independent

Sunday 25 August 2019

Disappointment at closing of south Wexford railway line

Yours sincerely, M. Bembridge New Brighton, Mold, England.

Dear Sir, I HAVE RECENTLY enjoyed a superb family holiday in south east Ireland, and as always we were made more than welcome.

However, there was one major disappointment. As a family we like to use public transport, so we planned a day out in Waterford with the idea being to travel by train from Wexford. Yes, you have the answer already, our plan failed, even though the track is in place, the trains are not. Irish Rails closed the line in 2010, why?

As a visitor to the area, I was shocked that Irish Rail have closed a line that linked the East of Ireland line, the large county town of Wexford, and the major port of Rosslare to the city of Waterford, which in turn has rail links to Kilkenny-limerick Junction-mallow-killarney-traleeCork-limerickGalway ( Western Corridor) etc. It does not make sense.

I know times are hard and money in short supply, but this is even more reason to protect the public transport system. What makes things worse is the feeling of local people that Irish Rail ran the south Wexford line down by failing to provide a user-friendly timetable, and even when opened, failed to link Wexford and Waterford. To add to the tale of woe and rumour is that the future of the Waterford-limerick Junction line passenger service, and even LimerickGalway service is under threat. This and the south Wexford line closure will be a major hindrance to the financial recovery of in Ireland as well as damaging the vital tourist trade. There are also reports of Irish Rail raising ticket prices. Would it not make more sense to lower them instead? It must be better to have 50 passengers paying an average of €10 per ticket than 30 passengers paying an average of €15 per ticket.

Are there no Support Groups challenging Irish Rail to stop these possible closures? Every county and town (station) affected by these plans should have the support of local councils and other interested parties. Might I suggest a group be formed to support the future of the whole line between Galway and Rosslare Harbour via Limerick-limerick Junction-Waterford and a link to Wexford, and all other stations on route.

As a possible first step to secure the future of the whole line a plan to re-open the Waterford-rosslare Strand section must be considered. This would allow running the daily boat trains between Rosslare and Limerick with Irish Rail and the ferry operators agreeing on a timetable, including good connections at Waterford to and from Kilkenny, at Limerick Junction to and from Mallow and Cork and at Limerick to and from Galway. These trains if promoted will attract fare paying customers, and even more so if to support the boat trains, a three or four times a day return service linking Waterford and Wexford by connecting at Rosslare Strand with trains to and from Dublin and Rosslare Harbour.

Hope my letter provides food for thought. I think a Galway-rosslare Harbour (with link to Wexford) route is possible, but only if the Irish Government, Irish Rail, the ferry operators, local councils, the Rail Union, and of course the public agree. The plan would need a good timetable, sensible ticket prices, a lot of publicity. The track is already in place, why not use it for the good of the country, the people and even the tourist.

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