700 freight trains planned annually between Mayo and Waterford Port, says West-on-Track

Posted in Connect on October 25, 2016.

EXTRA freight trains are planned between Mayo and Waterford Port each year, bringing the annual total to in excess of 700.

The news has been announced by rail campaign group West-on-Track, which said the additional trains are for rising volumes of container traffic being shipped by multinationals based in Mayo.

A further 730 freight trains currently operate between Mayo and Dublin Port.

The new services will bring to more than 1,400 the number of freight trains running in and out of Mayo each year.

“That’s an open-and-shut case for the immediate reopening of the Western Rail Corridor from Claremorris to Athenry, instead of shunting the 700 Mayo-Waterford trains through the more circuitous route in the Greater Dublin Area,” said Colmán Ó Raghallaigh.

“Portarlington-Kildare is now so congested, it’s the M50 of the railways”, he added.

In 2015, more than 1,100 freight trains, 85 per cent of them inter-modal (container for rail, road and ship ), came in and out of Mayo, with raw materials and finished goods for global markets.

Over 40 per cent, carrying 250,000 tonnes, went to and from Waterford Port. Rail is the preferred mode for Mayo industries, and for major logistics firms like DFDS and IWT.

Mayo is now the major rail freight hub in Ireland, with three out of every four freight trains starting or finishing in Ballina and Westport.

“Rail freight was resurrected in Mayo thanks to a community initiative 10 years ago aimed at justifying investment in the Western Rail Corridor south of Claremorris. These are today the only profit generating trains on Irish Railways and over the past 10 years have contributed over €20 million in carbon savings.

“We have proven the demand and we now demand the completion of the missing rail-link from Galway to Mayo, so that Waterford-bound traffic can take the shortest route and connections to our ports from Galway and Clare for rail freight traffic are upgraded to cater for increasing demand,” added Mr. Ó Raghallaigh.

Story: The Connaught Telegraph

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