Irish Rail adds extra northside Dart services to ease capacity issues

Commuter says passengers ‘packed in like sardines’ since changed timetable brought in

Irish Rail is to add more Dart services on Dublin's northside from Monday in an attempt to address capacity issues that have arisen as a result of changes to the timetable on the rail line.

The new timetable, introduced last Sunday, means services are running every 10 minutes on the Dart line from Howth Junction to Bray. However, commuters have complained that the higher frequency was at the expense of capacity as the number of carriages on trains has been greatly reduced.

Angela Fleming, a nurse from Donaghmede, who has to be in work in the city centre for 8am, said she had "never seen things this bad" in her 13 years using the rail service. She said people travelling on some trains from Malahide to Pearse Street were "packed in like sardines".

She said there was “mayhem” from last Monday as a result of the timetable changes and that there was evident stress on people’s faces as they ran along platforms trying to get on board. Ms Fleming said this was at 7.15am and she would “not like to think what it was like later” in the morning.


‘Bedding in’

In a statement, Irish Rail said, “as with all timetables a period of bedding in is needed to ensure that the new timetable meets customers’ needs”.

The company acknowledged that "some capacity issues have arisen", particularly at northside stations closer to the city such as Harmonstown and Killester, since the timetable changed. However, an Irish Rail spokeswoman said the changes had provided a "much enhanced service to Dart commuters".

Irish Rail said that as a direct response to customer feedback, certain changes would be made from next Monday. Portmarnock will have two additional services: 07:29 Portmarnock-Pearse and 07:42 Portmarnock- Bray, while Clongriffin will have one extra service: 07:45 Clongriffin-Bray.

The company believes the changes will also address frequency concerns voiced by customers travelling from Portmarnock and Clongriffin.

The spokeswoman said that while some Dart services will be busier because of the reduced capacity, and it may be more difficult to get a seat than before, the company was satisfied this would be balanced by the higher frequency of services.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times