The Galway to Limerick rail service has come under fire again, amidst criticism of its lengthy journey times and the lack of an online booking system.
North-West MEP Jim Higgins has said he is “perplexed” about the lack of progress on reducing journey times on the Western Rail Corridor.
“I’ve raised this issue before, and I will raise it again. To drive between Galway City and Limerick takes one hour and 25 minutes but on the train, it takes two hours and 15 minutes. Added to this, you still can’t book online,” he said.
“I cannot understand how you can book most buses in the country online, but not the train. I wonder if this was a train on the east coast, would a solution to the online booking problem have been found by now.”
However, Mr Higgins welcomed Irish Rail’s announcement that they are to reduce journey times between Galway and Dublin by between ten to 15 minutes.
The time saving will also apply to journeys between Dublin and Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford and Westport and will be achieved through a removal of speed restrictions that were previously imposed to allow for improvement works on key sections of the network.
“I think it is fantastic that the travelling public will save about 15 minutes on their journey. The motorway has provided good competition for the rail service and I am happy that this has shunted them into action. I welcome the fact that the trains will now travel at 160 km/h following the investment in new rolling stock in recent years.”
Irish Rail will publish new journey time proposals for public consultation later this month and the new timetables should come into effect in early 2013.