| 8.7°C Dublin

New rail line will close for off-peak link

TRAIN services on a €160m stretch of rail line are to be curtailed, hitting those travelling from Meath to Dublin city.

Iarnrod Eireann has decided to terminate the Dunboyne to Dublin service at Clonsilla station during off-peak times.

Passengers travelling on the line between 10.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays and at all times at the weekend will have to take a connecting train.

The move is part of changes across the rail network designed to save money.

Eight of the 24 services on weekdays will be hit, including ones after 8pm. The 13 Saturday and eight Sunday trains will also be curtailed.

The changes will be introduced from January 20.

The 7.5km rail line opened in September 2010, becoming the newest stretch of track in the country. It connects Dublin city centre with two stations around Dunboyne.

Iarnrod Eireann says it is implementing changes in the timetable which includes more frequency on some services, in particular from Dublin to Galway and Westport.



reduced

Services have been reduced on some lines as a result of falling demand, it says.

The company insists it has to generate revenue where possible and provide services which reflect demand.

Iarnrod Eireann has been tightening its belt to keep costs down. In June, it announced it was to shed at least 450 jobs over the following four years.

The job losses, which they said were part of a cost containment programme aimed at tackling a deficit of €45.3m, represented almost 11pc of the firm's workforce.

The Government said it would provide up to €36m in extra funding on condition that Iarnrod Eireann and the other CIE public transport companies cut costs.

Meanwhile, thousands of customers were overcharged by Dublin's Leap card travel system last year. The majority occurred at Iarnrod Eireann stations because of faulty validator machines.

A total of 7,120 rail passengers received refunds in the first year of operation up to December 2012. The figure for Dublin Bus was 250, while 180 Luas passengers were reimbursed.

comurphy@herald.ie