‘More carriages on way,’ Irish Rail tells local reps

Firm indications that there will be more carriages allocated to trains travelling from Mullingar to Dublin have been given to local representatives twice in the last week.

Complaints over the lack of seating that Mullingar rail commuters regularly endure on their journeys to Dublin were top of the list of grievances raised at a meeting between members of Westmeath County Council and national transport officials.

The subject was also raised separately with Irish Rail by Deputy Robert Troy.

Representatives of Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and the NTA (National Transport Authority) attended the meeting with Westmeath County Council to hear of the concerns local councillors have over the transport service from Mullingar.

“I raised the ongoing lack of seating on trains serving Mullingar and the poor service that they have been delivering to Mullingar for a number of years,” Cllr Ken Glynn revealed after the meeting.

Responding to him, Paul Hendrick, director of capital investment with Irish Rail, responded that Irish Rail does hope to increase the number of carriages by the summer of next year.

“Currently, it’s four carriages, but they hope to bring it up to five or six,” Cllr Glynn said. However, he continued: “While I welcome this response, I will remain sceptical till it actually happens.”

Mr Hendrick also gave assurances on carriage numbers to Deputy Troy, informing him that 41 additional carriages have been received nationwide and that a number of those will make their way to the Dublin Sligo line.

“Further commitment was given that the current four-carriage train will increase to five carriages, and a sixth carriage will be added for peak journeys on the route. Mr Hendrick also confirmed that the additional carriages will each have capacity for the storage of two bicycles,” Deputy Troy said.

Athlone line

At the meeting with councillors, the reopening of the Mullingar to Athlone Rail Line was also raised by Cllr Glynn. “I stressed how important it is for future transport policy,” Cllr Glynn said.

On that issue, Mr Hendrick stated that the suggestion is one that is being considered in the context of the National Strategic Rail Review, which is ongoing.

“Finally, I asked about the proposed Mullingar Town Bus Service and Anne Graham, CEO NTA, advised that this service potentially may be provided at earliest in 2025 – but it is a high priority for them.”

Cllr Glynn said he will continue to pursue those three priorities until they come to fruition.

Cllr Glynn included the provision of the Mullingar Town Bus Service and the reopening of the Mullingar to Athlone railway line in his submission on the Mullingar Local Area Plan, saying it would connect commuters to all railway destinations and connects the two major towns in Westmeath.

He added that the transport museum which has been discussed for many years should also be supported and possibly become a national museum, which would bring more tourism investment to the area.


Deputy Troy welcomed the indications from Mr Hendrick on carriage numbers: “I have been contacted by many constituents who have experienced massive overcrowding on this service and some have been forced to spend the entire journey standing in the area between the carriages in cramped circumstances,” he said.

Service 115

“If we want to encourage more and more people to use public transport, we need to keep improving the offering and ensure that it is punctual, reliable and comfortable,” Deputy Troy said.

“Alan Parker, chief customer officer, has confirmed that the 115 bus Dublin to Mullingar route timetable has been reconfigured since last week and this has resulted in a significant increase in reliability. The bus, at various times was running extremely late and that was having a knock-on effect on other services.”