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Closure Of Ballybrophy Rail Link Rumoured

Iarnród Éireann is expected, shortly, to seek formal permission to close their services on the Limerick to Ballybrophy Rail line, well that is according to supporters of this transport route.

Rumours abound today, that Iarnród Éireann has informed the Department of Transport that it it considering the closure of this rail line, which also serves as a commuter service between Nenagh Co Tipperary and County Limerick. The closure is expected to be sought, due to unsustainable low passenger numbers.

Thurles.Info is aware that the National Transport Authority Board were informed, towards the middle of last year, that Iarnród Éireann had informed the Minister for Transport of their intention to seek closure of some of their less used rail lines. A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann refused to either confirm or deny that they have any proposals to suspend this services, stating that the profitability of all transport routes are regularly under review.

Nenagh Rail Partnership Group yesterday said it was concerned about the railway lines long term future. Currently people from Nenagh are driving to Thurles, daily, to catch trains to Dublin, and Iarnród Éireann claim that operating a service to Nenagh is often a waste of fuel, admitting that their scheduled services between Limerick and Nenagh are often cancelled, with the train returning to Colbert Station in Limerick, due to being empty of all passengers, having reached stations at Castleconnell and Birdhill. Official figures show that a total of only 14,000 people travelled on this line between January and August 2011, a daily average of just 55 passengers

The Government has also confirmed that very necessary austerity measures are likely to result in high reductions to public transport services over the coming years, and the Iarnród Éireann group is to have its annual subvention cut by €21m next year, from €263m to €242m, with further cuts expected in 2013 and 2014.

Nenagh Rail Partnership Group are justifiable worried about the continuation of this rail services between Limerick and Ballybrophy and admit that the opening the the new M7 motorway had presented very strong competition for all rail commuters,  however the latter now claim that the line’s future is hugely important to developing much needed tourism in this area and should continue to be financed from the public purse.

North Tipp Labour TD Mr Allen Kelly, according to The Irish Independent Newspaper dated September 26th 2011, put “considerable pressure” on Iarnrod Eireann for a train to bring more than 150 north Tipperary fans from here, his constituency, to Dublin for the All-Ireland senior hurling final on September 4th, which Kilkenny won 2-17 to 1-16 over Tipperary. The junior Minister with responsibility for Public Transport, Tourism & Sport, then refused to respond to the report.

Rumours, if confirmed, will be seen as yet another attack on residents of rural Ireland.

Last year the National Transport Authority approved Iarnród Éireann’s decision to cease services on the Waterford-Rosslare route on similar grounds.

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