Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins has called for an additional evening service on the Dublin-Westport rail line to provide greater choice for rail users from the west of Ireland.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator Hopkins stated: “If a person wants to travel from Dublin to Roscommon or Castlerea by train on the Westport line, the last train leaving Heuston is at 6.15 pm daily. We need an additional service later in the evening to provide a proper level of connectivity with the west of Ireland.
“When we compare the services to the west with others nationally, there is a clear difference. For example, the last service leaving Heuston Station going south on the Cork line is at 9 pm daily.
“I know that the working reality for many people right across this region is to commute daily to Dublin for work. The fact that the last train home in the evening is so early can cause particular problems for many people. When we compare the services to the west with others nationally, there is a clear difference.
“I believe providing a later train service each evening would not have a significant cost implication for Irish Rail as I anticipate high demand for such a service and it would offer flexibility for those who use this service. Recently the Sligo-Boyle-Dublin route has improved with the addition of an extra evening service. We also have an additional later service whereby the Dublin to Sligo service was extended by one hour from 6 pm to 7 pm. We must apply those lessons to other routes, particularly in respect of the Roscommon-Westport route”.
Senator Hopkins said that she has raised this issue with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the National Transport Association and has written to Jim Meade, CEO, Irish Rail about the need for this additional evening service on the Westport line.