January 31, 2023
“Record Western Rail Corridor passenger numbers highlight potential of rail in the West” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Record Western Rail Corridor passenger numbers highlight potential of rail in the West” – Chris MacManus MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has described record passenger numbers on the Western Rail Corridor between Galway and Limerick as clear evidence of the viability of rail in the West of Ireland. The Midlands Northwest representative believes that the remaining phases of the rail corridor, linking north Galway, Mayo and Sligo to Galway City, would be similarly successful and argues that their reopening must not be delayed any longer.

MEP MacManus said:
“The reopening of Phase One of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry, which provided rail connectivity between Limerick and Galway, has been a huge success and a gamechanger for transport in the West of Ireland.”

“This is clear from the passenger numbers recently announced for 2022, with a record 607,000 passengers using the line last year. This is a 14% growth on 2019, the last full year of figures, and a massive increase on the 185,000 passenger journeys recorded on the line when it first opened in 2010.”

“It is clear evidence of the viability of rail in the West of Ireland and demonstrates that rail is becoming an increasingly attractive transport option as we move towards a low carbon future.”

“It also highlights the potential of the remaining phases of the Western Rail Corridor once reopened. Phase One of the rail corridor provides commuters from south Galway, Clare and Limerick with an option to commute quickly in and out of Galway City and avoid the traffic gridlock, and it is clear that a large number of them have made this switch from road transport to rail.”

“I have no doubt that many workers, students and others from north Galway, Mayo and Sligo will make a similar switch to rail if the option is provided to them.”

“The Government have delayed making a decision on reopening the later phases of the Western Rail Corridor until the All-Island Rail Review is published, however its publication has been held up by the absence of an Executive in the north.”

“This cannot be allowed to delay the reopening of the remaining phases of the rail line indefinitely and we need clarity from Minister Eamon Ryan on how this impasse will be resolved. The Western Rail Corridor is vital to the future of our region and must not be delayed any longer.”  ENDS

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