Both Kildare North Fianna Fáil TDs have said that the allocation of funding to provide new rail carriages will do little to alleviate the overcrowding challenges faced by passengers in the short and medium term along the Kildare line following reports that the first contract for new carriages is unlikely to be awarded before the end of the year.
James Lawless commented, “I welcome this long overdue investment in Irish rail services, which is now serving a record number of passengers each year. It is vital to invest in Ireland’s public transport, if we are to reduce the congestion and environmental pollution that is plaguing our country. While the funding for new carriages is to be welcomed, it is disappointing that the first contract, for 41 new carriages, is not due to be awarded until the end of the year.”
“This end of year delivery will do little to reduce overcrowding on trains in the short to medium term as the lead-in time for the delivery of all carriages is extremely long. Irish Rail has also dropped plans to refurbish older carriages in the fleet, ruling it out on cost grounds.”
“Minister Ross needs to explain what he will now do in the short-term to support Irish commuters. Is he still considering hiring second-hand trains to cope with demand? Will he lease trains immediately to alleviate overcrowding and if not will alternative transport services, such as buses, be provided along busier routes? My invite to the Minister to travel from Kildare to Leinster House by train still stands.”
Frank commented, “As of now, there will be no space for additional passengers to travel on peak train services from Sallins / Hazelhatch or Kilcock, Maynooth / Leixlip.”
“I called last year on Irish Rail to secure to refurbish the 28 rail carriages that had entered service in 1998 and are held in storage since 2012. I understand that they have ruled this option out. I am now calling on Irish Rail, with the support of the Minister for Transport, to immediately lease or hire carriages.”