Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
The best thing that could happen to rail in this country is to close Athenry Ennis. It exists solely for political reasons. Every single professional report commissioned said no in strong terms.
Its sucking 3 million euro a year out of Irish Rail which in turn results in higher fares and fewer trains elsewhere. It costs nearly 80 euro per passenger currently.
The reality is it cannot work and will not deliver anything close to the passenger numbers required to make the operating costs acceptable. There simply isn't enough people traveling between Galway and Limerick to make the numbers stack up and even then its 40 minutes faster by bus
We have long worked for a proper commuter service between Galway and Athenry, going back 8 years at this stage with a pitch to the IDA concerning Oranmore station. Thats where rail makes sense and can deliver value.
So remind me what lines in Ireland don't exist for "political reasons". If the same political approach to railways was taken in the Republic as in Northern Ireland, you might now have services from Dublin to Cork, Limerick, Galway and Killarney as well as DART (not necessarily electrified).
Yes, performance of the WRC (by definition including Limerick/Ennis) is a disappointment, but then so is the service frequency, quality, speed and marketing. So what would be saved closing Ennis/Athenry - one two piece railcar (add to scrap line) ?, fuel, some staff costs (drivers and pw). Given the age of the infrastructure maintainence costs can't be that high so not too much savings there either. I imagine total savings would be very minor in the overall scheme of things - could probably save more by cutting lightly used off peak Dublin DART and suburban services.