West on Track campaigners have welcomed the census figures, describing the growth in population along the route of the Western Rail Corridor a real “boost”.
A spokesman said in a statement issued earlier this week: “The latest Central Statistics Office figures released this week show a very positive rise in population along Phase 2 of the Western Rail Corridor, with a 19.6 per cent rise in Athenry, a 9.8 per cent rise in Tuam and a whopping 25.5 per cent increase in the population of Claremorris town. All of the rail connected towns in County Mayo increased their populations, with Castlebar up 1.7 per cent, Westport up 7.4 per cent, Ballina up 10.3 per cent and Ballyhaunis up 15.8 per cent.
“This is yet another indication of the clear need for public transport infrastructure in the west region and shows the importance of continuing the Western Rail Corridor project to Tuam and Claremorris, linking most of the major towns of Mayo by rail to the regional capital as well as to Limerick and Cork. Planning and design is currently under way for the Tuam section of the project,” he said.
Iarnród Éireann recently announced that over 250,000 journeys have been made across the Limerick-Galway section of the rail corridor since it opened on 30th March 2010, and the construction of the new station at Crusheen, together with a major commuter station at Oranmore, is expected to attract many more customers to the route. Iarnród Éireann plans to have both stations open during the first half of 2012.