Last Chance for Western
Western People - 19th
There is an uncontestable case for the re-opening of the
Western Rail Corridor with up to 11,000 container movements
from the region worth an estimated euro4 billion presently
being moved annually by road, writes Christy Loftus.
Each forty foot container represents ten thousand times
more damage to the road infrastructure than a single car and
yet hundreds of thousands of tonnes of timber is being moved
from the West through Dublin to Waterford causing
inestimable maintenance problems on the road network.
A report due to be presented to the government in March
will highlight the benefits to be gained from the
re-introduction of rail connections along the West coast to
the South East, while also drawing attention to the inequity
of infrastructure spend as between the BMW region and the
east coast. According to Mr Frank Dawson, Director of
Services to the Galway Community and Enterprise Programme,
who is heading up the campaign for the re-introduction of
West rail services "this is the last chance for the Western
Mr Dawson said there were twelve towns along the route of
the corridor and in Galway alone there were nineteen
settlements that would benefit from the existance of a
working railway. He said it would be a disaster for this
country if it was to turn away from rail transport at a time
when all other countries in the EC were turning to rail to
solve their transport problems.
He added that estimates of future business in rail
clearly indicated that the cost of running the service could
be met from fares and charges once the investment was made
in the line.
He warned however that the signs were "ominous" with an
excellent freight depot in Sligo that included a euro2.5m
gantry lying idle because Iarnród Eireann had no
commitment to freight. Cllr Michelle Mulherin, Chairperson
of the Mayo Roads and Transportation committee said that if
the West of Ireland was to be given the chance to develop
the Western Rail Corridor "could not but be opened."
"There is nothing for it but to re-open this corridor as
soon as possible. As a nation we have to reduce the growth
in traffic on our roads and that means investment in
"The government has spent up to euro9billion on
infrastructure in Dublin including euro2 billion on the Luas
and the Metro. Only a tiny fraction of that amount has been
invested in the West.
"It is not acceptable that there should be such an
underspend here," she stated.