Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: ar an traein
Very interesting that this practice of staying onboard which was common decades ago on Irish Sea services could make a comeback.
While acknowledging such changes will benefit all market segments (not just rail passengers) a fairly long lead in to any significant change is desirable on both practical and revenue optimisation grounds so that train services can be adjusted to best match the new arrangements.
The first option for Rosslare to Fishguard seems the best i.e. ex Rosslare 8.30am / 7pm; ex Fishguard 1.45pm and midnight (with the option to stay in cabin for 6 hrs).
Even with a full six hours in a cabin the second option and its proposed 02.30 sailing ex Rosslare is not necessarily an appealing sailing time for even the seasoned trucker, let alone the motorist or foot passenger. Under this proposed timetable it would be impossible for embarkation to commence before 01.15 at very best.
What I like about Rosslare at present is that the overnight rail sea and rail journey works in that it is continuous with no significant hanging around but that only suits if heading for South Wales.
Regarding Dublin if a 7pm sailing to Holyhead wasn’t met the far side by a train it would probably totally displace the rail-based foot passengers to Bus Éireann/Eurolines. Incidentally the overnight route 871 (London) coach enjoys very strong patronage and is often full/near full. Its route 880 (Leeds) counterpart often is around half full give or take but this can fluctuate. From time to time when heading to visit people in NW England I Sailrail if I can go daytime but at night always take the coach. There is no contest – at 4.25am I can either be starting to grab a few hours rest after already arriving whereas by rail the train would just be pulling out of Holyhead. Admittedly Eurolines only serves certain key cities and towns so rail is the only mode for many locations.
Advancing the morning conventional sailings slightly would be ok – but please leave the Irish Ferries Jonathan Swift at 08.45 – not being based in Dublin it’s impossible to reach Dublin by public transport in time for either the Stena Line or Irish Ferries conventional sailings and anytime I take the Swift it’s always a ‘mad dash’ invariably involving a taxi from the city centre.
It will be sad to see the Stena Explorer cease – hard to believe this month marks sixteen years since her entry into service on the route. Hypothetically would an alternative like the Stena Nordica serving Dún Laoghaire on one of her daily round trips be possible? (using the berth on the south side of St. Michael’s Pier/Ferry Terminal which the Stena Express/Lynx III served).
Final items of interest are in the recently released station usage figures for 2010-2011.
Holyhead = 241, 210 (up from 185,506 in 2009-2010)
Fishguard Harbour = 30,832 (up from 23,746 in 2009-2010)
(Reason – extra foot passengers in wake of Icelandic volcano).
The figures for Fishguard Harbour are for the period before the additional local trains were introduced last September when the only trains were the boat trains which understandably saw residual local usage due to the times they ran so 90 – 95% if not virtually all of the Fishguard figure pertains to foot passengers to/from Rosslare.
In contrast Holyhead’s train service is used by the local population so while the bulk of the additional usage is likely foot passengers to/from ferries there may also have been an increase in usage of the rail service by local people.
Last edited by Traincustomer : 06-04-2012 at 21:11. Reason: minor point of grammar
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