The new morning bullet train service from Galway to Dublin is a major step towards people being able to travel from one city to the other in under two hours.
This is the view of Green Senator Niall Ó Brolcháin who has welcomed the launch of the new service from Iarnroid Éireann.
The service will run from 6.35am and gets in to Dublin at 8.50am, just in time for the start of the working day. The train stops only in Athenry and Athlone, before going directly to Dublin.
“It is fantastic news that anyone who needs to be in Dublin before 9am can use the new 6.35am train,” he said. “Many said this couldn’t be achieved. However, I continued to push the issue and was confident the service would go ahead following a meeting with CIE chair Dr John Lynch.”
Sen Ó Brolcháin is now calling on Iarnroid Éireann to implement a WiFi service in the trains in order to further facilitate passengers.
However Irish Rail’s new timetable has been criticised by Sen Ó Brolcháin’s fellow Green, the Athenry environmentalist Patrick Creed.
Mr Creed says the new service, which has been adjusted to run later in the morning, sees two trains servicing Athenry.
“One is at 8.09am and another four minutes later at 8.13am with the next service due more than an hour later,” he said. “Anyone needing to get to the city to make bus connections to Salthill or the Industrial estates simply can't take the train if they start work at 9am.”
Mr Creed described the new timetable as “badly thought out”.
“What is the point in having two trains serving Athenry five minutes apart during rush hour, neither of which gets commuters to the city in time to make onward connections?” he asked.
Mr Creed accused Irish Rail of not having consulted with users of the service as to what effect changing the timetable would have.
“I am calling on Irish Rail to adjust the services serving Galway in the morning to take into account the needs of the customer,” he said. “We are looking to develop a state of the art rail hub in the city centre on the existing Irish Rail site with rail services that don't serve commuters.”