The brand new early morning rail service which gets travellers from Limerick into Cork before 9am began this morning. It's only €11.59 (or half that for young people and students) and there's discounts if you book a few days in advance.
Those of us familiar with the service as it existed up until today were well aware of the limitations of it. Before today if you wanted to travel by train to Cork you would get the 07.25 from Colbert Station which would take you to Limerick Junction. You'd have a 33 minute scheduled wait there before the Dublin to Cork train would arrive and you'd get on that to take you the rest of the way.
The wait on the platform in Limerick Junction is not the most pleasant experience but prior to today you wouldn't get into Kent Station in Cork until 09.35. This really reduced the attractiveness of travelling by train between our third and second cities, and especially so for commuters or anybody who needed to be in Cork for 9am.
Dubliners had the same issue of course. That train that gets in at 09.35 was the first one of the day from Dublin. By putting on an earlier train (leaving at 06.00) the problem was solved for those coming from the capital. The original plan was not to have a train coming out from Limerick City to meet it.
Irish Rail have a significant logistical challenge in putting on any new service (such as limited rolling stock vailability, drivers and other staff) and they have to prioritse where resources are allocated, but I understand a lot of feedback was received when the draft timetable was published and one of the big asks was for that service from Colbert Station in Limerick City to meet the new early Dublin to Cork train be provided. I am very happy that they made the changes and I am confident it will be a popular service. The wait time is virtually eliminated also. From now on it will be a case of stepping off one train and on to another almost immediately.
Note on the image below it is indicated that you have to cross over to Platform 4. This wasn't the case this morning and it's certainly easier and more attractive if you don't have to cross over the tracks via the footbridge, so hopefully that will be the case on an ongoing basis.