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The end of direct Dublin-Rosslare trains: ‘It’s the best thing ever. Someone is using their head’

Some commuters would be happy to change trains at Wicklow or Greystones in return for a more regular service

It is 6.30am at Gorey railway station and most passengers awaiting the Rosslare-Dublin train are adamant: if Irish Rail terminates services from Wexford at Wicklow or Greystones in return for more frequent trains on the route, it will be a very good thing.

The company and the National Transport Authority are considering scrapping direct services to Dublin from Rosslare, and having passengers change from intercity trains to Dart carriages at either Wicklow or Greystones instead.

“It is the best thing ever,” says Seamus Carroll, a long-time user of the service. “Somebody is using their head. I have been saying it for years, and at last they are listening.”

Carroll says the shortage of trains on the Dublin to Rosslare line, including on the commuter service to Gorey, is a real problem. If trains were to run more frequently up to the Dart line and back, “you could go anywhere”.


He was unconcerned about potential delays changing trains at Wicklow or Greystones. “The Dart stops at a lot more places than the [diesel] train – I’m happy out,” he says.

Barbara Campbell takes the 6.43am commuter train from Gorey to Kilcoole. “I am picked up by a friend who drives me to Bulford, where I work,” she says. “But in the evening, I have to get a bus to Greystones, because the return train doesn’t stop in Kilcoole. That says it all.”

Campbell says the bus from Kilcoole to Greystones sometimes does not come and she has to get a taxi. “I’ve no choice. I cannot miss the train from Greystones.” A Dart service to and from Wicklow would stop at Kilcoole and make her commute so much easier, she says.

Also in favour is fellow Gorey resident James Duffy, who agrees about the connectivity offered by the Dart network. “Once you get to Greystones you can go anywhere,” he says.

Joanne Slone, who boarded the train in Wexford, says she is “adamantly, vehemently and determinedly in favour” of the plan to switch trains at either Wicklow or Greystones “as long as they give us more trains”.

Just one passenger who speaks to The Irish Times before boarding the morning train is not in favour of changing trains at Wicklow or Greystones. Carlos Brasil says he moved to Gorey just three months ago and the presence of a direct train to his job with the ESB in Dublin city centre was a significant motivating factor. He works on the train and this is considered part of his working day, he adds.

Breaking the journey to switch trains with all the potential for missed connections and inclement weather does not appeal to him. Nor does the idea of “all those stops” the Dart makes en route to the city centre. “It is a crazy idea,” he says.

In slight contrast to the morning commuter train from Gorey, the 4.30pm service from Connolly to Rosslare features more people visiting Dublin for leisure or to see family. Such travellers seem more resistant to the idea of changing trains.

Paul Byrne, who was visiting family in Dublin, says he thought the plan to transfer passengers was “a bad idea”. He is travelling with his wife, Mary, and says they want the comfort of a seat continuously from A to B. “It is what we are paying for,” he says, noting that they choose their journeys to avoid the commuter trains, which have narrower seats and a small number of narrow tables. He says he does not drive so the choice is always going to be a bus or train, but the train would “win every time”.

Mary Byrne says the prospect of a changeover is not attractive, “especially in all weathers”.

Alan Forsythe says he is a regular commuter and had left Gorey on the 5.50am train, which gets him into Dublin before 8am. He picks the intercity train for comfort and the ability to work on a laptop at a table while on board. This was why he did not take the commuter train and says if a changeover to a Dart was introduced, he would “drive to Wicklow”.

Bill Hobbs commutes from Wicklow to Dublin, and so would not be greatly affected by a change to Dart. But he says a future difficulty would be that people travelling to Dublin and transferring at Greystones would lose their seats and potentially have to stand from there into Dublin on a Dart.

As the Rosslare train approached Wicklow, the voice of broadcaster Ivan Yates can be heard saying he is fully in favour of the proposals.

The former Fine Gael minister says he had only heard opposition to the plans “from aul’ wans, ne’er do wells, those that don’t pay anyway”.

He says the key issues were capacity and frequency. If he has a lunch meeting in Dublin, the latest morning train he can take is the 8.05am, which arrives in Pearse Station in Dublin at about 10.12am. “More trains, especially in the morning, is a no-brainer.”

As for terminating the trains in Co Wicklow and changing over to the Dart, he says many people do that anyway. “It is a no-brainer. I have been saying that ... for years.”