Irish Rail network – room to improve


A chara, – Joe Lynam (Opinion & Analysis, February 29th) makes a very strong case for the development of a Japanese-style bullet train network for Ireland. He does concede that the demand is not there yet for such a grand project.

Ireland’s rail network is in reality two networks: Rosslare-Sligo-Dundalk, including the North, based on Connolly; and everywhere else, based on Heuston. Only the Phoenix Park tunnel links the two, meaning that for much of Ireland travel must be through Dublin. There is a significant advantage to be gained from a link between the Heuston-based network and the Connolly/Pearse-based network. There is a potential alignment from north of Hazelhatch & Celbridge, leaving the Heuston network to pass the eastern side of Weston Airport and join the Maynooth line at Collinsbridge. After Castleknock the route would then leave the Maynooth line to pass through the Navan Road junction and run alongside the M50 to J5 or J4. From here it would run under the airport then to and under Swords before joining the Belfast mainline just south of Donabate. A possible southward branch from the airport could turn east to join the mainline just north of Clongriffin.

Hazelhatch and Cellbridge, and enlarged stations at Clonsilla and Donabate, would be new interchanges between radial routes into Dublin, and the bypass route.

This development would greatly reduce the motor traffic to and from Dublin Airport, and enable the development of Weston airport to handle internal flights linked efficiently with Dublin Airport. It would permit direct train services from Belfast or Sligo to Cork, Limerick or Waterford. It would also relieve Dublin congestion by taking a huge amount of traffic away from Dublin Airport, and from the Connolly-Heuston train, bus and taxi services, freeing these up for local journeys. It would also permit, for example, residents of Naas and Lucan to work in Malahide and Balbriggan and vice versa.

The reopening of the Phoenix Park tunnel has shown the potential of improving the existing network. There is much more yet to be gained from what we already have. – Is mise,


Dundalk, Co Louth.