COMMUTERS across Dublin were hit with massive disruption today – with the freezing weather forecast to last another week.
Many people experienced nightmare journeys trying to make it into the office as DART, Luas and bus services were crippled.
Severe delays hit DART and commuter routes during peaktime this morning, especially on the northside.
Hold-ups of over 40 minutes occurred following a failure of the points system on the track at East Wall and hundreds of passengers were forced to walk part of their journey when the DART ground to a halt at one point.
Driving conditions were more dangerous this morning than at any time since the freeze began, seven days ago.
Particular problems were experienced in the Kildare and Wicklow areas where road temperatures on the N81 went as low as -9C and air temperatures were -15.3C
The grim news is that the bitterly cold weather is forecast to continue for another week.
The latest band of snow and sleet swept in from the west during the night before hitting Leinster later on.
Hundreds of national and secondary schools, as well as many third-level institutions, closed again today.
Five young men who became trapped in snow drifts last night near Lough Bray, close to the Sally Gap, in Co Wicklow, have been rescued.
Dublin Bus and Luas services were badly hit this morning, after both were suspended last night.
Frozen commuters were greeted with a sign in Dublin's Connolly Station yesterday afternoon telling them the next train to Maynooth would be in 270 minutes.
The arctic weather has caused a huge fall-off in trade at Dublin city centre stores.
PJ Timmins, chief executive of Clerys, on O'Connell Street, said the store had seen a 50pc drop in business during the past few days.
Dublin Airport was fully operational today, though passengers were asked to contact their airline before arriving at the terminals.
Siobhan Moore, of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), said the public should be prepared for delays.
“If conditions deteriorate further we'll have to review it,” she said.
Some 150 flights were cancelled in Dublin Airport yesterday.
All Luas services were stopped around 7pm as too much snow piled up on the tracks, while Dublin Bus was forced to stop at 9pm.
This morning, trams operated on the Red Line from the Red Cow to Abbey Street only, while the Green Line was operational between Sandyford and Beechwood.
Dublin Bus operated services on all corridors this morning but, because of icy roads, significant curtailments and diversions were in place, especially in suburban housing estates (for information check www.transport. ie).
Bus Eireann said most of its services around the country were operating as normal. However, there were delays and diversions in badly hit areas, including the suspension of the Dublin to Rosslare service.
Nicola Hudson, of AA Roadwatch, said road and air temperatures were extremely cold this morning.
Particular problems were experienced in the Kildare and Wicklow areas where road temperatures on the N81 went as low as -9C and air temperatures were -15.3C, Mr Hudson said.
However, the M4 in Kildare improved slightly through the morning, though the M7 remained very icy in parts.
The M1 between Drogheda and Dublin was one of the worst routes, with severe problems at the Lissenhall junction.
Drivers were warned to stay in the middle and right-hand lanes as the left-hand lane was “absolutely treacherous”, Ms Hudson said.
Access to the Phoenix Park was extremely limited.
The Castleknock gate, Survey Road, Upper Glen Road and Knockmaroon gate were closed, while access to the Chapelizod Gate was restricted to hospital traffic.
Air temperatures on the M50 at the Blanchardstown junction were down to nearly -7C.
All the main Dublin city centre and commuter routes were very icy, with compacted snow emerging as a particular problem, especially on the south of the city.