It is “vital” the Western Rail Corridor be included as part of the Government’s Capital Plan, as developing rail is essential for connectivity, more balanced regional development, and in supporting more sustainable and lower environmental impact transport options.
This is the view of the Fine Gael Galway West TD and Minister for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Kyne, who has called for the WRC to be included in the Government’s 10-year plan which will be published by the end of this year.
The Western Rail Corridor connects Galway and Limerick and has more than 380,000 annual passenger journeys. However the opening of the M17/M18 Gort to Tuam motorway has led to predictions of the death of the Western Rail Corridor, with others calling for a greenway to be installed.
In response, Minister Kyne said the M17/M18 is “an important milestone in the development of transport infrastructure” in the west, and reiterated his support for greenways, but said such developments do not have to be at the expense of developing and supporting public transport.
“The Western Rail Corridor provides commuters with a choice and an alternative mode of transport, makes the west more accessible for tourists and visitors, and helps businesses by providing a tried and trusted method of transport for goods,” he said.
The Connemara based TD said “greater transport connectivity” is needed in the west and that developing the Western Rail Corridor northwards to Tuam and Sligo would “achieve this”. He also noted that the sustainability and lower environmental impact of railways, and public transport in general, is “essential in helping to meet our climate change obligations”.