|Type||private limited company by shares|
|Industry||Infrastructure & Public Transportation State Administrator|
|Parent||Coras Iompair Éireann|
Iarnród Éireann (Irish pronunciation: [ˈiəɾˠnˠɾˠoːdˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ], Irish Rail) is the national railway system operator of Ireland. Established on 2 February 1987, it is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ). It operates all internal intercity, commuter and freight railway services in the Republic of Ireland, and, jointly with Northern Ireland Railways, the Enterprise service between Dublin and Belfast. In 2009, Iarnród Éireann carried 38.8 million passengers,1 down from 43.3 million in 2008.2
As of 2012 Ireland was the only European Union state that had not implemented EU Directive 91/440 and related legislation, having derogated its obligation to split train operations and infrastructure businesses, and allow open access by private companies to the rail network. A consultation on the restructuring of the IÉ is expected to take place in 2012. The derogation ends 14 Mar 2013.3
At the time of its establishment Iarnród Éireann referred to itself as Irish Rail, and introduced the four rails IR logo. The company gradually brought the Irish form of its name to the fore, ultimately introducing IÉ corporate branding and logo in 1994. The Irish word iarnród (alternately rendered "bóthar iarainn") translates into English as iron road, or railway. While the name "Irish Rail" did not appear in that logo, it remained part of the official company name ("Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail") and reappeared in the new bi-lingual logo introduced in 2013.4
Operationally, services are divided across four regional areas:
- Northern and Eastern services are managed from Connolly (including Sligo in the North-West)
- Southern and Western services are managed from Heuston
InterCity services are long-distance routes radiating mainly from Dublin. The Belfast - Dublin service, jointly operated with Northern Ireland Railways, is branded separately as Enterprise. Dublin's two main InterCity stations are Connolly and Heuston. Intercity services run to/from Cork, Limerick, Tralee, Ennis, Galway, Waterford, Rosslare Europort, Sligo, Westport, Wexford and Ballina. Dublin's third major station, Pearse, is the terminus for much of the suburban network in the Greater Dublin area. An additional InterCity service runs from Limerick to Waterford although this is currently operated by Commuter railcars. This service formerly operated through to Rosslare Europort but services between Waterford and Rosslare Europort ceased after the last train on 18 September, 2010. Bus Éireann's now operate route 370 through the affected towns as replacement transport.5
A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Irish Rail was expected to seek permission in the near future from the National Transport Authority to close the line from Limerick to Ballybrophy.6
The majority of Commuter services are based in Dublin, which has four commuter routes: Northern (Dundalk), Western (Maynooth/Longford), South Western (Newbridge/Kildare/Portlaoise) and South Eastern (Gorey). See Dublin Suburban Rail for more details. The Cork Suburban Rail currently has three Commuter services: to Mallow and Cobh, and a third service to Midleton which became operational on a part of the disused Youghal branch line on 30 July 2009.7 Limerick Suburban Rail currently consists of two lines to Ennis and Nenagh, with shuttle services to Limerick Junction. A Commuter service operates between Galway to Oranmore and Athenry.
Commuter trains also operate on shuttle duty for branches from the main InterCity services from Mallow to Tralee (off the Dublin - Cork route) and from Manulla Junction to Ballina (off the Dublin - Westport route), as well as acting as InterCity trains for Dublin - Rosslare and some Dublin - Sligo services, and as the aforementioned Limerick - Limerick Junction - Waterford service.
The north-south route along Dublin's eastern coastal side is also host to DART, Ireland's only electrified heavy-rail service. The Dart consists of many classes, the most famous one being the 8100 class which still operate, now refurbished.
IÉ also has responsibility for running freight services on the Irish network through its Iarnród Éireann Freight division - although this has been declining at a rapid rate, and as of 2010 there are only 4x freight flows left running throughout the country. This operates both railfreight trains, and a network of road haulage through various distribution nodes throughout the country. Iarnród Éireann Freight is subdivided into four sections:
- Bulk Freight - specialises in operating full train loads of freight, usually bulk movements of single products such as cement, mineral ore or timber.
