Iarnród Éireann planning to enhance capacity on Ennis-Limerick rail services

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has received confirmation from Iarnród Éireann of its plans to enhance capacity on rail services between Ennis and Limerick.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy McNamara, Iarnród Éireann said it is seeking to invest €300,000 in 2023 and a further €400,000 in 2024 to produce studies and commence a design process to enhance capacity between the Clare County capital town and Colbert Station in Limerick City. The company said the investment is subject to funding and the project successfully progressing through the various approvals.

“I welcome the steps being taken by Iarnród Éireann to further enhance capacity on this vitally important rail connection, which had shown significant growth pre-Covid,” explained Deputy McNamara.

He continued, “Investing in and expanding sustainable transport across Ireland will be key to the Government achieving its stated ambition of reducing car use by 20% by 2030 and for half of all journeys to be made on foot, bicycle, or public transport. Significant investment must be made in rail services between Ennis and Limerick City, including the reduction in the journey time and expanding the frequency of daily services.”

“Responding to my request for details of the investment planned by Iarnród Éireann for its network in County Clare during 2023 and 2024, the company said investment in the maintenance and the renewal of the railway infrastructure continues across all routes including in County Clare,” added Deputy McNamara. “This includes upgrades to assets, improvements to bridges and other structures and improvements to track and other assets such as level crossings. A total of €2.8m will be invested under the Infrastructure Manager Multi-annual contract (IMMAC) in County Clare in 2023.”

Meanwhile, Deputy McNamara is backing the growing campaign for the railway station at Crusheen to be reopened but has expressed his disappointment with Iarnród Éireann’s position regarding the proposal.

In a written response to Deputy McNamara, the company said, “We will keep the case for a railway station at Crusheen under review in line with future demand trends, but at present there is no provision for a station within the current funding profile.”

“It makes little sense at a time when the Government is encouraging the public to consider sustainable transport options that the Department of Transport is not actively engaging with Iarnród Eireann to have Crusheen railway station reopened,” stated Deputy McNamara. “The local community in Crusheen and surrounding areas has undertaken a 20-year campaign to have the rail stop reopened and has demonstrated the significant potential for Iarnród Éireann to increase passenger numbers on its Ennis to Galway service. I will be urging Minister Eamon Ryan to explore this potential directly with Iarnród Eireann.”