No schedule for further rail expansionApril 1, 2010 - 7:00am
Hopes that a rail link between Tuam and Galway city would be in place by 2012 faded this week after the Minister for Transport declined to commit to a definite timeframe for the extension of the Western Rail Corridor north of Athenry.
Campaigners had expressed confidence that phase two of the project between Athenry and Tuam would be open by the end of next year, and had anticipated a positive announcement from Minister Noel Dempsey at the historic opening of the Galway to Limerick line last Monday.
Mayor of Galway Tom McHugh was among a number of public representatives who called for the immediate continuation of the railway restoration project following the arrival in Galway of the first passenger train to traverse the Limerick line in 34 years.
“Being based in Tuam, I have a special interest in seeing phase two of the Western Rail Corridor go ahead in the very near future,” he said. “It is only when the railway continues all the way to Claremorris that we will have a real rail network serving the country.”
However, while Minister Dempsey said that he remained committed to the completion of the project, he suggested that governmental funding may not be forthcoming for subsequent phases.
“There were naysayers who said about phase one that it would never be done, but it has been done,” he said. “And phases two, three and four will be done. There is a commitment from government to make sure they are done.”
There was better news for commuters in Oranmore however, as it was announced that a planning application was being prepared which would see a new station in the town as early as next year. Galway County Council is expected to acquire land adjoining the site at Garraun for the provision of a park and ride facility.
A new station is also in the pipeline for Crusheen. The cost of this, and the proposed facility in Oranmore, is included in the €106.5m total for the Western Rail Corridor project.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.