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Unread 28-01-2016, 18:25   #1
Mickey H
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Default Translink scraps timetable

BELFAST TELEGRAPH 28.01.2016

Translink scraps timetable that would have slowed Belfast to Dublin Enterprise

By Adrian Rutherford Published 28/01/2016

A new timetable which would have meant longer train journeys between Belfast and Dublin has been scrapped, the boss of Translink has said.

Chris Conway told MLAs that proposed changes to the cross-border Enterprise service were not workable.

Any adjustments will not come into operation before April, and will be "very minor" with no increase in journey time, Mr Conway said.

The Belfast Telegraph reported in December how proposed timetable changes would have added 11 minutes to commuters' journeys.

An earlier 6.15am Belfast departure time had been due to begin at the end of January.

But the Enterprise would not reach Dublin's Connolly Station until 8.41am.

That would mean a journey time of two hours and 26 minutes - 11 minutes longer than at present and longer than the two hours and 25 minutes it takes to travel by bus.

The proposed changes had been published on the Irish Rail website as part of a consultation with customers in the Republic, but were not made public in Northern Ireland, causing anger.

Appearing before Stormont's regional development committee yesterday, Mr Conway confirmed that the changes would not proceed.

"I have met with the chief executive of Irish Rail twice in January and the chair of Irish Rail and the chair of Translink have also met, and we've agreed that the proposed timetable by Irish Rail as it was outlined in their consultation is not a workable solution," he said. Mr Conway said the current timetable was the starting point for a discussion.

He added that there would be "a genuine attempt to enhance the service offered for cross-border customers. The earliest a new timetable would now be implemented would be early in April," he added.

An Enterprise management board has been set up to agree timetables, improvements in journey times and future investment and strategy.

Asked by committee chair Trevor Clarke about the new timetable, Mr Conway said it contained "very minor adjustments".

There will be no increase in journey time, he confirmed.

SDLP MLA John Dallat welcomed the announcement, saying longer train journeys were "not acceptable".

"If the timetable in its original format had gone ahead ... we would be setting back for ever and a day opportunities to create that express service that we all want," he said.

Mr Dallat added: "A train service from Belfast to Dublin arriving before 9am is absolutely critical in this modern day and age. I can't think of any other cities in Europe where that wouldn't be the case."

Currently, the Enterprise service leaves from Central Station.

However, MLAs were told the long-term plan is to move this back to Great Victoria Street station, which would knock several minutes off the journey time.

The committee also heard that a fault which led doors to open unexpectedly while the train was moving did not put passenger safety at risk.

Separate incidents occurred on December 17 and January 6. In the first case, a train manager on a service leaving Dublin heard air coming through the door.

The train stopped at the next station, was taken out of service and returned empty to Belfast where it was discovered that a bolt was faulty.

On January 6, a door partially opened "momentarily" before the Dublin-bound train arrived in Dundalk.

Ian Campbell, Translink's general engineering manager, told the committee: "At no time was there a risk caused by these incidents to our passengers or staff."
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Unread 28-01-2016, 19:45   #2
James Howard
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At least one rail operator on the island has a degree of sense. Complete idiocy putting 10 minutes on every Intercity journey for no time saving at all for most DART users.

Apologies to Malahide DART users, but there are solutions to those problems that don't involve destroying the Belfast, Rosslare and Sligo services as well as the commuter services on the same lines.
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Unread 28-01-2016, 21:02   #3
Inniskeen
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This is good news and a victory for common sense. Expansion of DART, to the degree that is warranted, needs to be accompanied by the requisite infrastructure investment to make such expansion practical without cannibalising and degrading other services.
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Unread 28-01-2016, 21:53   #4
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Given they would of been fully aware of the new timetable before Irish Rail went public down here, it would seem clear they were just as happy to implement the proposed schedule as well.

We have been hearing the GVS spin for many years, it will never happen I expect.
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Unread 29-01-2016, 10:59   #5
James Shields
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The proposed timetable was nuts, but it is lunacy that you can't get to either Dublin or Belfast by train and be in time for a 9:00 meeting.

I would love to take the train to Belfast more often, but nearly every time I go by car because the last train back is so ridiculously early.

Sadly I can't see any improvement until we have governments on both sides of the border that see the value of investing in rail.

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Unread 29-01-2016, 13:07   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
We have been hearing the GVS spin for many years, it will never happen I expect.
Translink intend to start rebuilding GVS within the next three years. The current plan is for the rebuilt station to have eight platforms so it can accommodate the Enterprise and additional local services. The problem with GVS at the moment is that it's operating at 100% capacity - multiple trains are parked on its platforms at peak times.
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Unread 29-01-2016, 13:23   #7
Jamie2k9
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Quote:
Translink intend to start rebuilding GVS within the next three years. The current plan is for the rebuilt station to have eight platforms so it can accommodate the Enterprise and additional local services. The problem with GVS at the moment is that it's operating at 100% capacity - multiple trains are parked on its platforms at peak times.
3 years, I will believe it's actually happening.

Lets hope they can actually manage the project and not make a bigger mess like what happened with the refurb
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Unread 29-01-2016, 16:28   #8
Inniskeen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
Given they would of been fully aware of the new timetable before Irish Rail went public down here, it would seem clear they were just as happy to implement the proposed schedule as well.

We have been hearing the GVS spin for many years, it will never happen I expect.
The GVS expansion is very much on the cards, the four platforms there are amongst the most intensively used in these islands. Rail passengers currently using Great Victoria Street have already reached 7 million per annum, similar to the numbers using Heuston station each year !
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Unread 29-01-2016, 18:00   #9
Jamie2k9
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I sure its well used and I have never been to GVS however its been a project muted a long time ago. Could well be 4-6 years before its open if construction starts within 3 years.
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