Waterford’s new intercity trains will roll into Plunkett Station this September, according to CIE Chairman John Lynch.
Mr Lynch was in Waterford on Friday morning last for a meeting with City Manager Michael Walsh and he briefed the local press before catching the 3pm train to Dublin.
“I’m sure it will be running on time,” grinned the CIE chief after bringing the good news to Suirside.
The level of daily services between Waterford and Dublin will rise from six to eight, with that increase coming into effect during 2009.
The new trains are likely to feature no more than six carriages, while a “re-vamped” older train will be used just once a day when the new timetable kicks in.
The new early train to Dublin will depart Plunkett Station “before 7.30 and get into Dublin around 9.30”, said Mr Lynch, who confirmed that the early service will not stop in Kilkenny.
“A lot of business people in Waterford have asked why they have to be in Kilkenny for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning,” he said. “So this is one of the many ways in which we’re improving the service between both cities.”
Until now, the spur in the Waterford/Dublin line has brought all Dublin-bound trains into Kilkenny before resuming its northward journey to the capital.
But that will no longer be the case for the early departure from Plunkett Station, which will also feature “breakfast-type facilities”.
The expansion of track provision from Kildare onwards (which is currently ongoing) will bring the regular run-time between Waterford and Dublin (including the Kilkenny stop) to two and a quarter hours. The current running time is just over two and a half hours.
“We can’t bring in the faster time immediately as we have to get the work completed in Kildare,” he added.
“We’re moving to an airline-type situation when it comes to booking tickets. You’ll be able to book your seat and your name will feature on a ticket slot above your reserved seat.
“There will also be peak hours and non-peak hour services, which means there will be pricing changes depending on what time you travel.”
Old Age Pensioners with free travel passes are also likely to have to pre-book their free seats given the vagaries of the new ticketing system, Mr Lynch stated.
Exit validation ticket points, already in place in Connolly and Pearse Stations, similar to the system employed in the London Underground, will also soon be in operation at Heuston Station.
The two-year redevelopment project at Plunkett Station, trumpeted before the general election, is expected to get underway before the end of the year, John Lynch confirmed.