Originally Posted by Thomas Morelli
The Sligo line is doing all right, despite the fact that the N4 for the most part varies between dual carriageway and a standard of single carriageway where it is still safe to drive at over 100km/h.
The main reason the Sligo line is doing all right is because the N4 is at this stage woefully inadequate beyond Mullingar. At busy times you will inevitably get stuck in a stream of traffic travelling below 80kph for most of the way between Mullingar and Longford. The only dual carriageway is a short stretch around Dromod and a 30 minute wait to get through Carrick is not unusual at busy times.
It is looking very much like an N4 upgrade is on the cards which will inevitably attract a proper private express bus service. This will inevitably mean the end of the train service beyond Longford unless 15 to 30 minutes can be knocked off the journey time which is basically unchanged since the start of the 20th century. The existing road journey is just over 200km, which will be easily achievable by bus in 2 and half hours by motorway.
So the same logic applies to other routes - unless there is investment in rail, it is unlikely that routes will survive the building of parallel motorways. Even with investment the Irish Rail's high cost-base means that low-cost private bus operators are likely to run rings around them on pricing.