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Letter to The Editor 'Western People'

29th September 2006 


Dear Sir

The latest news in regard to the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor is encouraging inasmuch as we are now starting to see some action after years of investigations, reports and more reports.

But the timescales, with reaching Collooney/Sligo envisaged for some, yet to be announced, date after 2014, are unjustifiably too long. Those of us located north of Claremorris, and particularly those at the County Sligo end of the line will be quite justified in feeling that we have been "long fingered".

Some of the more senior amongst us must be wondering if we will ever again see a train on the Claremorris/Collooney "Burma Road" section in our lifetimes, with the huffing and puffing on the part of the government in its response to the project, as an entire reopening i.e. Ennis to Sligo, despite the announcements that have been made, and one is left with a feeling that the government is still being dragged "kicking and screaming" to this project as a whole.

Whilst money is now being spent on "preserving" "the Burma Road", this is no substitute at all for just getting on with the job in a more meaningful, indeed, enthusiastic way. We do not want a preserved railway. A preserved railway costs more money to keep it preserved - and for eight years, and more?

The money would be better spent in getting the line opened properly, and expeditiously. Are we really to settle for the timescales that are being put upon us, after all the great effort that has been put into the reopening campaign to date?

Whilst there may be, perhaps, a sense of elation, even "euphoria", at what is now to happen at the bottom end of the line with the phased reopening to Athenry, Galway, Tuam and Claremorris, I am afraid that this rather peters out by the time EastMayo/Sligo is reached.

What can be done to get a better momentum going here, and to getting the whole project jacked up a gear or two (or three!)?

We are now entering a period (perhaps sooner than later, given current events) when our Dail representatives/other prospective political movers and shakers will be tuning in their "listening ears" and we must not miss this opportunity to engage them in the campaign for the reinstatement of the WRC, in its entirety, pursuant to getting the whole project accelerated, and progressing to a more sensible timescale, which, quite frankly, it is not, at the present time.

Let us not sit back content that some action is now being taken to reopen the WRC. There is still much work to be done, we are not there yet.

Yours faithfully

Michael Fox
Co Mayo








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