service from Longford to Connolly will be cut and another on the Connolly-Longford route will only operate as far as Maynooth.

• Off-peak and weekend train services from the M3 Parkway (beside Dunboyne, Co Meath) will go to Clonsilla instead of Dublin city centre. Passengers will have to change to a Maynooth train.

• One off-peak service in each direction between Dublin and Balbriggan will be cancelled.

Irish Rail said: "The review of schedules has prioritised maintaining services to customers while reducing operating costs."

The company was recently given a €36m cash injection to head-off widespread cuts in services.

Irish Independent