Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
Lack of a motorway helps
Dublin Belfast numbers really should be on a par with Cork but due to a combination of poor frequency, slow journey and the lack of historical flows of people due the border its lagging behind
There isn't that big a difference between daily numbers on the Dublin/Belfast and Dublin/Cork services if the recent NTA census is to be believed. It would appear that boardings at Cork are 1885 northbound with arrivals being 1795 from the Mallow direction. It seems likely that several hundred of these passengers are travelling to and from Mallow, a pattern that is clear to travelers on the 1725 from Cork to Dublin which empties substantially at Mallow.
Again using the NTA census as a source the daily numbers using Belfast services & crossing the border the numbers appear to be 1477 northbound and 1322 southbound.
Of course the cross-border service is only a small proportion of business on the Belfast line, the entire line (excluding DART) handles close to 10 million passenger journeys per annum.
The railway could be massively more significant along the north east corridor but for this to happen there will need to be faster and more frequent services. At a minimum strategic additional physical track will be required to give a much greater degree of separation from the 20 mph DART services which are such an impediment to a competitive longer distance commuter and cross-border service.