To: Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority and the Irish Government
Upgrade and Invest in the Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy Railway Line
On behalf of the North Tipperary Community Rail Partnership we call on Irish Rail, the National Transport Authority and the Irish Government to improve the current journey times on the Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy railway line.
For too long this section of the national rail network has been left in a state of decline. There has been more than €23 million Euros of taxpayers’ money spent upgrading the line in the last year and despite this there has been no improvements to the desperately slow journey times.
There has been significant work carried out on the line to replace the old jointed track with Continuous Welded Rail (CWR). ~80% of the track has now been upgraded to CWR however the speed limits on all sections remain exactly the same as they were prior to these works being carried out.
• We request that the Infrastructure Manager provides an up-to-date engineer’s report to reflect the investment in track and infrastructure on the line, recognising that the original speed restrictions were imposed because of the poor condition of the track. With over 80% of the line now renewed with modern track, speed limits can be increased to take advantage of this. The fact that the line has a considerable amount of crossings shouldn’t preclude this; other routes such as the Western Rail Corridor north of Ennis have line-speeds as high as 80mph (i.e. almost 130 kmph). The District Engineer should be actively looking to deliver improved speed limits, thus decreasing journey times, without compromising safety.
There can be no justification for spending €23 million of taxpayers’ money and not see any return for that investment regarding improved speed limits/journey times.
• Secondly, we request that an additional middle of the day service be introduced on the line in both directions in order to facilitate practical workforce demand.
There is huge interest and a preference from communities along the line to use the train service for many obvious and practical reasons instead of taking a car etc.
However the current twice daily timetable makes it impossible for any casual or professional usage of the line.
For example if someone from Castleconnell wanted to travel to Limerick for a morning meeting/appointment they would have to wait around until 16:55 to get the return train home.
It is just impractical for students and casual travellers and is a major reason why taking the train is not a realistic option for communities along the line.
• Finally, we recommend the appointment of a dedicated regional rail manager with responsibility for the delivery of upgrades and marketing of the line.
Why is this important?
The Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy Railway is a vital piece of national rail
infrastructure but it needs a more holistic approach to investment and upgrading in order to deliver a proper service that will attract passengers.
Public transport throughout the Midwest region is not good enough. I would hope people throughout the Midwest and supporters of the rail network throughout Ireland would support our campaign.
Our requests are not unreasonable, they are modest practical requests that would massively improve the services available on the line. Your support would be greatly appreciated.