I have to admit I’ve always had a soft spot for Bray. In fact, when I was a kid, Bray seemed as exotic and cool as Monte Carlo (in fairness, not a comparison that’s often drawn).
When the weather was fine and we had a hot day, we would row into my father’s shabby Hillman Hunter at Crumlin and make the long trek to Wicklow.
I still remember the excitement of seeing the sparkling sea as we approached along the winding roads.
Of course we walked Bray Head, but I always wanted to go to those palaces of wonders that we now just call arcades.
A pocket full of coins and a million arcade games to play – what could be more exciting for a child?
Even in bad, very bad weather, we went out only to watch the waves crash along the boardwalk during a storm and laughed as we got soaked from the surf. Modern health and safety regulations didn’t apply to us and wet back then, but happily we shared a bag of chips in the car on the drive home. It was a magical place.
What could make such an exciting location even more attractive?
Well, the thought of watching an air show while having a 99 by the sea would certainly suffice. That’s why thousands of people have decided to make the journey to Bray over the weekend.
After all, what could be better than being in a glorious setting in glorious sunshine and watching some really cool flybys of various fascinating aircraft at the brilliant Bray Air Show?
I had a half-baked plan to take the Dart to Bray, watch some of the planes and then grab a bite to eat before hopping back on board to take us back to Dublin.
Unfortunately, work got in the way and while I curse my bad luck at the time, I’ve never been so relieved to be held up by deadlines – as the events of the weekend were enough to make anyone refuse to ever dart rise again.
The stories that have surfaced over the past few days sound like they are from a developing country.
Not only were there massive delays along the route, but things reached boiling point when a dart simply pulled up on the tracks and commuters languished in carriages with no air conditioning and no opening windows.
Some people had panic attacks. Several passengers fainted in the heat. Finally, some of them forcibly opened the doors and decided to walk on the tracks.
A soldier who happened to be on board explained: “I punched out the protective glass and activated the door opening valve and then opened the doors manually with both hands. Passengers immediately began jumping out of the carriage.
“When I saw that, I went to the other door and did the same. This time I got out of the carriage and helped the other passengers get off. I have helped elderly people [people] and young children then realized that I had to help my own children and family so I got back on board and we walked to the level crossing where many emergency services were mobilized to tend to the dehydrated passengers on the tracks. “
This may all sound a bit like Liam Neeson, but the unnamed soldier certainly made an important contribution and deserves the thanks of his fellow travelers.
Irish Rail announcer Barry Kenny may well have the worst job in Ireland. To be honest, I feel for the guy. He only appears on radio and TV when there’s been a big bang, but in all fairness he invariably manages to appease public anger by coming across as a reasonable man who understands their anger.
Plenty of trouble ensued after the weekend chaos – although the guy carried on live line and compared the experience to being on one of the trains Schindlers List could probably benefit from a lesson in perspective.
The dart has been a problem for quite some time.
Unannounced announcements and unexplained delays are bad enough.
But in recent months there has also been a massive rise in anti-social behavior from gangs who dare to dart just to intimidate other people.
For example two of my friends were abused on the route to Howth a few weeks ago and then attacked and only the fact that one of them is quite skilled with his fists kept the situation from getting out of hand.
People don’t need that hassle if they just want to enjoy a day at the seaside.
Aside from the anti-social evils that have plagued the Darts and the Luas and the night buses, however, there is a greater gulf between those in power and the rest of us, the little folks.
We are constantly asked to leave the car behind and use public transport instead. A nice idea in theory, but one that obviously doesn’t hold up in reality.
When the Greens or a bunch of environmentalists get down to their favorite pastime – scolding drivers and telling them to use public transport – I always wonder when was the last time any of them actually used that service.
The sad reality is that we have one of the worst funded public transport systems in Europe. Of course, there can be additional delays when demand exceeds capacity, but there are issues that can be resolved without breaking the bank.
For example, when was the last time you saw security guards on an intercity train? I regularly take the train to Cork and while the staff are brilliant they are not paid to look after the gangs of eejits who frequently ruin the trip for everyone else.
I have seen young carriage staff visibly startled by the intimidating behavior of these thugs who play loud music, yell at each other, throw empty beer cans on the ground and generally act like animals who obviously enjoy freaking everyone else out.
Jumping on a dart should be one of life’s simple pleasures, not a test of endurance. Although we could probably do without the comparisons Schindlers List.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/chaos-on-the-dart-to-bray-was-symptom-of-wider-problem-we-need-more-investment-41870067.html The chaos at Dart to Bray was a symptom of a broader problem – we need more investment