western rail corridor
rail links




West=On=Track - News

Broad Welcome for Working Group on Western Rail Corridor

Tuam Herald - Thursday 13th April 2004


By Claire Gallagher

THE Minister for Transport confirmed this week that the Expert Working Group established to examine in detail the potential of the Western Rail Corridor would include local county councillor Tom McHugh.

The Working Group will be chaired by Pat McCann, Chief Executive of Jurys Doyle Hotel Group and a native of Ballymote, Co. Sligo.Other members of the group include the county managers of counties Galway, Clare, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Limerick and Cork and a member from the four local regional authorities &emdash; West Regional Authority, Mid West Regional Authority, Border Regional Authority and the South West Regional Authority.

Frank Dawson from the Galway County Development Board will represent the City and County and Development Boards, and Lisa McAllister will represent the Western Development Commission.Tuam County Councillor Tom McHugh was one of three nominated for the group by West on Track.Martin Cunniffe, Claremorris, and Helen Rochford-Brennan, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo were also nominated by this lobby group. Fr. Michéal MacGréil SJ, Westport, and Terry Byrne, Circular Road Sligo were included in the group after being nominated by the Inter County Rail Committee. Iarnród Éireann's Michael Reidy and Tom Finn, as well as Robert Leech from the Railway Procurement Agency will also sit on the working group.The final member of the group is Ed O'Callaghan from the Department of Transport.

The Working Group will be charged with examining the costs and benefits of opening the western corridor, the travel demand that gives rise to the proposal, and how the proposal might be funded. It will examine where the Corridor stands in the context of the findings of the National Spatial Strategy, the Strategic Rail Review, the Regional Planning Guidelines, relevant county and city development plans, the submissions put forward in its favour and the current and proposed road investment programmes.

Naming the group members, Minister for Transport Seamus Brennan said, "The Western Rail Corridor has the potential to play a vital strategic role in the eventual rebalancing of the West coast with the East coast, a policy I am strongly committed to as part of the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy." While the Strategic Rail Review did not include the Corridor in its recommended investment strategy, the minister declined to accept that finding as final and met with a number of groups advocating the re-opening of the Corridor.

One of those groups was West on Track. Spokesman Colman O Raghallaigh from Claremorris said that he did not believe that the new working group would be a talking shop. "I do believe that the minister is genuine in this and the people in this group have no interest in a talking shop. "We are not talking about building a ladder to the moon here, it is already there," he said referring to the track connecting Sligo to Cork. It would cost _249 million to open the whole line according to a report published by West on Track.

THE Galway County Development Board believe that the establishment of the Expert Working Group regarding the Western Rail Corridor represents a dramatic step forward in the provision of transport infrastructure in the west of Ireland. "The long derelict railway from Sligo to Limerick is about to be seriously assessed for the first time and I am very proud of the role played by my Board and the Boards along the route in this dramatic government decision," commented Board Chairman Councillor Michael Fahy. Cllr. Fahy welcomed the emphasis that is being placed initially on that part of the line that serves Co. Galway and he said that thanks to the hard work of many local organisations the prospect of rail travel from Galway to Limerick and Sligo was no longer an aspiration, but was now a real prospect.

"Closure of the Western Rail Corridor in the 60s and 70s represented an era of recession, decline and immigration in our recent history, while its re-opening will reflect confidence, growth, optimism and prosperity in the Western Region," he added. He also said that the Minister's invitation to Iarnrod Eireann to submit proposals immediately to open a Park and Ride Station in Oranmore was a tremendous vote of confidence in the Board's proposals to introduce local commuter train services.

The Director of Galway County Development Board Frank Dawson will represent City and County Development Boards on the Expert Working Group. Mr. Dawson said that the single issue that united each and every County and City Development Board from Donegal to Cork as expressed in their recently published County and City Strategies, was the desire to exploit the potential of the Western Rail Corridor, in order to contribute to public transport and heavy freight transport along its route.

"For the first time the fate of a West of Ireland Railway will be decided in the West. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get down to work," said Mr. Dawson.








| Maps | About WOT | Latest News | Archive | History | Links |
| Photo Gallery| Burma Road Gallery 1981|
| Inspection of the Western Rail Corridor
Visit Our YouTube Channel
WOT facebook

Further Information Email rail @ westontrack.com

Website sponsored by Mayo Ireland Ltd

Visit the Mayo Ireland website for up to date information on County Mayo.