Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has expressed his anger that commuters in Westmeath, who travel to Dublin on a daily basis on oversubscribed train carriages, will have to wait until the end of 2021 at the earliest before they see any additional capacity.

Deputy Troy said, “The problem has become so bad that last month commuters were encouraged to stagger their train journeys due to overcrowded carriages. This infuriating initiative fails to recognise that the people commuting at those hours are doing so for work and it isn’t an option to simply take a train an hour or two later.

“Until such a time as we increase capacity and get new train carriages, the Department won’t engage on getting the Kilucan Station re-opened. That means the thousands of people living with a 10-kilometre radius of the station commuting to Dublin for work and college each day will continue to drive their cars to Mullingar or Enfield at a time when we want to ecourage people to get out of cars and onto public transport.

“I understand extending a rail fleet isn’t a process that happens overnight – That is why I have repeatedly called on the Minister to start this process over the last three years, unfortunately like so many other issues he failed to listen. Those using these services twice a day can speak to what a calamity it is and they cannot be left in this grave situation for another two or three years without a resolution. It’s not fair that thousands of passengers are paying steep yearly rates for a substandard rail service.

“I have long advocated for extra buses to compliment train services in Westmeath and for yearly ticket holders to be allowed to use their ticket on the bus.

“Rather than float ridiculous initiatives telling people to get a different train, the Minister could first address the deficits in existing services by supporting targeted investment and permitting upgrades that would provide greater frequency and efficiency”, he concluded.