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NTA Considers Ending Direct Rail Services Between Wexford and Dublin

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NTA Considers Ending Direct Rail Services Between Wexford and Dublin

NTA Considers Ending Direct Rail Services Between Wexford and Dublin
April 04
16:40 2024

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is exploring the possibility of discontinuing direct rail services between County Wexford and Dublin, according to recent developments.

Two independent studies examining the capacity of the Rosslare route are contemplating a scenario where passengers traveling from the Rosslare line would switch from intercity trains to Dart carriages at either Wicklow or Greystones stations.

This proposal arises as passenger numbers on the line have witnessed significant growth in recent years. Daily boardings at Wexford station more than doubled between 2013 and 2022, with similar increases noted at Enniscorthy station. In response to rising demand, Irish Rail introduced a new night-time service between Gorey and Connolly in May 2022.

Simultaneously, Rosslare port is undergoing rapid expansion, particularly post-Brexit, with the construction of a new €170 million facility to accommodate various personnel including gardaí, customs, HSE, and Department of Agriculture staff, initiated by Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan in September last year.

Irish Rail, the owner of the port, has outlined ambitious plans for extensive development and investment at Rosslare, including proposals for an offshore renewable energy hub.

However, an email from Hugh Creegan, the deputy chief executive of the NTA, to Senator Malcolm Byrne suggests that current proposals envision terminating train services from Rosslare/Gorey at either Wicklow or Greystones stations, where passengers would transfer to Dart services. This plan aims to enable more frequent services between Rosslare and Wicklow/Greystones, integrating with the frequent Dart services northwards.

Mr. Creegan indicated that a feasibility study for a Dart battery train service between Greystones and Wicklow town is ongoing to determine the most suitable interchange point. While the study is evaluating the potential for an hourly Dart service, it is still in the early stages.

Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny noted the challenge of delivering additional frequency on the Rosslare to Dublin line amidst the high frequency of Dart services from Bray to Dublin. He emphasised the importance of maximising capacity in the Greater Dublin Area and facilitating increased services on the Rosslare line, including an interchange to connect to Dart services.

Despite these considerations, the proposal to require passengers to change trains at Wicklow or Greystones has faced criticism. Critics argue that such a requirement may deter passengers from using rail services and could potentially undermine the viability of the Rosslare line.

Groups such as Rail Users Ireland and South East on Track have raised concerns about the practicality and feasibility of the proposed changes, advocating for alternative solutions to improve services on the Rosslare line without compromising passenger convenience or accessibility.

As discussions and evaluations continue, the fate of direct rail services between Wexford and Dublin remains uncertain, with stakeholders emphasising the need for careful consideration of all options to ensure the continued efficiency and accessibility of the rail network.

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