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
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.