Irish Rail defends new logo cost
Loss-making Iarnrod Eireann has defended the cost and necessity of its new "Irish Rail" rebranding at a time when the central heating systems at its two biggest train stations are not working.
The underfloor heating at both Heuston and Connolly stations in Dublin are out of commission. A spokesman said their operating life had "expired".
The systems were installed in the mid-Nineties during a major renovation programme at both the northside and southside stations.
But to replace the existing systems would mean ripping up the concourse flooring to replace the worn-out systems.
"We did not turn off the heating to save money. It was simply that they are not working as they should. We will be looking this year to find a cost-effective way of improving or rectifying the problem."
"Train stations by their nature are wind tunnels and hard to heat in a cost-effective manner," spokesman Barry Kenny said.
The problem has emerged as the cash-strapped company rolls out a new company logo.
Mr Kenny declined to give an exact cost of the rebranding but said it was a "low five-figure sum." The contract was awarded after a competitive tender.
The new logo is being rolled out when current signage needs to be replaced. Market research showed there was confusion among customers over the separate brands currently in operation – Inter-City, Dart, and Commuter.
Now Inter-City and Commuter will have the new Iarnrod Eireann/ Irish Rail sign and logo – though DART will retain its distinctive livery and signage with the addition of the new logo to show it is part of the group.
"It will be a soft roll-out. Trains will only be repainted with the new logo as part of the maintenance cycle."
"The reason why we introduced it in January was because new timetables were coming into operation and new posters had to be put up. There will be no big bang," Mr Kenny said.
Irish Rail lost €21m last year but is in the process of hiring consultants to find ways of returning to profit by 2016.
Last month it emerged that the company has 21 surplus train carriages – worth some €44m – sitting idle. The carriages were part of a consignment of 51 carriages delivered to Irish Rail just as the recession hit in December 2008, a Dail Public Accounts Committee was told.
Over the past five years passenger numbers have fallen and there is no need for the extra carriages that were recommended by international consultants.