HomeTravelMajor boost to commuters as Irish Rail announce return of popular service

Major boost to commuters as Irish Rail announce return of popular service

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COMMUTERS across Ireland can rejoice as Irish Rail has revealed that its catering service will return this year after being suspended four years ago.

Carriage food services stopped at the beginning of the pandemic and returned to the Cork to Dublin route from April of last year.

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Irish Rail have made a statement that provides a major boost to thousands of commutersCredit: Paddy Cummins – The Sun Dublin
The trolley service is set to return to intercity services by the end of the year

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The trolley service is set to return to intercity services by the end of the yearCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Rail bosses explained that restrictions on the number of passengers made the service commercially unviable.

However, Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny has confirmed that the tendering process for the returning trolley service is at its final stages.

However, he warned that the plan still awaits funding approval from the National Transport Authority.

Kelly also said there are now customer service officers on all of the Intercity routes.

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He told the Irish Times: “These have been introduced over the last couple of years, so it should always be the case that there is a staff member on board to assist with any customer queries and issues.”

Vending machines were also trialled on board last year when the Cork to Dublin food trolley returned.

Carriage Food Services, a sister company of CCSL (N.), currently provide catering services on board the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise service under a separate contract.

Catering services were suspended as a result of Covid-19 restrictions for two years from February 2020 to February 2022. 

When face-covering regulations were lifted in February 2022, the company sought a restoration of services from the incumbent supplier RailGourmet. 

Ultimately, RailGourmet were not in a position to resume services due to costs and staffing issues and withdrew from the contract in May 2022.

Kenny told The Irish Times: “When we went to market, costs being quoted to us had increased four-fold, for which we weren’t funded.”

The Cork and Dublin route serves many customers travelling to and from Kerry (with the Mallow change) and Limerick (which changed at Limerick junction.

This will now be extended to the Galway, Limerick, Rosslare, Tralee, Sligo, Waterford and Westport Intercity fleet services to Dublin.

Earlier this year, Irish Rail announced major changes to the intercity route of 41 extra carriages being added to the fleet.

The new carriages have a multi-purpose area, including fold-up seats and extra bike spaces.

The expansion is part of Irish Rail‘s National Development Plan 2021 to 2030 as part of Project Ireland 2040.

To cater for growing demand, the company is progressing two major fleet orders with a €150million investment.

These new 22000-class railcar carriages bring the overall size of the fleet to 275 railcars.

The first of the new railcars began service on the Commuter and Intercity network with the rest entering service over the year.

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