Irish Rail and anti-social behaviour
So last night there was a fight on the 1905 to Sligo - in the middle of nowhere between Mullingar and Edgeworthstown. It didn't progress beyond roaring and shoving but one of them stormed off muttering about getting a hammer. I think the trolley attendant came close to getting himself a slap for looking at one of the protagonists the wrong way. There were elderly people and children on the train who were quite shaken but nobody got up to do anything about it - there is nothing the driver can do really except ring ahead to get the guards. Using the comms buttons is not really a solution as you have to walk the length of a carriage to get to them and this is likely to make you a victim.
I've rang the anti-social behaviour number before but this is very poorly publicised and as the last time I rang it went to messages, this is a waste of time. Really all I could do was let the station attendant in Edgeworthstown know what was going on and ask him to ring control. He's on his own in the middle of nowhere as well so he can't get involved.
This is an issue that goes beyond Irish Rail and it is tough to see how they can deal with it. All that can be done is to get the guards at a properly staffed station like Longford or Mullingar - anything else will just make the situation worse. Having a ticket attendant or security on board can help as it sends a message that low-level anti-social behaviour won't be tolerated but it's expensive. Another really cheap thing that would help a lot would be to have a text message number and publicise it on the trains that would allow people to discretely alert somebody. This could be monitored by an external security company if necessary.
I'm on a train where there is some sort of anti-social behaviour a couple of times a month - almost always the 1905 to Sligo. This varies from crowds of roaring and shouting undesireables getting pissed out of slabs of beer or 2-litres of cider to people fighting. In fairness, it is usual just the former but should the vast majority of people who just want to travel in peace with their children have to put up with this? Irish Rail seem to just wash their hands of it and I wouldn't be surprised if the trolley disappeared off this service in the near future as the poor person operating it has to put up with a lot of crap.