Irish Rail will reintroduce on-board catering services on some of its services by the end of March, three years after suspending them during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The resumption comes after a public outcry and the termination of the contract with RailGourmet, the catering service provider. Sales of food and drinks will first return to the Dublin to Cork line, with Portlaoise, Portarlington, Thurles, Limerick Junction, and Mallow being the other stops on the line.
Services will be reintroduced on a phased basis, according to Irish Rail CEO Jim Meade, who met with TDs and senators at Leinster House to discuss the expansion of rail services and increase rail funding in the 2024 budget.
The provision of late-night services and increasing the overall rail funding in Budget 2024 was among the topics also discussed at the meeting.
On-board Services Back on Irish Rail Services
After a hiatus of three years, Irish Rail will bring back on-board catering services on some of its services. The Dublin to Cork line will be the first to have food and drink sales reinstated at the end of March. Irish Rail suspended on-board catering services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and they did not resume after the termination of the RailGourmet contract.
The restoration of late-night services was also discussed, and the rail capacity expansion is expected to take more than a year. New trains are due to arrive in the second quarter of 2022, with a major recruitment programme to hire new drivers and service personnel.
The restoration of on-board services has been widely welcomed, with Fianna Fáil transport spokesperson James O’Connor stating that “on-board services were deeply missed by those who are regular commuters on Irish Rail services so this is very welcome news.”
The decision to reintroduce these services comes amid an increasing focus on expanding rail services and funding for the sector.
Overall, the decision to restore on-board catering services is a positive development for Irish Rail and its customers. As the rail service seeks to expand and modernize, it is clear that there will be many challenges ahead, but also many opportunities for growth and development.
With new trains, increased funding, and a focus on customer satisfaction, Irish Rail is poised to play a central role in the future of transport in Ireland.