Waterford/Limerick rail service should be reformed not closed, says Carrick-on-Suir business group 

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Waterford/Limerick rail service should be reformed not closed, says Carrick-on-Suir business group 

Carrick-on-Suir Business Association has urged  Iarnród Éireann to make vital improvements to its Waterford to Limerick Junction rail route to attract more passengers  rather than close the service down. 

The Association, which represents about 100 businesses in Carrick, says the current rail service Iarnród Eireann operates between Waterford and Limerick Junction is "inefficient and unsuitable for users" and this was the cause  of its low passenger numbers. 

It believes the rail service has the potential to be a popular commuter route for South Tipperary people from Carrick-on-Suir and other towns  along the route, who work and attend college in Waterford City or just wish to visit the city for shopping. 

COSBA member Frank Walsh, who is involved in Tipperary Tourism Company and is a former board member, called on the rail company to schedule trains on the route at times passengers need them and to operate a reliable on-time service. He also said more direct, faster trains are needed. 

The Kilkieran Cottage Restaurant owner's comments echo those of Tipperary Town Cllr Denis Leahy, who called for fundamental timetabling changes and improvements to the service last week in the wake of the latest threat by Iarnród Éireann to close the service.  

Mr Walsh said the Waterford to Limerick Junction service was the only public rail service serving Carrick-on-Suir and it needed State intervention after years of under funding. 

Carrick-on-Suir  was currently lacking good public transport "connectivity" with other parts of the country, he argued, and needs good public transport links in order to develop its potential as a good location to live and visit and for tourists to visit.  

"Carrick on Suir residents are dependant on private cars to commute to work. Unemployed people looking for work cannot afford to purchase or operate cars  and therefore have difficulty in accepting jobs outside the town," he pointed out. 

"Rail services run at peak times are necessary for people to get to work. They must be good and reliable, ensuring people can get to work and college on time. 

“This will also reduce the number of cars on the road at peak times."

Mr Walsh also argued that more freight needs to be transported on the railways in order to reduce the congestion of large container vehicles driving through town centres. 

"Constant rumours about rail closures are damaging to the image of the town and are irresponsible," he continued. 

"If we are to develop the town to its full potential our public transport system needs to be enhanced not depleted. We recognise that saving and enhancing bus and rail services will require greater intervention and subsidy by the State. So be it .

"This will ensure that an important part of the transport infrastructure is retained for longer term economic benefit.

“Well developed transport services meeting the needs of the country as a whole,including our rural communities, are essential for economic growth and will avoid the overcrowding and stifling of the efficiencies of our inner cities," he added.