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22nd Feb 2023

Iarnród Éireann has confirmed the return of the tea trolley from April on a select route

Emily Mullen

The railway operator has announced that onboard catering services will return to its Cork and Dublin route.

Iarnród Éireann confirmed that Carriage Food Services, who currently also provide catering services on board the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise service, will provide a trolley service on selected services on the Cork to Dublin route from early April, building to all Cork-Dublin services within weeks.

The Cork to Dublin serves the vast majority of customers travelling to/from Kerry (changing at Mallow) and Limerick (changing at Limerick Junction). Once the service resumes in April, 50% of Intercity customers will have onboard catering available, including Dublin-Belfast Enterprise.

While the catering service returns, Iarnród Éireann will also:

  • proceed with a full procurement process for catering services across the Intercity network
  • progress a pilot for catering vending machines on selected trains. 
  • work to identify further opportunities to enhance station retail and catering facilities

An Iarnród Éireann spokesperson said:

“we have been as keen as our customers to see on-board catering resume, and are delighted to be in a position to do so with this interim provision. We also believe that the success of the interim service will ensure that some of the inflated costs being quoted for full catering provision across our Intercity network will be reduced through the full procurement process.”

In an issued press release, Iarnród Éireann explained the difficulty in returning their suspended catering services arising from COVID-19 restrictions. Once restrictions were lifted last February, the company attempted to resume services with their supplier RailGourmet. However, due to costs and staffing issues, the incumbent supplier withdrew from their contract in May 2022.

The decision to focus on the Dublin to Cork route, instead of a partial restoration of onboard services across all routes ensures that the company maximises the number of customers who can avail of catering.

This article was originally posted on 

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