Public disappointed as DART fails to deliver


Iarnrod Eireann disappointed commuters in Greystones and Malahide yesterday as the latest deadline for a "comprehensive peak-time" DART service to these towns was missed.

Over the weekend the company had taken out newspaper advertisements advising commuters that "major improvements" were to be introduced from yesterday morning, extending for the first time a "comprehensive peak and off-peak service" to and from Greystones, Malahide and Portmarnock.

The advertisements highlighted 10 new DART trains and Government spending of half a billion pounds on railways in the Dublin area.

However, by 8.30 a.m. yesterday, gaps in scheduling, delays, a breakdown at Portmarnock and the cancellation of a train due to the fact a driver was unable to work had commuters returning home for their cars.

In Greystones the arrival of the "comprehensive peak" service was heralded - for the third time in six years - with music and a carnival-style atmosphere.

However, local man Mr Paddy Butler on arriving at the station was told the 8.04 a.m. DART had left and the next was due at 10.34 a.m. A mainline train would serve the station at about 9.45 a.m., he was told. "I was extremely unhappy, and I told an official so, but it's not his fault. I would have had a go at Mary O'Rourke if she was there."

In Malahide the 8.09 a.m. DART for Dublin left on time but broke down at Portmarnock. The train was, however, able to proceed slowly to Howth Junction where passengers could wait for a mainline train.

In Howth the 8.24 a.m. DART to Dublin, which would have travelled much of the same route as the disabled Malahide train, was cancelled as the driver was unable to work.

Mr Barry Kenny of Iarnrod Eireann conceded it was a "bad morning" on the north-bound lines but maintained the Greystones service was "much better than it was a few months ago".