Carrick-on-Suir: Rail station unused due to unreliable timetable
‘They don’t inform public there will be no train – they just put on bus on the day instead’
Carrick-an-Suir railway station at rush hour last Friday. Photograph: John D Kelly
Not one person stood on the platform in a bleak and dilapidated Carrick-on-Suir railway station during “rush hour” last Friday evening.
“There is no train – it’s cancelled,” announced a signal man on duty at the deserted station before explaining that the cancellation of the few trains that stop in Carrick between Waterford and Limerick was a regular occurrence in the last five weeks.
“We never know until the day when a train is cancelled, the drivers are sick or on holidays and they can’t replace them,” he said.
In recent weeks, on the days that a train is cancelled a hired bus pulls into Carrick station in its place with the driver of the bus accompanied by the Irish Rail staff member that would have travelled on the train to hand out tickets. Last Friday just three people got off the bus and nobody got on before it continued on to Limerick at a quarter to five.
“They don’t inform the public that there will be no train – they just put on the bus on the day instead,” said the signal man.
The annual National Rail Census carried out by the National Transport Authority and Iarnród Éireann in 2015, details of which are contained in a draft review of rail services for Minister for Transport Shane Ross, showed Carrick-on-Suir station to be the quietest on the national rail network on census day, with just one passenger boarding a train at the station on that date.
It appears the train service for a town of more than 6,000 located on the border of Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny is not being availed of because the timetable is very limited and unreliable.
For years, pleas to Irish Rail to put on more services and promote the line have “fallen on deaf ears”, said Seamus Campbell of the Carrick-on-Suir Business Association.
“Every town needs a train station. The timetable is just not conducive to allowing people travel by train to Waterford or Clonmel for work. It is just not possible. Because the service is so restricted people car pool to get to work. The train station is of no real use to people as it is,” he said.
In recent years Irish Rail has stripped out one of the two lines that ran through the station and about 10 years ago cut the services in half.
The Carrick station was very busy back then because of the “boat train” to Rosslare and the beet trains between Mallow and Wellington Bridge, none of which now exist.