Irish Rail cuts off-peak DART capacity to save money

Number of carriages reduced in bid to save €3.2m in fuel and maintenance costs

Shorter DART trains  have been introduced from today during off-peak times.  There will be no changes to weekend services. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Shorter DART trains have been introduced from today during off-peak times. There will be no changes to weekend services. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

The number of carriages on off-peak DART services has been reduced as part of an Iarnród Éireann plan to save €3.2 million in annual fuel and maintenance costs.

DART trains had been either four or six carriages in length.

However, this has been cut to to two between 10am and 4 pm and after 7pm every weekday.

The changes were introduced today and will apply to all DART routes.

There will be no changes to weekend services.

An Irish Rail spokesman said even with fewer carriages the trains are “absolutely not” expected to be overcrowded.

“We’ve looked at it very carefully. Even on a two-carriage DART you have over 100 seats,” he said, adding that the shorter trains should not experience the type of overcrowding seen during peak hours.

“The vast majority of people will be able to travel and get seats,” he said.

Iarnród Éireann saidcapacity can be increased during off-peak times to meet higher demand, for example, during major events.

“We can be more dynamic on meeting the actual demands that exist,” the spokesman said. “You can change the train sizes to meet that demand a lot more. On certain routes we’ll be increasing capacity and reducing it on others”.

He cited the example of capacity on the 16.40pm Bray to Malahide service increasing from 6 to 8 carriages.

At present 65 per cent of all daily DART passengers travel during four peak hours, 7.30am to 9.30am and 4.30 to 6.30pm.

The remaining 35 per cent of passengers use the service outside these times.

Intercity

Iarnród Éireann is also reconfiguring services on its 234 carriage intercity fleet.

Currently there are 48 three-carriage trains and 15 six carriage trains. This will be changed to form 45 four-carriage trains and 18 three-carriage trains.

These changes will apply to all intercity routes with the exception of Dublin to Belfast, which is operated by the Enterprise service, and the Mark iV trains which travel between Dublin and Cork.

The company said that the reconfiguration, which will be implemented on phased basis by year end, will allow more flexibility to adapt to capacity oversupply and shortages.

Through different combinations three, four, six, seven, eight, and nine carriage trains will now be possible.

Cost Savings

Since 2007 the company’s energy usage has dropped by 34 per cent, which has resulted in a €16 million saving.

More energy efficient trains, competitive tendering of electricity supply, reduced train sizes along with temperature and lighting control systems in buildings to prevent wastage are some of the measures implemented to achieve this saving.

However, part of it has also been due to reduced demand for services. According its 2012 annual report Irish Rail’s passengers dropped by 0.5 million on the year before.

The reduced carriage numbers will not be accompanied by lower ticket prices.

“We are in a very difficult financial position,” the spokesman said, adding that the company had to make cost savings in addition to maintaining or increasing revenues.

There will be no changes to Iranród Éireann’s commuter services.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.