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West=On=Track -News

Charlestown rail platform is set to be restored

Western People - Tueday 21st February 2006

By Orla Hearns

THE West on Track Committee expects a positive announcement with regard to the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor before the next General Election.

Hedgecutting on the northern section of the line together with the restoration of the station platform in Charlestown by the local development association in conjunction with FAS are viewed as positive pointers of an anticipated move to revive the line. Irish Rail this week confirmed that preservation works have been taking place on the railway line between Claremorris to Collooney in the event of a future decision to re-open the line.

Cllr Gerry Murray, who is one of the Charlestown representatives on the West on Track Committee, said work was progressing in Charlestown on the basis that the railway line would be re-opening. The only question was when that would happen. "We are still lobbying to have the whole network reopened in one tranche," he explained.

He said the West on Track Committee will continue to put pressure on the Government to re-open the entire track and award two tenders for the project. One contractor should commence in Ennis and the other in Collooney so that they would meet half way.

Cllr Murray said the a line between Claremorris and Charlestown would not be viable without linking to Sligo and other gateway cities: "Two million passengers are carried every year by bus on the Sligo-Galway-Limerick route. That is one of the most compelling arguments for the re-opening of the Western rail link," he remarked.

"I would be very surprised if there was no positive announcement in relation to the opening of the whole line before the next general election," he remarked.

The Councillor said the Government could not justify its proposed investment of euro34billion in a metro system for Dublin without a physical committment to transport in the West. The cost of re-opening the West on Track Campaign estimates that the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor would cost euro350million.

"I am confident that no matter who is in power a committment will be made to re-open the track from Sligo to Limerick and to do it within 5 years," Cllr Murray concluded.

Mr Barry Kenny, spokesperson for Irish Rail, confirmed to the Western People that hedgecutting has taken place on the railway line between Claremorris and Collooney in recent weeks. This will enable Irish Rail to assess whether there has been any encroachment on the rail line.

"We need to ensure that that does not happen in the event of a decision to re-open the line," Mr Kenny said.








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