In 2016, Iarnród Éireann, or Irish Rail, carried 42.8 million passengers. In 2017, this number increased to 45.5 million. This is an incredible amount of access granted to commuters countrywide, without it, we would be truly lost. However, given this extraordinary number of annual users, one might think it prudent to keep their service updated and top of the range. However, this is not the case.
The most commonly seen DART carriages, perhaps Irish Rail’s most popular or frequented service, are the IE 8500, IE 8510, and IE 8520 and the CIÉ 8100. The most recently designed one of these is the IE 8520. This was designed in 2003 at the latest. This is unacceptable in such a frequent service, especially given the statistics released regarding their fuel consumption. The minuscule fall in gas usage and road fuel over the last 2 years and the noticeable rise in diesel oil, electricity for traction and energy usage strongly suggest a lack of modernising and improving the efficiency of the Irish railway systems.
The technology absolutely exists to improve these conditions. The Irish commuter system is wildly outclassed and less efficient than our worldwide railway counterparts. This, however, isn’t the public’s primary problem with the service. For several years now, there has been a demand for an increase in the number of carriages per train service. This demand has not been delivered. The increase in fuel and energy consumption has come as a result of the increased inefficiency as the rail system ages, not as a result of an increase in services. This is sufficient reason for an upgrade in the eyes of the public.
The Irish Railway system is one of the most used methods of inter-county travel, alongside Bus Eireann, the national bus service of Ireland. In the Dublin Area, the DART is rivaled only by Dublin Bus and its now coinciding company, Go-Ahead Ireland. The LUAS is also essential for inner-city Dublin travel, but neither of these popular commuting schemes reach as far and as wide as Iarnród Éireann’s railways. It makes sense that in a country known for our green, we should strive to keep it so via new, energy efficient and green methods of daily travel.
Feature image licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 and taken by Alessandro Ambrosetti.