Iarnród Éireann passenger numbers up by 1 million
But Nenagh and Waterford to Limerick branch lines show decline in usage
Dart and other commuter services reached 29.3 million journeys. Photograph: Iarnród Éireann
Passenger journeys on Iarnród Éireann services increased by almost one million in 2014 but usage of the two worst-performing branch lines continued to decline.
In total, 37.6 million journeys were made on intercity, Dart and other commuter services last year, compared with 36.7 million journeys in 2013.
The increases were recorded across nearly all rail modes, with intercity travel on national routes up from 8.1 million to 8.4 million journeys, and Dart and other commuter services increasing from 28.7 million journeys to 29.3 million.
Of particular note was the growth in passenger numbers on the western rail corridor, which saw a 72.5 per cent increase from 29,000 to 50,000 journeys through the Ennis- Athenry section of the line.
The company said the increases followed the introduction of online booking and promotional fares for the route. When figures for the Limerick to Ennis and Athenry to Galway section were included, numbers on the western rail corridor were in excess of 220,000.
Growth recordedOn the major routes, strongest growth was recorded on the Dublin to Galway route, up 6.4 per cent to 1.1 million journeys, and Dublin to Sligo, up 4.1 per cent to 1.2 million journeys. Dublin to Drogheda was the fastest-growing commuter route in the greater Dublin area, up 3.4 per cent to just under six million journeys.
The Cork to Cobh commuter route was up 15 per cent to 730,000, with extra journeys for the Irish Open at Fota Island Resort a significant factor.
However, overall increases masked the continued decline of services on the the Ballybrophy, Nenagh, Limerick branch line where numbers fell from about 24,000 in 2013 to about 23,000 in 2014. Journeys on the Limerick Junction, Carrick- on-Suir, Waterford route also fell from about 31,000 in 2013 to about 28,000 last year.