Saturday, January 12, 2013

Trainspotting (but not much passenger spotting) at the Merrion Gates

Yesterday late afternoon I was stopped on my bicycle at the Merrion Gates railway crossing waiting for the DART to pass by. This seems to happen all the time when I travel this road, so I have plenty of time to indulge in a bit of train spotting. Like a lot of other people I have noticed in the recent months that many trains are reduced from 8 carriages to 6, sometimes 4, and even 2 carriages in response to lower passenger numbers.

DART. Image Source: Wikipedia.
It was exactly 5 o'clock, rush hour was upon us, the roads were very busy, and I would have expected the train I was waiting for to pass to be very crowded with commuters heading home. Instead, the 8 carriage train was almost empty - at a guess I would have thought that all the passengers that were on the train would have fitted comfortably into ONE carriage with nobody standing. This was not an out-of-service or an empty train heading out to the suburbs in the morning to bring back a load of commuters to the city centre - it should have been full of commuters, but instead this was an expensive way to carry a handful of people home.

So I asked myself: 
  • Who in Iarnród Éireann timetabled an empty train? 
  • Where are all the commuters?
  • Why were there 8 carriages?
  • Why are there so many near-empty trains (and buses)?
  • Is anybody doing anything about this?
  • Why am I as a taxpayer paying for this?
Rant over - that feels better!

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