So how is the Irish Rail seat reservation system working these days?

I see. Award-winning blogger Evin enjoys a relaxing Easter Monday trip courtesy of the tech-savvy people-persons of Irish ‘Fucking’ Rail.

And now a delightfully passive aggressive email I sent over Easter 2012:

Dear Mr xxxxx,

On Good Friday last year I arrived at my local train station in Midleton to discover that the train I normally get to work, the 7.15am service, was not running. When I contacted Irish Rail later in the day after arriving late to work, I was told that the decision had been taken to run a Saturday service on the Midleton line. The woman I spoke to on the phone told me the only way that I would have been able to find this out beforehand would be if I tried to book a ticket on the Irish Rail website from Midleton to Cork. I told her that as I had a monthly pre-paid ticket, this was of no use to me. When I asked why the trains were on a reduced schedule, she simply kept repeating ‘because it’s Good Friday‘ – a day that although important to the Catholic calendar, is not a public or bank holiday. Bus Eireann, for example, runs a full schedule on this day.

To avoid being late for work this year, yesterday morning as I passed through Kent Station I asked one of your revenue inspectors if the Midleton service would be running as normal. He said he believed it would, but checked with the ticket office to make sure, and was told by the girl there that it was a normal service today. Later in the day, just to be absolutely certain, I went to the Irish Rail website and made as though to book a ticket from Midleton to Cork. The timetable of trains was as normal.

This morning when I got to Midleton train station at about 7.10am, the PA in the station announced as usual that the next train at the station was the 7.15am service to Cork. That train did not arrive.

I contacted Kent station and was told that the decision had been taken to run a Saturday service as ‘it’s Good Friday‘. I pointed out that I had checked numerous times yesterday to make sure that this exact thing did not happen, and was told that the train would definitely be running as normal. The person once again informed me that ‘it’s Good Friday‘ and apologised. He admitted that he had only just found out about the reduced schedule himself. I was then forced to wait half an hour in the freezing cold for the next train and was late for work as a result.

I have no problem with the decision to run a reduced schedule – on a day when there are less commuters, it may make economic sense, but the complete lack of communication about this is what irks me. If the decision is taken to run a Saturday timetable, then staff, commuters and the website operators should all be made aware well in advance.

‘It’s Good Friday‘ is not a reason for this breakdown in communication, nor is it to be thrown in the face of commuters as though they should have known that the trains would not run as scheduled on the internet or as the staff have previously told them. Good Friday is neither a public holiday nor a bank holiday, and if the buses run as normal, I see little reason for the trains to do otherwise.

Yours,
(Me).

You can almost hear my teeth being ground into dust. The train was still better than the bus, which I stopped using after a driver pulled over, stormed down the aisle and shoved his finger in my face and told me to turn my headphones down. Given that I was halfways down the bus and the headphones were 60 euro Sennheiser noise-limiting ones, I knew the sound inside his head was not coming from me. Even the person next to me was horrified, and said she couldn’t hear a thing. So lesson learned kids: Fatima Mansions were right.

Author: Bill Linnane

Bylines in the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Irish Tatler Man, Evening Echo, and Distilled. Proud owner of the award-defying TripleDistilled.Blog, Ireland's Least Successful Blog™.

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