Passenger numbers for the newly reopened €106.5 million Limerick-Galway line have ‘exceeded expectations’ according to new figures released by Irish Rail this week.
An Irish Rail spokeswoman said, “The first month’s operations have exceeded expectations, with significant demand experienced from day one.” Passenger numbers have been monitored since services commenced on March 30.
The spokeswoman added that;”Sixteen thousand passenger journeys recorded are on top of the existing 14,400 monthly journeys on the Limerick-Ennis service, meaning the through route has seen over 30,000 passenger journeys in its first month.” This comes as welcome news as Irish Rail had initially anticipated a €2.4 million yearly loss on the service.
In recent weeks Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey has said the commitment for phases two and three were dependent on getting the money at Cabinet, and he emphasised the significance of public support for phase 1 of the project in the promotion of other phases stating;”I cannot overstate the critical importance of local support for Phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor in promoting the development of further phases of the Corridor.”
Colman O Raghallaigh of the West on Track lobby group said the first month’s operations have exceeded expectations, with significant demand experienced from day one.
“There is now no further excuse for prevarication as far as continuing with the next phases to Tuam and Claremorris,” he said.
Another spokesman for West on Track said; “These emerging patterns are a clear and unequivocal answer to those who predicted that the project would not be supported. There was some talk recently along the lines of ‘use it or lose it’, or ‘let’s see if people will support it’. It is quite clear, even at this early stage, that the people have answered those questions emphatically.”