Belfast Telegraph

Rail users steamed up over change to Belfast-Dublin morning train service

By Rebecca Black

Train users have vented their fury over news the early morning Belfast to Dublin Enterprise service is going to start leaving earlier - and taking longer.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph revealed the 6.50am service would pull out of Belfast Central Station at 6.15am, to reach Dublin Connolly at 8.41am - a two-hour and 26 minute journey that's 11 minutes longer than the current one.

Chris Ibbotson from Ballymena, whose son studies at Dublin City University, said it took him more than four hours to travel each way compared to just two-and-a-half hours by car. Sharon McAuley blasted the service as a "joke", adding that it should be run it like a proper business that provides decent value for money.

"Tarting up the inside is just a cosmetic exercise and no use to anyone if you can't get to Dublin for business meetings at a normal time," she said.

"It's only a hundred miles for God's sake, not a trip to the Moon."

International student Ismael Callouet complained that he found it shocking just how long train journeys here took.

And regular commuter Lynne Keery said she was concerned at the lack of consultation, adding she only found out about the changed times via the Irish Rail website. "I travel daily to Dundalk for work and haven't seen any information at all. I only found out by chance when I was checking something on the Irish rail website.

"I think the money spent on doing up the Enterprise carriages may have been put to better use upgrading engines or areas of the line to allow the trains to travel at a higher speed," she said.

Rebecca Yearl said Translink's monopoly was a big issue. "One of the main problems is that Translink have no competition over here," she argued.

"Look at England for example, where prices are kept lower as companies compete for business." Marty Pilkiewicz said the line needed upgraded. "Building a new dedicated stretch between Newry and Lisburn would be a good start, eliminating the unnecessary detour to Portadown. A quick glance at the map reveals how illogical and time-wasting this route is," he said.

Meanwhile Lindsey Adams said: "So it's still cheaper, faster and more comfortable to drive to Dublin in your own car.

"So much for public transport's effort to reduce congestion." Marty Patterson quipped: "It was quicker in the days of steam."

However, American David Parish said that he loved the scenic route on the Belfast-Dublin line.

Belfast Telegraph


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