Limerick-Galway train back on track after 34 years

 

PASSENGER TRAINS between Limerick and Galway cities will resume running from tomorrow following a gap of almost 34 years.

Iarnród Éireann is reopening the line, which was built in 1869, at a cost of €106 million. It will run five services a day in each direction Monday to Saturday and four on Sundays.

The line will serve eight stations, including the existing stations at Limerick, Ennis, Athenry and Galway, and four new stations at Sixmilebridge, Gort, Ardrahan and Craughwell.

Journey times will be slow, with most trains taking just under two hours to travel between the cities and the first morning weekday service from Limerick to Galway having a journey time of two hours 25 minutes. The AA route planner estimates the journey time at 1 hour 29 minutes by road.

An Iarnród Éireann spokesman said the duration of the journey was largely due to the number of level crossings on the line and its alignment. “We are dealing with the original alignment which has quite a lot of curvature. We have managed to eliminate more than 100 level crossings, but there are still 42 on the line, though we do hope to taken another dozen or so off over the next 12 months.”

However, he said the journey times could compare quite favourably with rush-hour road journeys.

Rail passenger lobby group Rail Users Ireland said it was pleased the line had reopened but said the service was not adequate and the potential of the line was not being fully utilised.