Saturday 24 March 2018

NTA given list of rail services to consider for closure

Iarnrod Eireann train
Iarnrod Eireann train

Paul Melia Environment Correspondent

THE National Transport Authority (NTA) has been given a list of train services to consider axing to help Irish Rail balance its books.

The transport regulator was last week given details of passenger numbers across a number of services, and will decide next month which will be cut.

An in-depth review of all services across the rail network is also under way, which could result in some lines being closed.

They include Limerick Junction to Waterford, and Limerick to Ballybrophy in Co Laois, which carried a combined 55,000 passengers last year.

Details of the future shape of the network emerged after Transport Minister Leo Varadkar warned that government funding would be cut and diverted to bus services unless the company reduces costs and gets more people travelling by rail.


Unless there was a turn- around, many services would "no longer be sustainable", he said.

The NTA is responsible for approving any changes to timetables, and for paying the Public Service Obligation (PSO) from Government to subsidise the cost of running loss-making services.

Last December, it asked Irish Rail to submit a "range of proposals" to help reduce costs. Options were provided last week.

"A decision will be made in about a month or so. They are under active consideration," an NTA spokeswoman said.

Irish Independent

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