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Ballina freight movement to resume within two months

Western People - Wednesday 8th February 2006

FREIGHT traffic from Ballina is set to re-commence in mid-April of this year, Dr Jerry Cowley, T.D. has been advised by the Transport Minister Mr Martin Cullen.

Dr Cowley had raised the issue of freight movements from Ballina in the Dáil on a number of occasions following the withdrawal of the service in mid-2005.

He had been assured that the service was to resume under new management in August last year and again in December.

He asked the Minister to state his own view on whether or not the continued use of the rail line for freight services was an essential element of the transport infrastructure for Mayo.

Mr Cullen said he had been informed by Iarnród Éireann that it was in negotiations with a shipping company about the transport of full container trains between Ballina and Waterford Port and subject to clarification on a number of outstanding issues, the service was due to commence in mid-April.

"It is my policy that Iarnród Éireann should remain in the rail freight business. I am aware that it has made great strides in restructuring this element of its operations. To help to achieve the goal of returning the freight business to profitability, Iarnród Éireann withdrew from loss-making single container movements on common user liner trains between Dublin and provincial railheads on 29 July last year," he said.

He added that Iarnród Éireann remained keen to provide economically viable container transport by rail on the basis of full trainloads, point-to-point and continued to pursue a policy of growing its rail freight business where opportunities present.

Dr Cowley said he welcomed the news that the service would re-start in April. However he would await developments and was wary of any commitment by the Minister in view of the failure on two occasions last year to re-commence the service.








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