Irish Rail says planning appeal will not delay western route


IARNRÓD ÉIREANN said last night that the reopening of the €106 million first phase of the Western Rail Corridor will not be delayed by a planning appeal against the refurbishment of Gort train station.

The reopening of the line between Ennis and Athenry will restore intercity services between Galway and Limerick and Cork along with increased commuter services into Galway city.

Five stations, including Gort train station, are to be upgraded as part of the works. However, Gort company Coen Holdings Ltd has lodged an appeal against a decision by Galway County Council to give the go-ahead for the new station at Gort. The works include a new station, including the provision of two 90-metre platforms along with an 80-space car park.

The appeal lodged by Coen Holdings - even if it not upheld - delays the works on the new station until early 2009 as a decision is not expected on the appeal before December 22nd next.

Iarnród Éireann held an information evening for the public on the rail project in Ennis last night and its business development manager for the midwest, Jim Gallivan, said the reopening of the corridor will not be delayed by the appeal.

Mr Gallivan said the corridor will open in late spring 2009 and is not dependent on the upgrading of the Gort station being completed as the trains on the corridor will be able to go past Gort before the station upgrade is complete.

In their appeal, Coen Holdings state they have no objection to the development at Gort train station. However, they say that on the basis of traffic difficulties and traffic hazards likely to arise as a result of the proposal, they recommend planning permission be refused and the applicant be required to reconsider the plan.

The company claims the proposal is premature pending an overall proposal in relation to the upgrading of the roadway from Gort to the location.

Mr Gallivan said the train will be two-carriage with capacity for 105 people and it is the intention that the initial frequency will be five times each way per day, increasing to seven times per day.