Wednesday 20 March 2019

Train service labelled 'snail'

The Enterprise service
The Enterprise service

Margaret Roddy

The Enterprise service which links Dublin and Belfast has been branded an 'infrequent snail' by a former British government minister.

Labour peer Lord Adonis took to Twitter and he arrived at Dublin's Connolly Station at 9.30am on Monday to get the train to Belfast, only to discover there was no service until 11.20am.

Venting his frustration, he tweeted: 'Antiquated diesel loco & carriages for 1120 Dublin to Belfast. The train is called 'ENTERPRISE' but it should be called 'INFREQUENT SNAIL' - train once every 2 hours, taking 2 hours for a distance of under 100 miles linking 2 greatest cities of Ireland!'

Lord Adonis, who served as Secretary of State for Transport in Gordon Brown's Labour government between 2009 and 2010k, expanded his criticism during an interview on BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster Show.

'Trains go every two hours, 100 miles in distance and take two hours and twenty minutes. I simply couldn't believe it,' Lord Adonis told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster.

'I'm a newcomer to the trains in Ireland but to be quite frank I was shocked at how bad the service was.

'It is cheap but having a low fare and a terrible service isn't a great equilibrium. You want good value fares, but you want a decent service."

'It needs to be sorted out, in England we have a service every twenty minutes between London and Birmingham.'

'If I was a business leader in Belfast thinking about the economic future I would be putting this at the top of the agenda.'

He said that current plans to upgrade Northern Ireland's rail service lacked substance.

'There are some aspirations there but there are no plans, aspirations without a plan and without political leadership,' Lord Adonis said.

In response to the criticism Translink said that they had 'ambitious' development plans with southern partner Iarnród Éireann.

'The strategy sets out a road map of how both companies jointly plan to further enhance the service on this important north/south rail corridor,' a Translink spokesperson said.

'It envisages the introduction of new fleet to allow for an hourly frequency between the two cities and the ambition to reduce the average journey time to less than two hours within five years.'

The Argus