I used Irish Rail to go to Limerick last weekend where I experienced two extremes of their customer service. Because of that, it’s hard to be completely positive or negative about how Irish Rail treated me. Neutral would be the best description I suppose.
Firstly the poor service, I thought I wouldn’t make the 6pm train, so I tried to find a way to either cancel the ticket I had or at least change my booking – I’d booked online a few days before.
You’ll find that it is not possible to actually speak to anyone in person to cancel or amend an online booking with Irish Rail. You can only send them an e-mail with your booking reference. So, I e-mailed them without much hope at 9.30am Friday morning. I sort of thought that if they only had an e-mail address to monitor that I might get some response. And I did. At 9.43am on Saturday morning, nearly 16hours after my train departed. How useless is that!!!!
On the positive side, after not getting any response by 5pm Friday, and finding no way to chase up on my earlier mail, I legged it for the train at 6pm. However, by the time I’d arrived at Heuston, I realised I didn’t have the correct credit card from by booking, or even have my e-mail confirmation with me.
In similar experiences within the UK, this would normally cause a problem in either getting a copy of my ticket, or even getting on the train. However, after queueing up at the ticket desk and giving my name and my “problem”, the kind lady behind the counter (after a wry smile that I’d arrived 5minutes before the train was due to depart) she went away and very quickly came back with a copy of my ticket for me. Excellent, and without any trouble!
However, after all that, the clincher was the actual service on the train. The Limerick/Cork train I was on which is supposed to be fast, was going at a speed which meant that the carriage I was in was moving quite violently from side to side. It was most uncomfortable, and caused much discomfort for myself for myself and my fellow travellers.