Confidence in Rail Service being eroded before ever additional Service come on Track – BREEN.

December 21st, 2009 - Pat Breen

Confidence in the reliability of the Rail Service is being eroded before ever the expansion of the Western Rail Corridor is on track, Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen said today. Deputy Breen’s comments follow the ongoing closure of the Rail Line between Ennis and Limerick which has been closed now since the 1st December because of flooding on the track at Ballycar, near Newmarket on Fergus.

“This same section of the rail line was flooded previously in February of 2008 and at that stage Commuter Rail Services between Ennis and Limerick were disrupted for 50 days. This track was lifted in 2004 and when this flooding occurred in 2008, I was advised by Iarnrod Eireann, that a further substantial lift would require major civil engineering works and they were to investigate the feasibility of having this work done. The OPW at the time were also to undertake a feasibility study to look at the whole catchment areand to include hydro geological studies so that a future plan could be developed. I have seen little evidence of any action being undertaken in the meantime.”

“The 2005 Faber Maunsell report, predicted that the Ennis to Galway leg of the Western Rail Corridor will be its most successful section, generating nearly, half, or 43% of the total new business projection. That same report predicts that following the re-instatement of the Western Rail Corridor, that a total of 234,000 new trips annually, or 750 new trips daily, would be made on the Iarnrod Eireann network and this would rise to 945 trips per day by 2020 due to an expected 35% increase in the population of Ennis and other towns by that time.”

“The expansion of the Western Rail Corridor has already fallen victim to delays. Services were expected to commence before the end of the year on the Ennis to Athenry Line, but recently flooding has also affected this scheduled. While, work on the provision of Car Parking facilities to facilitate a Commuter Stop at Sixmilebridge, has only commenced in the past number of weeks.”

“The OPW must now outline what proposals they have to permanently address flooding on this section of the Rail line at Ballycar, otherwise, my fear is that consumer confidence and the future of the entire Commuter rail services will be jeopardised.”