Train Service Gets Connected, Wifi with Airappz

DART Station at Tara Street
Creative Commons License photo credit: Let Ideas Compete

FIRST THEY upgraded the trains. Then there was the new seats and the power points (offset possibly by the increase in food and ticket prices for the trains themselves). Now it looks like Irish Rail users on the Dublin – Cork – Dublin service will be able to available of wireless internet access, free of charge, courtesy of Irish Rail and Airappz.

Sure enough, they won’t be the first to offer wifi access on public transport with several coach operators around the country, including Kavanagh’s here in Kilkenny, offering on-board wifi but the development is something that has been long hoped for and though trialling for six months will hopefully stick around and get rolled out across the new fleet.

The trail installation will be for a complete trainset for the duration of the trail. After these 6 months Irish Rail will (together with Airappz) evaluate the usage & performance data and based on this they will decide whether or not to put the provision of a fleet-wide wifi service out to public tender.

I’ve never been one to take long journeys on the bus and up until I started driving I would almost always look to take the train, or a connection of trains to reach my destination. Though the cost of tickets has gone through the roof (I was shocked to pay €32 earlier in the week for a return to Dublin from Kilkenny, let alone the cost of a return from Cork to Dublin – €78.50 monthly return at time of writing), the train is still relied on by thousands of business commuters around the country, particularly those living outside of but working in Dublin.

Watching tweets over the last few months and years from those testing out mobile broadband dongles on the train to much joy / sorrow depending on what mobile operator you’re with and /or where on the map you’re passing through, I could only hope that the wifi service that will be rolled out on the Cork – Dublin line will be strong, consistent and ultimately be taken up by passengers and Irish Rail alike, paving the way for rollouts on other lines.

When I’m not driving, and Dublin bound (like this weekend gone), the train is still preferred. And if I could get a solid connection to work from without having to rely on mobile signal, I’d certainly be a happy traveller.

Congratulations to Evert Bopp, more good news for an Irish company.


  1. Frank Bradley January 4, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Ken,

    Nice post.

    I’ve stopped using the train to Dublin for almost a year now, due to the cost. I just couldn’t justify it when I could get an open return ticket with JJ Kavanagh for €14 (over half the price of the train). I’ve found Kavanagh’s to be a great service, and the 6.25am bus get’s me into Dublin City Centre (not Heuston!!) about 15/20 minutes before I get in via the train & Luas – worth the sacrifice of getting up that little bit earlier.

    The final straw for me was another price increase last January 2009 (the 3rd consecutive price hike). My wife was on maternity leave and I was looking to cut costs, so the journey’s by train had to go. She has since gone back to work, but I’ve just got used to the bus, and don’t feel it’s worth going back to the train. The only time I use it now is when I can claim back on work expenses as part of a work trip, which are few and far between these days.

    I can’t see train prices dropping anytime, so I don’t think I’ll be changing my travel habits.

    On another note, sticking to the topic of your post, I’ve tried using the WiFi service on Kavanagh’s and most times it has been extremely weak and/or constantly dropping. On the rare occasion it does work, it just takes one person to stream a YouTube video, to grind everyone’s access to a virtual standstill.

  2. Evert Bopp January 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm


    You confirm one of the arguments we have made for the availability of wifi on Irish trains. It will significantly increase the traveler numbers.

    As for JJ Kavanaghs busses, I’ve just these myself several times recently and there was no wifi service at all even though it was advertised. I emailed Kavanaghs about this but have so far not received a reply. Trying to find out what exactly the story is but rumour has it that they’re replacing their current service..

  3. Ken McGuire January 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

    @Frank, Evert – Have to agree on the Kavanagh’s wifi front. While it’s there, and it’s offered, on the 3-4 occasions this year I’ve taken the Dublin or Airport coaches with Kavanagh’s I’ve had no joy at all in connecting.

    @Evert – Best of luck with the trial, hope it goes well.

  4. Frank Bradley January 5, 2010 at 10:22 am


    Not all of the Kavanagh buses have WiFi, only a limited number that have it.

    Regarding Wifi on the train service, I don’t think having this available would make me change back to using the train. The cost of the train is just way to expensive now. €32 for an open return from Kilkenny to Dublin is ridiculous, and don’t get me started on the inability to buy a day return on a Friday!!!

    Now if the journey time was cut down to an hour, I might consider going back to the train.

  5. Ken McGuire January 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

    There’s a lot to be said about that alright. Even in college, with everyone going home on a Friday, I could never get (other than the financial plus for Irish Rail) why they couldn’t sell you a day or single ticket.

    Noticed as well that it’s marginally cheaper to get a five day return (return within five days) rather than a monthly return.

    @Evert – Don’t suppose you’re going to have a word with Kavanagh’s as well about that rumour? 😉

  6. Evert Bopp January 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    @Ken @Frank Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about Irish Rails pricing but yes I “feel your pain”…

    Ken, I am trying to get to the bottom of that rumour but am certain that it’s true…

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