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West=On=Track - News

West rail line success boosts hopes of cities-link expansion

Irish Independent - 24th December 2004

The campaign to re-open the Western rail corridor got a boost yesterday with Iarnrod Eireann confirming that passenger numbers on its restored Ennis-Limerick line have "exceeded expectations" in the first year of operation. The 24-mile stretch was originally part of the Western rail corridor between Sligo and Cork, closed in 1976. For years, there was a skeletal service with speed restrictions of 5mph operating before a new commuter Ennis-Limerick service began last December with a euro13m investment. This was the first closed passenger service to be re-opened.

Yesterday, the company's Mid-West business development manager Jim Gallivan said there had been a 40pc increase in inter-city journeys out of Ennis with a 30pc increase of incoming journeys. It is estimated that 54,000 commuting journeys were taken off the N18 linking Ennis and Limerick during the year. As a result of the success, Iarnrod Eireann has secured planning permission to upgrade Ennis station, with work expected to commence next year when an additional 180 car-spaces will be provided. Mr Gallivan said it would seem to be a "logical step" to connect Cork, Limerick and Galway by upgrading the Ennis-Galway line. This would cost euro21m.








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