by James Scannell

August to October 2019

 Unlike in Britain, where policing on trains and in railroad stations is undertaken by the British Transport Police, no corresponding police force exists in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Instead, security contractors undertake this role but do not have the powers of arrest so that in the case of an incident, the Garda Síochána, the national police service in the Republic of Ireland, or the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland, have to attend. In the face of rising anti-social activity on some DART trains, during August Iarnród Éireann/ Irish Rail launched a next text alert service whereby DART users can report anti-social activity in stations and on trains by texting the word TRAIN to a designated number - 51444 - followed by the location, carriage number if possible (these are displayed at both ends of the carriage interior), and details of the incident. After receipt by the DART security centre, the sender will receive a message acknowledgement. The security centre will also contact the police or security personnel depending on the nature of the incident. Other steps taken to deal with anti-social behavior include significant increases in the number of security patrols on trains and in stations, new CCTV on board DART carriages with the installation of in-cab screens for train engineers, strengthened cooperation and planning with the police covering specific events and responses to incidents, joint operations with the police, and the recruitment of a senior security specialist. It is intended to extend the text alert system to Commuter and Inter-City (long distance) services shortly.

Many Irish Rail stations are fitted with passenger elevators to assist those in wheelchairs, mothers with strollers, or people with mobility impairments to transit to below ground level platforms but concern was expressed by an Irish member of parliament over the number of station elevators out of service at regular intervals. However Irish Rail in reply stated that in many instances, elevators were out of order due to vandalism/ anti-social activities. Citing the case of Donaghmede station on Dublin’s northside, the cost of repairs of US$55,000 in 2017 fell to US$2000 in 2018 due to installation of the elevator passenger control system to help reduce vandalism and anti-social behavior. The system works by locking off the elevator and securing it until it is called into service.
During September an attempt by a criminal gang to steal electricity from the mains supply to the signal cabin at Castleknock on the outskirts of Dublin City forced an early morning train to stop outside the station and it was unable to proceed until essential repairs had been carried out. Police suspect that a criminal gang known to them, which had previously been involved in the theft of cables to sell their copper content on the black market, were responsible for this incident.
At the end of October work was completed on the extension to the car park at Maynooth, Co. Kildare, station. On the north side of the station 38 new spaces were added to the car park, with 34 places being added to the car park on the south side of the station. These extensions mean that there is now a total of 257 vehicle spaces at Maynooth station.

A proposal by Irish Rail to introduce ‘pre-book only’ services during peak times was criticized as ‘absolutely unacceptable’ by the chairman of the Irish parliament’s transport committee. Irish Rail has argued that due to overcrowding the company is considering having passengers make advance bookings for certain services as it currently the case when major sporting and entertainment events take place. While the company plans to order 41 new carriages to cope with growing passenger numbers, these will not be available until 2021. In the meantime the company believes that the situation may get worse before it gets better so is trying to come with a system that will reduce overcrowding at peak times.
Measures to reduce overcrowding on the Luas Green Line commenced on Monday October 20th with the introduction of the first of the new extended trams which are 55 meters long compared to the existing 44 meter ones and will boost passenger capacity by 30% from 319 passengers to 408. Over the next 14 months 25 more of the extended trams will enter service.

On Saturday October 26th and Sunday 27th no train services operated between Dublin Pearse and Dun Laoghaire stations to facilitate the on-going repairs to the canopy of Dublin Pearse station in addition to track renewal between Dublin Pearse and Dun Laoghaire. Services were also suspended between Bray, Co. Wicklow, and Greystones, Co. Wicklow, to facilitate track renewal and related infrastructural works.



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Revised: Nov 2019