Rail route numbers low


PASSENGERS NUMBERS on the long-anticipated first phase of the Western Rail Corridor are falling far short of projections made in the business case for the route.

In March last year, the €106 million route from Ennis to Athenry – connecting Galway to Limerick by rail – was opened after years of lobbying in the west.

However, figures provided by the Department of Transport in response to a Freedom of Information request show that passenger numbers between May and September last year averaged 4,800 a month. “This translates into an annual figure of between 62,400 and 67,158 which is well below the 100,000 trips assumed in the business case,” an Irish Rail official wrote.

The Iarnród Éireann business case anticipated the service would require an annual subsidy of €2.4 million to operate. Figures provided by Iarnród Éireann show passenger numbers from October to the end of December dropped, with a monthly average of 4,330.