Minutes of the Special Meeting of Sligo County Council Held on 20 June 2005 at 11.00am in the Council Chamber, County Hall, Riverside, Sligo
OFFICIALS IN ATTENDANCE:
- Mr H. Kearns, County Manager
- Mr S. Concannon, Director of Services
- Mr F. Mac Nabb, Acting Senior Executive Officer
- Ms S. Malone, Assistant Staff Officer
- Ms F. Couch, Clerical Officer
- Apologies were received from Councillor I. Henry.
- The Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Gormley presided.
The Cathaoirleach, Councillor M. Gormley welcomed Iarnród Eireann representatives Mr Michael Power, Services Planning Manager of the North and East Business Unit and Mr Greg Mullan, District Manager and invited them to speak to the members.
Mr M. Power gave an overview the railway development in Ireland, service development plans for the Sligo /Dublin line, details of rolling stock and freight services.
He stated that there has been an investment of €1.25 billion in the Irish railway system since 1998 allowing for the rebuilding of infrastructure, upgrading of bridges and level crossings, lengthening and upgrading of platforms and the replacement of signalling systems.
The service improvement plans for the Sligo /Dublin line are an increase in the number of services from Sligo to Dublin and Dublin to Sligo from 3 to 5 services per day and replacement of the outdated rolling stock. These changes will take place from 11 December 2005 when the rail timetable changes.
The freight services have been restructured and the freight container service has been discontinued on the Sligo /Dublin line.
As the members had requested a commitment was given that the Sunday student service in would stop in Drumcondra from September to December and that this stop would be accommodated following the introduction of the new timetable in December 2005.
Councillor S. Mac Manus raised issues regarding rolling stock, time of journeys, the possibility of price increases and the freight service.
In response Mr M. Power stated that the rolling stock would be the 2900 series and will be provided out of a pool of 116 units, some of which will have been in use for up to one and a half years and some of which will be new and that this series has proved to be very successful. There are at present no plans to shorten journey time. With regard to price increases it was stated that each year prices rise a few percent, in line with national increases and that promotional /incentive fares would be introduced. With regard to the freight service he stated that this service needed to be able to stand alone on a financial basis and this was the reason for the recent changes.
Councillor S. Kilgannon welcomed the introduction of new rolling stock, new signalling and the extension and upgrading of platforms.
Councillor M. Barrett welcomed the fact that the Sunday evening train was stopping in Drumcondra.
Councillor T. McLoughlin welcomed the changes to the Sligo /Dublin service and expressed the hope that the Sligo /Dublin would be put on an equal footing with the rest of the country.
Councillor M. Gormley asked if the early bird service on Monday mornings would be continued and whether there was a possibility of piloting the South Sligo rail project.
Councillor P. Mc Grath asked about the possibility of commuter services.
It was stated that as the usage of the early bird service is quite low that commuters would probably transfer to the 6.45 service. With regard to local commuter services, this could be looked into after the changes in December 2005.
Councillor A. Higgins asked about the feasibility of the Western Rail Corridor project. Mr M. Power responded that if funding was made available he expected the project to be moved forward on a phased basis.
Councillor Sherlock stated that the Dublin /Sligo train does not stop in Maynooth on Friday evenings. This means that commuters have to get a train from Maynooth to Mullingar in order to get the Sligo train and he asked if the new schedule would alleviate this problem.
Mr M. Power stated that he would look at the schedule to see how best this need could be met.
The members thanked Mr M. Power and Mr G. Mullan for their detailed presentation.
The meeting ended at 12.30pm
Meeting Date 20/06/2005