western rail corridor
rail links




West=On=Track -News

Fast track funding

Editorial Daily Ireland - 25th August 2005

In recent days there have been calls for the reopening of the Derry-west Donegal railroad which echo the strong case being made by the West on Track campaign to have the Western Rail Corridor (WRC) restored. Such proposals are as much to do with promoting communities effectively isolated from the east coast economic boom as they are to do with efficient and environmental transport systems.

It is hard to believe that there are 115 miles of the WRC from Collooney, Co Sligo to Ennis, Co Clare currently lying idle while traffic jams proliferate on the N17 and N18. Estimated to be worth over euro450 million (£307 million) it is all intact and in public ownership. What a waste of a national and regional asset!The success of the Ennis-Limerick section of the WRC, which re-opened in December 2003 and carried 140,000 passengers in just a single year, proves that people in the west will use good inter-regional services if they are provided. In fact, if the will is there, trains could actually be running between Sligo, Galway and Limerick within three to five years &endash; and a Derry-Donegal-Sligo link is not beyond us.

By opening this Sligo-Limerick railway to freight, 30,000 heavy goods vehicles could be removed immediately from the roads of Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. This will have immeasurable safety and environmental benefits while easing the congestion caused by 27,000 cars daily passing through Claregalway and other points on the N17 and N18. But these projects are also about balanced regional development.

Up until now there has been little understanding on the part of Iarnród Éireann, Northern Ireland Railways or the departments of transport, North and South, of the public transport services required by those living in the BMW (Border, Midlands, West) region and the west of Ireland. The development of rail services has been limited to those in and out of Dublin, often without any real understanding of the needs of the consumer.

Reports yesterday that these areas on the edge are also the most impoverished in Ireland only underlines the need for a flagship transport project.Looking to the future, a re-opened WRC will bring this country very close to having a rail circuit of Ireland, providing enormous tourism and economic benefits to the whole island and, tying in with the vision of the Good Friday Agreement, could amount to ¤86.5 million (£60 million) annually.

Speaking in the Dáil in March, the Taoiseach confirmed that he expected the WRC to be part of the new ten-year National Transport Plan and that the necessary funding would be provided for it. The authorities in the North should be moving ahead as swiftly with feasibility studies into a Derry-Donegal link.

The WRC is now clearly a political decision and one which will have a major influence on the outcome of the next general election throughout the whole western region. Every week there are reports of the state's coffers being awash with money. It is now time that a meaningful portion of the massive national expenditure programme found its way to the west.








| Maps | About WOT | Latest News | Archive | History | Links |
| Photo Gallery| Burma Road Gallery 1981|
| Inspection of the Western Rail Corridor
Visit Our YouTube Channel
WOT facebook

Further Information Email rail @ westontrack.com

Website sponsored by Mayo Ireland Ltd

Visit the Mayo Ireland website for up to date information on County Mayo.