May 18, 2021
“New Mayo-Waterford route highlights need for Western Rail Corridor” – Chris MacManus MEP

“New Mayo-Waterford route highlights need for Western Rail Corridor” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the announcement of new rail freight services between Mayo and Waterford. The Midlands North West MEP argues that this announcement highlights the need for the Western Rail Corridor to be reopened.

MacManus said:

“I want to welcome the news that XPO Logistics are commencing two return weekly services between Ballina and Waterford in July. This is great news for Ballina and the region as a whole and will certainly make the county a much more attractive destination for future investment.”

“However, it is regrettable that the trains will have to travel to Waterford via Dublin rather than down the west coast via the Western Rail Corridor. The announcement of these new services highlights the enormous potential for rail freight in the west and north west and confirms the need for the Western Rail Corridor to be reopened.”

The Midlands Northwest MEP highlighted the benefits of the Western Rail Corridor for such journeys. “If the Western Rail Corridor was in use, the journey for these trains would be 60km shorter, save businesses a significant amount of money in track access charges and be considerably more environmentally sustainable. This would take more freight off the roads, reducing our carbon emissions, generate a significant revenue stream for Iarnród Eireann through track access charges due to an increased demand for services, and bring greater investment and employment opportunities to communities across the west.”

“A reopened rail line would undoubtedly attract additional rail freight services in a short period of time to the west and northwest and would be particularly beneficial should the proposed rail link to the international deep-water port in Foynes, County Limerick, be developed alongside it.”

“The benefits of a reopened rail line to passengers would also be significant. In 2019 Iarnród Éireann recorded over 50 million passenger journeys, its highest ever number. Rail is becoming an increasingly attractive transport option, and as we move towards a low carbon future, it’s vital that we continue to increase rail usage in Ireland.”

MacManus concluded, “The west of Ireland is in decline and only large-scale infrastructural investment is going to reverse that decline. If this Government are serious about balanced regional development and ensuring that communities in the west have a sustainable future in terms of employment, the Western Rail Corridor must be reopened without delay.” ENDS

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