Originally Posted by Duncan
As for the claim that "not a single local" used the "Alan Kelly express".....
1. It's nonsense.
i never counted more than 4 people on it, on one day i was the only one on it
2. It wasn't an express. It was FAR slower than the current service, 20' slower than a fairly slow service. The up train stopped - excruciatingly - at almost every suburban station. Moreover, the down trains ran very late, EVERY night - 20' late was good, 30' late was common. New users quickly went back to their cars. And existing passengers drifted away too, since their return train was also affected.
you need to define "Current service" - do you mean via the junction or via nenagh? it couldnt be slower than a current service as there is no equivilent service.
the reason why the service stopped at every surburban staion is because that is exactly what it was - it was the existing portloaise/dublin service literally pulled back to limerick via nenagh.
3. That was one of the main reasons that usage was so low. The other was minimal promotion before launch, which led to very low loadings, which in turn generated a mass of negative publicity, which undermined the trickle of half-hearted advertising that followed later. And all that ensured the failure of the service.
the service ran for a year, the low loadings lasted all its time, including after heavy promotion which included timetables in shop windows, adverts in the tipp star and the midland tribune, tipp fm
4. The NCRP foresaw that outcome and begged IR to postpone, in an email to Dick Fearn (then MD) two weeks before the launch. Our msg was read and noted - but ignored. We didn't even get a substantive response, a marked contrast to every previous communication to Dick - whom we had met several times.
RUI made representations also - it was clear that the proper proceedures were not followed in putting this service in place.
5. Had we rumbled their game? If IR planned for this new service to fail, they could hardly have done a better job on it! Why would they do that? To teach an "uppity young minister" a lesson?????
No, irish rail in fact amended the departure timetable at least twice to make the service fit in with the desire to get the train up to dublin in a time slot which was attractive to commuters. Was this a case that the new minister for public transport decided that there was to be a service from his main voter base to the city and leave it to IE to put it in place no matter what? Who knows.
6. Having planted that thought, I should add that the above hypothesis doesn't depend on whether AK was behind the new train. I have no idea - but he never consulted the NCRP about it, which would be strange if it WAS his baby. (To be fair, neither did IR!) Moreover, if he was indeed behind it, it's remarkable that I recall not a murmur of crowing about it in the local media. And we all know the tendency of TDs to claim credit - even when none is due.
7. The NCRP does not support the assertion that the demand is for travel to Limerick. Quite the reverse. From Nenagh eastwards, by far the main demand is for travel to Dublin.
We disagree, and the proof is in the pudding. it doesnt matter if the "Alan Kelly Express" was stopping at intermediate stations, the fact was that it was getting into Heuston Station at a plumb time around the 8.30 mark. Currently the trains from Templemore get in at 7.50 and 8.55. Currently about a dozen or more people get on between the Templemore and Ballybrophy stations onto the train which arrives at 7.50 (I'll be on the later train next wekk so I can give you numbers there)
If the AK train still existed, it may be a better alternative for those passengers. But, they are exising mainline passangers - the fact is that when superior service existed virtually nobody used it.
in the alternate, the reason why the numbers going to limerick are potentally low is 100% down to the timetable. The numbers of people who work/study in limerick and find a trian which gets in at 8.45 and leaves at 16.55 is tiny. those who would find a train getting in at 8.20 and leaving at 5.30 would be much bigger.
8. Finally, the NCRP doesn't support the attitude that is the duty of the public to "support" any old train service, however poor the timetable: see #2 above. It is the duty of Irish Rail to run the national rail network properly, not to run some of it properly and neglect the rest.