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Sligo Trains every three hours from next year

Sligo Champion - Wed 1st December 2004

THE Sligo to Dublin rail line would see a considerable investment over the next year with renewal of both track and signalling completed, platforms extended, the introduction of modern and more reliable railcars and enhanced service frequencies, Iarnrod Eireann has said.

In a report to Sligo/Leitrim Deputy John Perry, the rail company confirms that the number of services will rise from three to five per day in each direction, offering customers a service every three hours.

Iarnrod Eireann had invested euro90 million of capital investment in recent years in the renewal of its rail infrastructure on the line, it adds.

The full length of track had been upgraded to modern continuous welded rail in line with best practice international railway standards.

"Station platforms are currently being renewed and lengthened at all stations along the route to provide for the operation of higher capacity services.

"Signalling systems will be upgraded to modern standards during 2005," the report said.


As part of these works, an additional cross-over link would be installed at Carrick-on-Shannon to reduce a long single line section, to improve operational flexibility.

"While Iarnrod Eireann endeavours to minimise disruption to customers during planned renewals of the infrastructure, some disruption is unavoidable over the next twelve months," Deputy Perry was informed.

Weekend services would continue to be restricted until Spring 2005, due to a Dart upgrade, and commissioning for the re-signalling of the line would require a ten day closure of the line in August on the Sligo to Longford section and a ten day closure between Longford and Maynooth during November.

The report explains that plans are being prepared to provide a change in the level and standard of services along the line by December 2005.

Current rolling stock consists of both locomotives and coaches which were thirty years old. Some stock-for weekend only services-was in excess of forty years old, the company confirmed.

"These will be replaced with modern railcars which have multiple-engine units and will provide a higher level of service reliability, passenger comfort and enable service frequency improvements," the Irish Rail report went on.

"Service frequency will be enhanced from three to five services each day in each direction, offering customers a service every three hours," it stated.

Despite ageing rolling stock, punctuality performance along the line for the year to date at ninety-seven per cent of trains arriving within fifteen minutes of schedule is consistently at a standard in excess of the agreed service targets of ninety per cent.

"While in-service failures occur very infrequently on average, they have high impact on customers when they do occur, especially along the Sligo line, which has long sections of single track making service recovery difficult to effect without incurring long time delays," said the report.

The plan to replace the current locomotive and coach-type rolling stock with modern diesel multiple unit railcars would provide a significantly higher level of reliability from December 2005 onwards, it added.

In the meantime, enhanced maintenance routines were being implemented to improve the performance of rolling stock currently deployed on the Sligo-Dublin, while it was planned to have additional maintenance personnel based in Sligo.

"Iarnrod Eireann will implement an enhanced maintenance regime to improve the reliability of locomotives and address passenger comfort issues to ensure the service maintains a high level of performance until proposed enhancements are introduced in the December 2005 timetable," the report concluded.








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