Iarnród Éireann have announced that the opening of the Ennis to Athenry line, which will also deliver direct Limerick to Galway services, is now scheduled to take place in March.
The original planned opening of the Ennis to Athenry line had been January 9 of this year but it was deferred as a result of the flooding in November. Flooding at Ballycar also forced Iarnród Éireann to close down the Limerick to Ennis rail line but it was reopened this week, which means good news for the first phase of the Western Rail Corridor.
The redevelopment of the Ennis to Athenry line, which is expected to cost €106.5 million, will serve Limerick, Ennis, Athenry, and Galway with new stations at Sixmilebridge, Gort, Ardrahan, and Craughwell. There will also be an expansion of commuter links to Limerick and Galway and an emphasis placed on promoting regional development, in line with the National Spatial Strategy objectives, by linking the two gateways and serving the hub of Ennis.
Driver training resumed between Ennis and Galway last week and will now continue over the full Limerick to Galway route. As a result, Iarnród Éireann has stated that the line is scheduled to open in March with a precise opening date expected to be confirmed shortly.
The investment project involves the renewal of 36 miles of track, including all necessary fencing, and installation of points and crossings at Gort and Ennis; a 90m platform with furniture, signage, shelter, ATM machine, lighting, car park, PA, customer information systems, help point and CCTV provision at Sixmilebridge, Gort, Ardrahan, and Craughwell; PA, customer information systems, help point, and CCTV will be provided at Ennis and Athenry stations; repair and improvement work has been undertaken on bridges on the route to allow rail services to operate; modernised signalling system; and improvement to level crossings, and elimination where practicable.