Longer Luas trams withdrawn due to fault in system

New 55-metre Luas expected to return to full service in May, says NTA chief

A 55-metre tram  on O’Connell Bridge, blocking traffic. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

A 55-metre tram on O’Connell Bridge, blocking traffic. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

The new longer Luas trams have been withdrawn from service following the discovery of an electrical fault in them.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) said the 55-metre trams, which were introduced in February and can hold an extra capacity of 60 passengers, are undergoing checks and are not available to operate at peak times.

The two new trams have been withdrawn due to an electrical fault in their batteries and have been replaced by older trams until the problem is resolved.

NTA chief executive Anne Graham said she expected the longer trams would return to full service in May and that a new Luas timetable would be implemented once all the trams were tested and operating.

“There’s no doubt that it’s a longer journey now because of the Luas Green Line extension, which does impact on the number of trams that are available. But the longer trams were supposed to bring the capacity back up to the same level,” she said.

“We would recognise that it has been a sub-optimal service delivery in the last number of months, but we’re working tirelessly to address what those issues are.”

Maintenance impact

Ms Graham said maintenance work at the Sandyford depot had impacted upon the availability of trams and that Storm Emma had also placed a strain on resources. She said all transport bodies involved were meeting on a daily basis to address the delays to the service.

Asked whether traffic congestion at College Green was still playing a role in service delays, Ms Graham said improvements had been made in terms of the movement of buses, Luas trams and pedestrians through changes in bus routes in the city centre area.

Ms Graham reiterated the NTA supported the development of the College Green plaza, saying it would significantly improve traffic through the area.

Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said this week that long delays and overcrowding had become “the norm” for Luas passengers following a series of delays on Tuesday on both the Red and Green lines.

‘Increasingly overcrowded’

“It seems now that lengthy delays have simply become the norm for Luas commuters as trams are increasingly overcrowded, and frequency is becoming ever more sporadic,” said Mr Richmond in a statement.

“Understandably vexed commuters once again inundated my office all day with complaints following yet another terrible day of service.

“Around 100,000 commuters use the Luas every day, paying high fares, to see the once flagship service crumbling with excessive delays, stoppages, overcrowding and insufficient staff numbers,” he said.

There have been problems with Luas services and with traffic in the city centre since the introduction of the Cross City line last December.