Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Western Rail Corridor Reopening

On Monday this week the Ennis to Athenry section of the Western Rail Corridor was reopened by Minister Noel Dempsey providing a rail link between Limerick and Galway. This 60km section last carried fare-paying passengers in April 1976.

The Western Rail Corridor is the railway line from Collooney, Co Sligo through Sligo, Mayo and Galway to Limerick which was finally closed in 1976. Passenger services had been discontinued some years previously. The tracks had never been taken up or the land sold so that reopening the line was easier than say "reopening" the Navan Dublin rail link which is in progress in the Minister's own area.

I note that according to the report Mr Dempsey promised his “absolute commitment” to the reopening of phases two, three and four of the Western Rail Corridor: from Athenry to Tuam, Co Galway; to Claremorris, Co Mayo; and to Collooney, Co Sligo.

This railway line is of course close to my own heart having been born in a railway cottage on the side of the track. My father and grandfather worked on the railway line and it makes an appearance here and there in my poems. The line was begun in the late 1880s partly as a relief work in response to the hardships of the times and it was opened in 1891 .

The campaign to reopen the line has been a long one. In 1986 the Evening Press ran a feature on the issue and printed a picture of my parents at the Station House, Coolany, Co Sligo.

Irish Times report of the reopening.

No comments: