My look onto Irish Rail from outside
I am after coming back in Germany from travelling in Ireland while I prefer the train in Ireland. As well, I have read about low patronage on the Ballybrophy - Nenagh - Limerick and the Waterford - Limerick line. Taking into account former experiences in Germany, a few general reforms are overdue. As I do not refer to one certain line, I have placed this thread under "General discussions".
At first, I want to point out that there are good practices at Irish rail. Ticketing, at the station as well as prebooked tickets, is transparent. Passengers can rely on it that a discounted ticket will be available online, let´s say, a few days before travelling. For long distance trains on busy routes, the availability of reasonably discounted tickets is more alike lottery in Germany. As well, I have rarely come across very delayed trains within 12 years of Ireland travels and never across canceled trains without notice beforehand what frequently happens in Germany. There are as well lessons what not to do in Ireland.
In Germany, passenger trains have been withdrawn on many lines or it has been thought about it on many further lines up till 30 years ago when new policies were slowly set up for regional rail transport. Since then, integrated tariffs have been set up in more and more regions for bus, tram and regional trains. As well, trains are running every hour or half an hour on most lines. Some rural branch lines have trains every two hours with hourly trains at peak times. These measures have lead to ever growing patronage which in some regions lead to restored passenger services. In rural regions, public transport on demand is frequently offered, mostly every hour or two hours. Parallel bus and train services have been endet, apart from urban regions where local busses feed into rail services.
For Ireland, these measures should be taken:
- trains every two hours with additional trains at peak times on all lines from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., on weekends and before bank holidays till midnight.
- hourly trains on the Dublin - Galway, Dublin - Cork and Dublin - Limerick lines; on the Dublin - Galway line, two hourly trains as backbone with additional trains between according to what the infrastructure allows could be the beginning, switching to hourly trains as soon as new passing lopps have been installed
- integrated Bus Éireann/Irish Rail-tickets, with the option to book a surplus for Bus Éireann for prebooked tickets
- no Bus Éireann services along operating railway lines while handling Córas Iompair Éireann as one company; bus timetables should be overhauled to feed into rail services
- add cash payment on collecting prebooked tickets as an option and sale of discounted tickets at vending machines up till one or two days before travel
- Dublin - Limerick trains via Nenagh after line upgrade and renewal; Nenagh and other towns would get direct trains from and to Dublin
- as you have stated, yet, Dublin - Galway trains via Mullingar to ease traffic on the line via Portarlington. On demand, the Dublin - Cork line could get additional trains
- direct trains from Rosslare via Waterford to Limerick city
- bring back Galway - Mayo - Sligo trains as soon as possible
- stops on demand at less frequently used stops
- of course, trains to Navan as soon as possible and commuter trains linking with the DART network at Conolly station before the DART network reaches Kildare
Thank you beforehand for your thoughts.