- Navigator - the freight forwarding division, particularly associated with the transport of automotive stock parts.
- Roadliner - the road haulage division, responsible for both its own in-house fleet and privately contracted operators.
- Fastrack - the same day mail delivery service.
The Enterprise route (Dublin to Belfast) is well regarded, despite occasional problems over punctuality.citation needed These problems are primarily capacity related as the route is only double track and serves both local and intermediate commuter as well as intercity traffic. Hence any delay has knock on effects. Also there is limited platform availability at Connolly station in Dublin. There is also a persistent problem with engine overloading, as Enterprise locos also supply coach power (unlike the southern and western routes, where power is provided by separate generator vans).citation needed
The Cork-Dublin route is also well regarded.citation needed It was formerly the "premier line" of the Great Southern and Western Railway, one of the biggest pre-CIE operators. Rolling stock is quite good on this routecitation needed, with new Mark 4 rolling stock complete with DVTs for faster turn around now in service. Class 22000 DMUs from South Korea came into service from early 2009 replacing older coaching stock on most other InterCity routes. These 183 carriages are labelled by the company as the "Greenest diesel trains in Europe".8
The Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey had announced that an additional 51 railcars had been ordered for the company for a planned introduction on services between Dublin, Louth and Meath. They were due into service in 2011/2012 but this plan was badly affected by the recession with 21 surplus to requirements at the end of 2012.9
There have been incidents on the Dublin - Sligo line, concerning delays.citation needed
There have been a number of serous incidents on the Dublin - Waterford which have led to serious delays between 4 and 5 hours on a number of occasions.citation needed
The maximum speed of the intercity trains on the Iarnród Éireann rail network is 160 km/h (100 mph).
Although the majority of Iarnród Éireann's stations are simply named after the towns they serve, a number of stations in major towns and cities were renamed in 1966 after leaders of the Easter Rising of 191610 - contrary to normal European practice where such namings are generally used only when there are two or more stations in a town or city:
- Connolly Station, Dublin
- Heuston Station, Dublin
- Pearse Station, Dublin
- Dún Laoghaire Mallin
- Bray Daly
- Cork Kent
- Kilkenny MacDonagh
- Limerick Colbert
- Tralee Casement
- Dundalk Clarke
- Drogheda Mac Bride
- Sligo Mac Diarmada
- Galway Ceannt
- Waterford Plunkett
- Wexford O'Hanrahan
IÉ's Network Catering unit provided a trolley service of food and drink, a snack car and (on some routes) a restaurant service. It also operates a restaurant at Dún Laoghaire. According to Irish Rail's annual report, the unit lost €270,000 in 2004. Early in 2006, IÉ advertised for private catering contractors to take over the operation of its catering services. The service was taken over by RailGourmet in March 2007.11
- IÉ 8100 Class EMU
- IE 8200 Class EMU
- IE 8500 Class Class EMU
- IE 8510 Class Class EMU
- IE 8520 Class Class EMU
- List of Irish companies
- List of railway stations in Ireland
- History of rail transport in Ireland
- Transportation in Ireland
- Diesel Locomotives of Ireland
- Multiple Units of Ireland
- Coaching Stock of Ireland
- Iarnród Éireann Annual Report 2009
- Iarnród Éireann Annual Report 2008
- "Irish government looks at rail restructuring as derogation ends", www.railwaygazette.com (Railway Gazette International), 14 Mar 2012
- "Changes to Irish Rail on way as Ireland gives up EU exemption", www.thejornal.ie, 14 Mar 2012
- http://www.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?p=123&n=209 Irish Rail Intercity Fleet details
- http://www.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?p=123&n=210 Irish Rail Commuter Fleet details
- http://www.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?p=123&n=211 Irish Rail DART Fleet details
- Official site - Timetables, bookings, operations and corporate site
- Irish Railway Record Society
- Eiretrains - Irish Railways Past & Present
- Irish Railway Technology and Information -reporting on all aspects of irish railways