Irish Rail reassures passengers that inter-city services do not face closure

The company says none of its lines make money, but adds that is normal in most western societies

Irish Rail reassures passengers that inter-city services do not face closure

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Rail passengers are being reassured there is no threat to the future of inter-city services.

It follows reports services to Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford could be axed in a 'worst case scenario'.

A report into the funding of the rail network indicates substantial investment is needed to maintain services.

According to the report - detailed in today's Irish Independent - €466m is required between 2017 and 2021 to compensate for years of underfunding.

Irish Rail admits that none of its services make a profit, but the company insists that is not unusual when compared to other countries.

Corporate Communications Manager with Irish Rail, Barry Kenny, spoke to the Pat Kenny Show about the current situation.

He said: "The rail review did not conclude that we close the majority of the national network. The rail review said the options here are - do we have the existing network fully funded by the Exchequer, or do we do a mix of additional funding and look at some lightly-used lines.

"[That's] not your Westport, Sligo and Galway to Dublin [routes]. [It's] looking at things like Waterford to Limerick Junction, and Limerick to Ballybrophy via Nenagh. They ultimately will be policy decisions."

Mr Kenny added: "None of our railway lines, if you did it on a pure profit and loss basis, make money. They are just like the roads - infrastructure generates an economic return.

"Obviously per journey, things like the DART is quite a low per journey subsidy. It's higher as you go inter-city... that's not unusual in western economies."