Huge passenger increase on Galway-Limerick route

THE reopening of a section of the Western Rail Corridor between Athenry and Limerick appears to have been justified after figures revealed passenger numbers between Limerick and Galway have increased 57% over the past seven years.

During 2017, some 352,706 Irish Rail passengers travelled over the route, a stark contrast to the 182,254 carried after opening in 2010. Yet these figures are eclipsed by the unprecedented 288% rise in passengers journeying between Ennis and Athenry. In 2013, just 28,473 people travelled between the two stations, but this rose to 99,374 in 2017.

Class 2800 No. 2801 arrives at Ardrahan with the 08.30 Galway-Limerick service on June 21, 2015. NEIL DINNEN

Reopening of the mothballed section between Ennis and Athenry was completed in 2010 at a cost of €110million, but was not without controversy when it was revealed only around 320 passengers a day would use the new route. The 2017 figures point to around 1,000 people making use of the line.

However, the Western Rail Trail Campaign, which is campaigning to convert the Athenry to Sligo section into a cycle route (greenway), contests the numbers, stating the figures quoted primarily relate to the Athenry to Galway and Limerick to Ennis sections, which were already in use prior to 2010.

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