Rail Group gathers 40,000
signatures in bid to re-open rail line
Irish Examiner 16th July
By Michael Brennan
It will be political suicide for the Government if the
Western Rail Corridor is not reopened, the West On Track
group has warned.
The group, which was recently formed to reopen the 145
miles of railway track from Sligo to Limerick, has already
collected 40,000 signatures for its petition in under a
Another 2,000 emails have been sent to Transport Minister
Seamus Brennan's office from the group's website.
"Up to now, the Western Rail Corridor has been ignored,
like the crazy aunt that was kept locked up
in the house. We are going to redouble our efforts and by
the time the local elections come along next year, we hope
to have it in the bag," group spokesman Colman Ó
The reopening of the Western Rail Corridor (WRC) was
dismissed in the recent Strategic Rail Review as too
expensive at _572 million. But West on Track's own analysis
put the cost at _230m. Its vision is of a regular 60mph
three-car train service which serve 20 towns and opens up
the West to workers, students and tourists.
"We're offering the Government the infrastructure to make
an alternative grid, rather than the gridlock you have in
the east. The whole country will benefit," Mr Ó
The group erected hundreds of posters along the N17
before the Connacht football final between Galway and Mayo.
Frustrated supporters stuck in hour-long traffic jams on the
N17 road were told: "If you'd taken the train, you'd be
there by now."
West on Track will also hold a protest in towns across
the West within weeks, as well as publishing supplements in
local newspapers. Mr Ó Raghallaigh said there were
encouraging signs for the project.
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Eamon
Ó Cuiv and Transport Minister Seamus Brennan have
expressed support for the WRC. When the rail line from
Collooney in Co Sligo to Claremorris, Co Mayo, was shut in
1975, Mr Brennan agreed not to dismantle the line.
"For that reason, there is enormous goodwill towards the
minister in the West. We believe he is committed to the rail
corridor but the proof is in the pudding," Mr Ó
The authors of the Strategic Rail Review are making
another study on the WRC and the Western Development
Commission is examining a development strategy for Western
towns, with the rail corridor specifically in mind