– WDC welcomes new service improvements on Galway-Limerick route and strong passenger numbers

Service improvements on Galway-Limerick line a Boost to Regional Development and Tourism – Western Development Commission

The Western Development Commission (WDC) welcomes the Iarnród Éireann announcement of new service improvements and promotional fares on the Galway-Limerick section of the Western Rail Corridor. The WDC also welcomes the passenger figures from Iarnród Éireann indicating that there have been over 250,000 passenger journeys on the Galway-Limerick route since the line was re-opened in March 2010.

Speaking about the new service Gillian Buckley, acting Chief Executive at the WDC said; ““The WDC welcomes these new figures from Iarnród Éireann which show the demand for these services on the Galway-Limerick line. These figures show that commuters and intercity travellers want this alternative sustainable way of travelling”. The route serving Limerick, Sixmilebridge, Ennis, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell, Athenry and Galway connects the third and fourth largest urban centres in Ireland, promoting economic development between the two centres. It is also a welcome boost to the tourism sector in the towns along the route and the surrounding areas following a very difficult few years for tourism.

“We also welcome the efforts which Iarnród Éireann continue to make to promote both commuter and intercity services on the route. We welcome the recent changes to the schedule, providing for an additional service from Galway to Ennis as well as some journey time improvements but believe that to see the full benefit of the re-instated route we need further improvements in rail journey times. This will ensure that it can compete effectively with the road network and can contribute fully to more sustainable travel”, Ms. Buckley added.

Deirdre Frost, Policy Analyst at the WDC said: “These figures are evidence of the demand for this rail service and we hope that the next phase from Athenry to Tuam and on to Claremorris will proceed despite the current economic difficulties. The WDC 2009 report, ‘Travel to Work and Labour Catchments in the Western Region’ show even stronger demand for rail services north of Galway city. This report found that the number of people commuting to Galway city from the north of the county, for example from the Tuam labour catchment, is actually greater than the number commuting to Galway city from the south; the Gort labour catchment. This strengthens the case for the next stage of the Western Rail Corridor from Athenry to Tuam and on to Claremorris considerably.”

Ms. Frost added, “This type of transport is exactly what the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) envisaged in terms of sustainable public transport linking key centres so that regions can further develop economically. It also means a significant reduction in car based journeys helping to reduce transport emissions.”

Ends

For further information please contact:

Deirdre Frost (086 605 3317), or Gillian Buckley (087 2236 982), Western Development Commission