Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív has called on Iarnród Éireann to provide more frequent commuter services into Galway, on both the Athlone to Galway and the Limerick to Galway lines.
He said that there has been a rapid growth in the number of passengers travelling to Galway from Athenry since the introduction of Limerick rail services, but that there is still not a proper commuter policy for the rail line into Galway.
“There is huge potential to maximise the use of our rail services in and out of Galway, by increasing the number of services. The evidence is clear to see – since the introduction of the Limerick services through Athenry, the number of passengers opting to take the train has increased substantially.
“We should be building on this progress and all it would take is a small number of simple changes.“At the moment, the maximum frequency of trains in any one direction is 40 minutes apart, because the line from Galway to Athenry is a single line with no passing loop. If a loop was constructed, which I believe would cost in the region of €10m, it would increase the frequency to 20 mins from Athenry to Galway,” said Dep O Cuiv.
“This would also increase the number of services terminating in Galway that could be provided from both Athlone and Limerick, which could better serve the morning and evening peaks.“An increased frequency service would encourage more people to leave their cars at home and take the train into the city centre. “Iarnród Éireann needs to consider a rapid link between the railway station in Galway and particularly NUIG and Galway University Hospital to cater for demand, as well as examining the feasibility of constructing a station at Ballyloughane/Renmore, that could service the local residents there, the GMIT and the industrial estates of Parkmore and Ballybritt.
“The option of a station in Doughiska should also be on the table so that people living in those areas will have rail access into the city. Galway is unique in that the train station is right in the centre of the city and is very near to both the university and the hospital. Everywhere where frequent services have been provided, there has been an exponential growth in passenger numbers,” he concluded.