Freight traffic on the railway
Letter to The Irish Times, Nov 23rd 2009
Iarnród Éireann deserves warm congratulations upon the swift restoration of the collapsed viaduct at Malahide. Thanks are due also to the alertness of the railwayman who warned of the impending disaster. The response to the collapse accords with the finest traditions of public enterprise.
Events at Malahide are in striking contrast to the railway's attitude to rail freight. EU policy and regulations encourage, indeed require, the fostering of open access for rail freight operators. Iarnród Éireann, however, seems intent upon operating so far as possible a freight-free system. The branch line to Sligo Quay is threatened with excision, and pleas from a freight company for reconnection to the main line of the North Esk yard at Cork have been rejected on ground of cost (this despite a ministerial assurance that the yard can easily be reinstated). The negative attitude of Iarnród Éireann in a time of global warning is the more astonishing under a Government in which Greens participate.
Railways are environmentally beneficial, and recent investment has greatly increased the capacity and economic viability of the Irish network.
The time has come for political action to ensure that freight traffic on the railway grows steadily.
GEORGE HUXLEY, MRIA,
School of Classics,
Trinity College, Dublin 2.