Kisses across the Irish Sea?

FISHGUARD’S NEW RAIL SERVICE STARTED IN SEPTEMBER 2011, BUT THE NEW STATION IT NEEDS WON’T OPEN UNTIL 2012. NOT A GREAT ADVERT FOR WELSH GOVERNMENT’S “INTEGRATED TRANSPORT POLICY”.

 

sculpture to welcome travellers at Fishguard Harbour

many kisses, few connections

BUT THAT’S NOTHING COMPARED TO THE DISINTEGRATION OF INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT LINKS THROUGH FISHGUARD

Two large public sculptures, “Kisses across the Irish Sea”, cast in aluminium by Dawny Tootes as “a symbol of communication, language & affection” welcome travellers at Fishguard Harbour and in the city of Waterford.

cars loading on the ferry at Fishguard

driving to Ireland

But travellers between Wales and Ireland through Fishguard must wonder what language (if any) the transport planners of the neighbouring countries speak to each other. It’s not that the transport news is all bad – it isn’t. It’s that up to now, there’s been little sign of any plan, let alone integration. Wouldn’t that be something useful for Europe to do (besides saving the Euro)?

 

 

 

The Headlines

April 2008 Irish Rail close Rosslare Europort station (in the ferry terminal), relocating it ten minutes walk away.

September 2010 Rosslare to Waterford line closed to passenger traffic; trains on the surviving Rosslare to Dublin line don’t connect with ferries

September 2010 Campaigning begins to reinstate the Rosslare-Waterford service

March 2011 Welsh Transport Minister announces new services to Fishguard

September 2011 New rail services for Fishguard begin

September 2011 Irish Rail retimes Dublin rail connections to connect with Rosslare ferries

Autumn 2011 Rail Users Ireland and UK’s Rail Future discussing with Arriva Trains Wales restoring UK-Irish through ticketing via Rosslare.

November 2011 Stena axes fast Fishguard-Rosslare ferry for 2012

Is it possible to see a pattern in this mix of good and bad news? With travel to Ireland still dominated by plane (and car), the long-term importance of rail-sea links (first understood by Brunel) may at last be registering with politicians and governments both sides of the water. It would be good to think so, and here’s more evidence …

Letter from Wexford

A helpful report from Bernard Allan from SWIFfT in Wexford (see their link under Transport). It seems we have SWIFfT to thank for the reinstatement of rail-sea links at Rosslare, successful persuasion achieved through many meetings with Iarnród Éireann. Now they are working to establish a community rail partnership, and pursuing service enhancements – more trains, onboard catering, publicity. Sounds familiar?

Irish Rail train approaches Rosslare Strand

reconnected

Hello from Ireland!

I have and continue to follow your informative website vis-a-vis the Fishguard train service. I’m involved with South Wexford Integrated Forum for Transport (SWIFfT) who are trying to secure a reinstatement of the passenger train service on the South Wexford Line (Rosslare Strand-Waterford Plunkett) and are pressing for improvements on the (open) Rosslare Europort – Wexford – Dublin Connolly line.

The new Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) timetable for lines radiating from Dublin Connolly, including the scenic line to Rosslare Europort, was introduced on 25th September. It features a Mondays to Fridays inclusive train departing Dublin Connolly 16:37, serving the usual intermediate stations including Wexford (19:04) and arriving Rosslare Europort 19:25 offering a convenient connection into the 21:00 Stena Europe sailing to Fishguard. Furthermore the second train of the morning ex Rosslare Europort has been advanced to 07:20 giving arriving ferry passengers arriving off the 0245 sailing ex Fishguard a prompter interchange. These timings offer passengers in both Wales and Ireland ease of access between the Irish capital, major eastern seaboard towns such as Arklow and Wexford, Pembrokeshire, the cities of Swansea and Cardiff and London, inter alia. With these welcome improvements to the rail service from both Fishguard and Rosslare people have an unparalleled opportunity to take the ferry across the Irish Sea and explore their neighbouring country whether as a holiday/short break or as a stop-off on a longer journey.

The new timetable between Rosslare and Dublin is available here on the Timetables page. Take Fishguard Trains’ word for it – there’s no better way of reaching Dublin from Wales. The line up the east coast from Rosslare is spectacular.

1 Comment

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One Response to Kisses across the Irish Sea?

  1. Rhydgaled

    Wasn’t selling the Lynx a strange move, since it took over the Holyhead – Ireland fast service last year due to being slightly less thirsty than the HSS? Won’t this mean Stena have to use the more expensive HSS on the Holyhead – Ireland fast route, or have they stopped fast ferry operation on the Irish Sea altogether? If any of their fast ferries are still operating, I would have expected the HSS craft to be stronger candidates for sale with the cheaper Lynx being retained instead.

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