The Belfast to Dublin train has been a part of life since 1947, connecting the island of Ireland’s two capitals for 75 years. As Enterprise celebrates the 75th anniversary of the line, aspirations to increase the number of trains running between the cities have emerged.
As early as next spring the company hopes to run hourly trains to and from Dublin, which will make a huge difference as currently there are only 8 each way daily. CEO of Translink, Chris Conway, spoke at the anniversary celebration yesterday, saying:
“We want to bring an hourly service as soon as possible, we’re already working with the SEUPB for funding, which they have committed a certain amount of funding for that, and also with the department for infrastructure and department for transport.”
“We’re also working with Irish Rail, just using our existing fleet, to see if there is a way we can bring an hourly service in sooner, even at peak times, so maybe to do that by spring of next year.”
The service incorporates several stations along the way, so this will be great for those who have to commute across the border for work, and it’s always played an important role in the island’s history. In 1971, women protesting the lack of access to contraceptives in the Republic of Ireland caught the train to Belfast to buy them there.
The protest was called the Contraceptive Train and when the women arrived back into Dublin with contraceptive pills (actually aspirin because they didn’t have prescriptions) it was a landmark moment for women’s rights in Ireland.
During The Troubles the line was subject to a great deal of bomb threats and, as a symbolic gesture, the Peace Train Organisation was formed, riding a packed train across the border and even on to London. Seventy five years of history have played out on the Belfast to Dublin train and where there was once only one train a day there could soon be one every hour!