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West=On=Track - News

Reopening of rail link not so costly

Connacht Tribune
November 21st 2003

By Declan Tierney

The re-opening of the Sligo to Limerick rail line, which would take in Tuam, will cost a staggering Euro300 million less than envisaged in a review which took place a number of months ago.

A meeting, involving top CIE officials, Government representatives and those who are campaigning for the reopening of the western rail corridor, heard that the project would not be as expensive as originally thought.

Iarnrod Eireann who are opposed to the reopening of the rail corridor on economic grounds, have agreed that the capital costs would not be the euro600million suggested by a strategic rail review during the summer - but half that amount.

Cllr. Michael Connolly, Chairman of the Galway County Development Board, said that the meeting came as a result of the intervention of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport which he described as an encouraging move.

He said that a major case was being made for the reopening of the western rail corridor and the fact that it now emerged that it didn't cost as much as originally thought, was a positive step.

"This Oireachtas committee is a highly influential advisory group to the Government and their attention to this issue represents a major advancement in the progress being made to date" said Cllr Connolly.

He said that if the western rail corridor was opened it could result in commuter rail travel in the greater Galway area as well as bringing passengers from Tuam and Oranmore into the city.

Cllr. Connolly said that both Galway County Council and Galway City Council has established integrated transport co-ordinating groups but their function was diluted if not given powers by the Department of Transport.

Meanwhile, the Fianna Fail councillor said that he regretted an Iarnrod Eireann decision to pass up an opportunity to introduce an early morning Midlands to Galway city train service.

Instead the company introduced another midday service which would primarily suit Dublin passengers.

"We cannot claim to have a comprehensive rail service when the first train arriving in Galway city is at 10.15am - Iarnrod Eireann are simply not putting in the effort as far as the West of Ireland is concerned.








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