Limerick-Castleconnell rail route could be under threat

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

The Castleconnell line could be under threat from Irish Rail's plans

The Castleconnell line could be under threat from Irish Rail's plans

SINN Fein Senator Paul Gavan says any proposed closure to rail lines around Limerick must be “resisted”.

His comments come after it emerged that Irish Rail earmarked three routes in the region for closure.

In a submission to the Labour Court, reported by the Irish Independent, the state rail firm has proposed closing routes with the largest state subvention per journey.

These include the Limerick to Ballybrophy line which provides four return journeys per day between Colbert station and the village.​

Also proposed for the chop is the Limerick Junction to Waterford line and the Ennis to Athenry route, which forms a part of the Limerick to Galway service.

But rather than cut these, Castleconnell Senator Mr Gavan believes there needs to be investment in Ireland’s rail network.

Referring specifically to the Limerick-Ballybrophy line, he said any closure would be “short sighted”.

“The line has never received the investment it needs to work properly,” he added, pointing out that the railtrack passes by Castletroy, the National Technology Park and the University of Limerick.

“There is a growing campaign for a light rail system in Limerick. If we're serious about 21st century transport for our city, we need to make that investment .That line is crucial for that vision. This comes back to a complete lack of ambition for our city. what we need to see is investment in the railway line to make it more viable in terms of speed, times and having the ambition to build a network for the city,” Mr Gavan said.

Irish Rail claims it could gave €17.6m a year by closing Limerick to Ballybrophy, Limerick Junction to Waterford, Ennis to Athenry as well as Gorey to Rosslare in the south-east of the country.

The closure of Limerick to Ballybrophy and Limerick Junction to Waterford would save over €5m each, the company argues.

The document presented to the Labour Court reveals that the subsidy for the Limerick to Ballybrophy route is €761.60 per passenger journey.