I am reliably informed that Irelands railway heritage and history is quietly and quickly being run down.
What is happening is that coaches and engines from the 1950's an 1960's are being completely scrapped without any examples being kept for posterity. Yet, there are groups of Railway enthusiasists who would buy examples to be preserved for public use and pleasure. These groups wish to develop museums in Ireland and they are unable to get access to any railwayana.
This removal of railway coaches and locomotives, along with a policy of not hiring new drivers, is leading to cancellation of services and also not allowing capacity for additional services particularly at busy times.
Not alone this, but there is a concerted effort underway to remove all freight from our railways. I am told that as soon as the new ring road is in place around Waterford city the wood freight trains and bulk container trains will be gone and replaced by road freight. Also, a container company wish to run up to two trains a day but Iarnrod Eireann will not accomodate them.
Many of the railway sidings and goods yards are being lifted and sold for development thereby leaving no room in railway staions for freight. Kilkenny Station would be a prime example of this.
A senior executive of IE is also reputed to have stated that he would have a railcar only service in Ireland. To this end Iarnrod Eireann are selling 132 Mark 3 rolling stock out of 188 coaches even before those on order have arrived! We are also believed to be selling the Mark 4 coaches back to Spain, soon to be followed by the 201 class locomotives to South Africa. This reduction of our country's rail stock is happening at a fast pace.
We are also exporting our old sleepers from the track and they are being reimported by garden centres and sold to the public.
Some railway stations are also having track lifted to allow less train movements and thus reducing capacity for trains and passenger movements.
Those working for many years in IE cannot understand the management operations which appear to be like those policies pursued in the UK at the early stages of privatisation.
Thus, many of the staff would say that the media are not giving the full picture when reporting on IE and as a result the employees are being portrayed as being intransigent and unreasonable, when, in fact, many of them are steeped in railway tradition and are proud of Iarnrod Eireann and the passenger and freight services it has traditionally provided.
So when you next complain about the service think on the above!!