herald

Friday 20 September 2019

20,000 rail passengers hit by travel chaos as signalling fault shuts Heuston Station

Lisa Hunter and Robyn Koch, from Wisconsin in America, pictured in Heuston Station yesterday during the travel chaos. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Lisa Hunter and Robyn Koch, from Wisconsin in America, pictured in Heuston Station yesterday during the travel chaos. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

A signalling fault at Heuston Railway Station caused travel chaos for around 20,000 commuters and tourists throughout yesterday.

Many were left stranded and waiting for information after first hearing about the problem on the radio.

"We were due to go to Cork for a meeting on the 7am train, and we only found out there was a problem when we got here," said Aisling Toms, who was with a group from Musgraves Wholesalers.

"We actually heard it on the radio before anyone in the station told us."

Waiting

Another passenger in the group, Niall Mullaly, said: "The noticeboards were still reading 'on time' at that stage.

"We're trying to find a way around it, but we may just have to go back to work here in Dublin," said Aisling.

Another group of workers who were hoping to get to Cork for a meeting were waiting patiently on the main concourse.

"We work with Marks & Spencer and were due to go to Cork for three days with work," said Aisling Ryan.

"There was no sign of any difficulty when we arrived, and we only found out at 7am when we were due to board the train.

"Our tickets are not transferable to a bus, so we don't know what will happen now".

Railtours was also affected by the delays, and staff at its stand were fielding questions from customers who had booked tours, most of them tourists from abroad.

"We had hoped to go the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty, but it looks like that won't happen now," said Robyn Koch, from Wisconsin in the US.

"The guy at the stand is apologising and offering us a refund or a chance to travel tomorrow.

"Maybe it was meant to be, maybe we'll have a great day in Dublin, who knows?"

Sally Frees, from Canada, was also booked on a Railtours trip, and said that because she was on an overnight tour the company was organising a bus to transport passengers.

"I had hope that the situation would be resolved. It has to be safety first. If I was stranded I'm sure there's lots to do in Dublin anyway," she said.

Irish Rail spokesperson Jane Cregan said the fault "impacted everything from Dublin to Cork and also Dublin to Athlone".

She said the signalling was "extremely safety critical".

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