Chamber leads campaign for
rail corridor to Sligo
Sligo Champion - Wednesday
10th May 2006
By Michael Moran
THE Western Rail Corridor can be delivered all the way to
Sligo by 2011 - if the local community steps up the campaign
to secure it, supporters of the project have claimed.
"This is a realistic timeframe. It can certainly be
achieved, but the people of Sligo must take the fight to
themselves and run with it," Mr. Colman O'Raghallaigh of the
West=on=Track group has said.
Mr. O'Raghallaigh was speaking at a public information
and presentation meeting on the W.R.C. on Monday night,
organised in conjunction with Sligo Chamber of Commerce and
The Chamber has now pledged to establish a working group
from all areas of the community, including the business,
commercial, industrial and tourism sectors and other
interested parties to achieve the objective of having the
Western Rail Corridor operating between Limerick and Sligo
in five years.
With speculation increasing that the Ennis to Claremorris
section will be "advanced dramatically" by 2009, and not
2014 as originally envisaged, the expectation of
West=on=Track is that the Claremorris to Sligo link could
then start immediately.
No timeframe for this section was outlined in the
Government's 'Transport 21' initiative, while Sligo-born,
Pat McCann, the Chief Executive of the Jurys Doyle Hotel
Group, in his 2005 report on the W.R.C. stated that the main
case for re-opening the Claremorris to Collooney section was
on the grounds of balanced regional development.
He recommended that it be reconsidered in 2008 as the
development of Sligo as a Gateway city continues.
The total capital cost of the W.R.C. is euro366 million,
with the section from Claremorris to Colloney-a distance of
46.25 miles-estimated to cost euro197.4m, or an average of
euro4.3m per mile.
"We believe this represents the best value for money and
will provide some of the best infrastructure in the country.
After all, the Drogheda by-pass cost euro250m to build.
"We believe the demand is there for the W.R.C. from Sligo
to Limerick and Irish Rail are also very supportive of
"However, if Sligo wants this project delivered, all
interested parties must say 'sooner, rather than later',"
Mr. O'Raghallaigh maintained.
Under the banner 'Sligo says Yes', West=on=Track are
demanding a commitment to re-open the entire corridor from
Sligo to Limerick within a specific timeframe for both
passenger and freight services, a commitment to specify the
incremental phases against the specific timeframe and the
establishment of a framework for local participation in
overseeing the operation of services on the corridor.
"We have brought this campaign so far, it is now up to
the people of Sligo to take it the final step and ensure
that the W.R.C. becomes reality from here to Limerick," said
"We believe that the city of Sligo, identified in the
National Spatial Strategy as a Gateway, requires the W.R.C.
to come fully into its own under that National Spatial
Strategy," he added.
The President of Sligo Chamber of Commerce, Ann Clinton,
added her support for the campaign.
"We must bring some sort of group together to progress
this and get a timeframe for Sligo. It is felt the rail link
to Claremorris will be delivered in the short rather than
the long term and we should be aiming to get started after
that," she said.