Limerick to Sligo
Limerick Leader -20th May
LIMERICK rail commuters could soon be able to travel
straight from Limerick to Sligo if plans for the Western
Rail Corridor are finally given the green light.
Last Friday a meeting of all parties involved in the
Western Rail Corridor was held in Castlebar where a report
was handed to Minister for Transport Martin Cullen on the
prospect of developing the line.
"The funding for the Western Rail Corridor will be part
of the capital transport envelope which is to be announced
over the coming weeks. The Taoiseach said that the entire
project will be in it but the report defines the order in
which it might be introduced," said Colmán Ó
Raghallaigh, a spokesperson for West on Track. The group
have been lobbying the Government for the development of the
line to capture the "tremendous potential" such
infrastructure in the West would have.
"Take the Limerick to Ennis line - in the first year
130,000 people travelled on it. The same thing will happen
with the Western Rail Corridor. Galway is the third largest
city and Limerick is almost as big. The third and forth
largest cities should be linked by rail," he said. He said
that tourism is dependant on adequate public transport
facilities as up to 60 per cent of tourists who come through
Shannon Airport rely on it to tour the country.
"We are not talking about building a ladder to the moon.
We are talking about taking track which has been lying there
unused, and using it," Mr Ó Raghallaigh said.
The 185 kilometre railway line has been closed since
1976. It is estimated that the bill for the entire stretch
would come in the region of euro365 million. In 2003, the
Limerick/ Ennis rail line was opened and an estimated
130,000 commuters travelling on the line in the first 12
months of operation. Some 80,000 of these continued to
Dublin on the Limerick/ Dublin service.
Mr Ó Raghallaigh said that this example showed
that through the Western Rail Corridor that the national
railway grid could be used to its maximum potential. "Take
the question of freight. There are huge trucks using the
roads causing traffic problems and ruining roads when most
of the produce could be sent on the train," he added.
He concluded that the Western Rail Corridor would have a
huge impact the balance regional development in the West and
would be a "stunning success" when it finally reaches a