Spending a large amount of money on rail infrastructure that would not attract many passengers is a bad idea.
The Western Rail Corridor (WRC) is the name given for the proposed project to link Limerick, Galway and Sligo by a direct rail link. Rail Users Ireland does not support the WRC in full because we think there are more urgent prorities for spending on rail transport.
Key reasons why Rail Users Ireland do not support the proposed Western Rail Corridor
- There is very low population density on the line especially on the stretch between Claremorris and Collooney (the line that would connect the Mayo line with the Sligo line). There would simply not be a large demand for passenger rail services along the WRC especially along the northern stretch.
- The WRC was originally built as a light railway therefore to rebuild it to full specifications would be extremely expensive there will be over 200 level crossings which will slow down services, and cost up to 1 million euro each.
- There are 60,000 people living in the entire county of Sligo which already has a rail service. There are also 60,000 people living in the single town of Navan, which does not have a rail service. We must prioritise rail investment in Ireland in order to save as many people as possible from traffic gridlock
While many were critical of Rail Users Ireland's view on the Western Rail Corridor, our opinion was based on the need for best use of limited resources to provide the maximum impact. Our viewpoint was fully supported by the recent publication of the McCann Report. The McCann report recommened that Ennis Athenry be reopened and that commuter services be provided into Galway city.
We also want better rail services for the West, but we want solutions that are cost-effective and will save people from traffic gridlock
Rail Users Ireland supports commuter rail services for Galway (especially Oranmore) and Sligo. We believe this will offer more benefit for transport in the West.
We are not actively campaigning on the Western Rail Corridor, for or against.
There is a lobby group called West on Track which is campaigning for the opening of the entire WRC. Rail Users Ireland has no interest in campaigning on the Western Rail Corridor beyond clarifying our position on the subject.