Strong passenger growth on Ennis to Limerick rail service

The number of passengers carried on rail services between Ennis and Limerick during the first six months of 2023 is up 21% on the total figure for 2019.

Figures released by Iarnród Éireann to Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara reveal that 44,007 passengers used the service up to the end of June compared to 36,336 for all of 2019. A total of 56,684 passengers were carried on the route during 2022.

Deputy McNamara said the increase highlights a strong public appetite for public transport but warned that any further increase in passenger numbers will be dependent on a Government investment programme in existing rail infrastructure and services.

In response to questions by Deputy McNamara, Iarnród Éireann also confirmed that a technically feasible drainage solution to ongoing flooding along a section of the Ennis to Limerick rail line at Ballycar will cost €16.7 million and will require Exchequer funding. The report on flood relief options at Ballycar was recently completed by Consultant Engineers RPS for Iarnród Éireann and stakeholder representatives from Clare County Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) and the National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS).

While any move to alleviate the historic flooding at Ballycar, is welcome as it has disrupted rail services on countless occasions down through the years, it is also imperative that value be obtained for exchequer funding” explained Deputy McNamara, who wrote to Iarnród Éireann to request further information on how the cost of the proposed works will come to €16.7 million, which he described as an “enormous sum”.

Deputy McNamara also noted that Iarnród Éireann is also 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 Ennis and Limerick City.