Crusheen rail station delayed amid talks with developer
THE WESTERN Rail Corridor project has stalled again as Iarnród Éireann continues to negotiate with a third-party developer, it has emerged. Planning permission was granted for the new station at Crusheen along the Ennis to Athenry route last June, but work has yet to commence.
In a written Dáil reply to Timmy Dooley (FF), Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said Iarnród Éireann was “negotiating with a third party over funding contributions. On the conclusion of these negotiations the procurement process for Crusheen will commence.”
Yesterday, Iarnród Éireann said the Crusheen station has contributions from the company’s capital programme, Clare County Council and a third-party developer.
A spokesman said: “We are in discussions with the third party at present, so we must await the outcome of these to determine when the project will proceed, though it is our aspiration to commence works this summer.”
The delay in providing the Crusheen stop comes against the background of Iarnród Éireann conceding the passenger numbers on the WCR are lower than forecast in the business sector. Figures from Iarnród Éireann show 34,461 passengers used the restored Ennis to Athenry link last year. This compares to 66,390 using the Ennis-Limerick route and 123,315 the Athenry-Galway route.
A breakdown of the figures shows the line is busiest in summer, with 4,486 passengers over a four-week period going down to 2,060 in November.
A spokesman for Iarnród Éireann said: “The business case obviously did not provide for the calamitous recession, which has impacted on demand for all transport, due to reduced economic activity. It has also completely brought to a halt development, so the envisaged regional development has not materialised.”