Tuesday 24 October 2017

Running on empty: the commuter train with no passengers

Barry Duggan

A commuter train that has no passengers left on it by the time it reaches the midway point of its journey is not completing its scheduled route.

Once a fortnight, the Limerick-Nenagh evening service returns to Colbert Station in the city without travelling on to the Co Tipperary town because there are no passengers on board.

Irish Rail's business development manager in Limerick, Jim Gallivan, confirmed that, once every two weeks, an evening service would be empty by the time it reached Birdhill, Co Tipperary, or Castleconnell, Co Limerick.

Irish Rail employees check the number of passengers in the carriages after it makes each scheduled stop.

"If there is nobody on board that service travelling on to Nenagh after it makes its stops at Birdhill or Castleconnell, then the train simply returns to Limerick," he said.

"What is the point in continuing on to to Nenagh when there are no passengers on it? It is a cost-saving exercise," he added.

There are two services from Nenagh to Limerick each morning and two return services in the evening.

"On average, about once a fortnight the 5.45pm service from Limerick to Nenagh does not complete its full journey," Mr Gallivan said.

"Quite often, a lot of people who would be annual ticket holders and are travelling on to Nenagh would have managed to get the earlier 4.45pm service."

The Nenagh-Limerick rail service began in September 2008 after much pressure was put on Irish Rail by community-based group, 'Nenagh Rail Partnership'.


Meanwhile, Irish Rail is offering a special cheap rate for passengers wishing to commute between Limerick and Galway this weekend.

Adults travelling between Colbert Station in Limerick and Ceannt Station in Galway on New Year's Day and January 2 can avail of a special €10 return fare. A return fare for children under the age of 16 is €5.

The special rate will not be available online.

Irish Independent

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