While no decision has yet been made to cut the Dublin-Sligo rail services, Irish Rail has confirmed to the Leader that “in view of the impact of the ongoing economic recession on our business, we have to examine the level of demand for our train services on all routes at all different times of the day and the week”.
Barry Kenny, Corporate Communications Manager at Irish Rail, confirmed in a statement: “Where there are trains that are greatly under-utilised, it may be necessary for us to amend the schedules accordingly.”
He added: “Before we can do this, we are required to obtain the approval of the National Transport Authority (NTA). We also intend to publish any draft schedules on our website, and invite our customers to give us feedback as part of a public consultation on the proposed schedules.”
Mr Kenny advised, however, that no changes would occur to the schedule for the remainder of 2012.
Speaking about passenger numbers on the Dublin-Sligo line, Mr Kenny confirmed that a total of 1.23 million passenger journeys were made on the line in 2011 and that “year-to-date 2012 sees demand largely unchanged”.
“The busiest times daily are the commuting focused hours (morning arrivals into Dublin, afternoon/early evening departures from Dublin), and Friday afternoon (Dublin-Sligo) and Sunday afternoon (Sligo-Dublin), would be the busiest times of the week.
“Journeys beyond the commuter belt on the 19:05 would be very low, indicating a limited demand for late evening services at present,” he added.