State Of The Railways


Sir, - I see from The Irish Times of October 19th that Mr Dempsey wishes to tax free off-street car spaces to encourage us to use public transport. His attention along with that of Ms O'Rourke, would be much better directed to the deplorable service provided by Iarnrod Eireann, particularly on the western commuter line from Maynooth.

Massive housing development has been taking place all along the line for a number of years yet no one in CIE, the Department of Environment or the Department of Public Enterprise (Transport) seems to have been capable of any strategic thinking over the past few years on future service requirements. There has been a myopic concentration on roads to the total neglect of railways.

We have now arrived at the ridiculous situation whereby, on the main morning services, all the seats are occupied, all the aisles are occupied, all the access areas at carriage ends and linkage spaces between carriages are occupied, the toilets are occupied and the guards van is occupied. What next? The roof? We have now reached a situation where, this morning, passengers were left stranded on the platform - next service in an hour's time. What an advertisement for public transport!

Morning trains are of old mainline vintage and do not have the space and design features of DART or Arrow services. Workplaces now have to comply with health and safety guidelines. What is the transport position: is there a maximum load for a train? Should passageways be kept clear? If there is an accident and overcrowding contributes to casualties, who is at fault? The cost of extra carriages might then seem minuscule vis-a-vis injury claims.

Finally, we have graffiti-covered stations, rubbish-strewn platforms and grime-encrusted stairways, especially at Tara Street - all more reminiscent of some Third World state than a "tiger" economy. - Your, etc., John Patton,

Castleknock, Dublin 15.