Why are we enduring old trains? Aceves-Cully [Carrickfergus Times]

I would like to comment on this morning service from Carrickfergus to Belfast Great Victoria St leaving Carrick at 7:40. The train was not one of the new ones, something that by now the Larne line passengers have again got used to (despite we were promised back in May that the new CAF trains would be used backed up by the old refurbished Castle class trains). The train wasn’t a “refurbished” one, it was one of the really old ones with manual doors.

I took a seat and the train departed approximately 2 minutes late (why if the train was already there waiting to go?). I started to feel water on my shoulder from a leak on the roof. I was lucky I could move to another “dry” seat. I could see I wasn’t the only one, as there were leaks in other parts of the carriage. The train was packed up and at another station, a student sat on the “wet” seat. I advised her about the leak but she didn’t seem to mind. Eventually she opened up an umbrella to prevent more water falling on her shoulders!

The “semi express” service crawled its way up to Belfast, at very low speed, unusual even for us on that line and arrived at least 12 minutes late (meaning me being late for work!). It eventually made its way into Central Station. All passengers were told to change trains, even though that service normally goes to Great Victoria St. I thought that the reason for that was some kind mechanical failure, I thought that that was the reason for going so slowly. No, it was not that, as the same train (which arrived at platform 4) was to leave for Carrick from the same platform. I’m sure passengers were not pleased! Certainly not a very pleasant journey.

My question is: why are we still enduring those old trains where other lines enjoy exclusively the benefits of the new Spanish trains? I have used the train every working day over the last 2 weeks and only once the train has been on time and only twice in that period I have been on a new train. It really seems to me that the new timetable is made for the new trains, as the only trains will not achieve quicker journeys just because the new timetable says they should. Therefore, either Translink puts the CAFs into use or will need to change the time table again before it starts losing customers.

The trains Translink is still using on the Larne line are old, slow and filthy both inside and outside and surely a safety hazard especially those ones with manual doors, which often have missing door handles or windows which do not open/close. Why have customers not been given an explanation from Translink as to the non use of the new trains on this line? Is this the way Translink want to attract more commuters onto the trains? I don’t think so.

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