Cynics say that you know when a rail line is set for closure because the station gets a new lick of paint. Naturally my concerns grew when I went to Rosslare Strand to see the Waterford platform was painted and resurfaced that there was something a foot. The line serves Wellington Bridge and connects a rural hinterland to Waterford. Many of these small villages have lost their bus service last year and now will see their rail service go. As recently as 1995 there were 3 return trains to Waterford.
Fair play to Brendan Howlin, he flushed Irish Rail out. I’ve seen the correspondence from Irish Rail. They are seeking to put an alternative in placed for their passengers and are offering workers either a severance package or a transfer. The letter to Deputy Howlin is signed by a senior manager in Irish Rail. The fate of the line that links Wexford to Waterford, Cork, Limerick & Galway is sealed. After over 100 years the line will close.
I’ve blogged this matter before, I’ve explained how management blew €30K on taxi fares because they timetabled a Waterford crew to take the train to Rosslare after the last bus returned to Waterford. A Wexford crew was a possibility. I’ve also said how they never promoted the line despite fares being less than Bus Eireann. The timetable was altered making it awkward for passengers to sprint to Plunket Station for the train home.
I’ve written to the Transport Minister as well as the 2 greens who passed the book to Irish Rail. The greens are ostensibly a party of public transport and it is to their shame that they never lifted a finger to stop Irish Rail management. Not so much as a tweet out of Senator Dan Boyle. FF have no policy other than nationally saying one thing while Sean Connick TD touted by some as a possible Minister saying something else. If he’s appointed a Minister will he reverse this decision?
McCarthy called for the lines closure and now we’re starting to see McCarthy by stealth. Despite the fact that the train in to Waterford has a loyal passenger base each morning and is always at least half full and was reliable rail passengers from Wexford will now be faced with gridlock on the Ferrybank dual carriageway in order to get to work. I’ve travelled on that line twice in the 18 months. I’ve seen its potential. So too has RTE’s “Nationwide” which reported positively 4 weeks on the route. Run trains from Wexford to Limerick Junction. Allow connections to the Western Rail Corridor. Where’s the vision with Irish Rail?
Instead over time the line will deteriorate, sleepers will rot and ultimately it will be impossible to re-open a service along the line. Brendan Howlin will raise the matter on the adjournment on Tuesday night in Dail Eireann. Lets see what the Minister says in response.