COMMUTERS travelling between two of the country’s largest cities will be without a direct train service until at least the end of March due to flooding on the line.
Iarnrod Eireann said today that a large section of the line between Galway and Limerick will be closed for the next six weeks, and “potentially longer” due to extensive flooding at Ballycar.
The Ennis to Limerick section of the line has been closed, but services will operate between Galway and Ennis, the company said.
Ennis station will remain open, but Sixmilebridge will be shut. Bus transfers will be offered to commuters between Ennis and Limerick, and those travelling from Galway.
The flooding comes despite the railway company raising track levels by 60 centimetres in 2003 to avoid flooding.
However, water levels are currently 50 centimetres over the rail head, or tracks, and are rising.
Services have been suspended since February 2, and it will be some time before they are restored.
“Bus transfers will operate between Limerick and Ennis, also serving Sixmilebridge, for the duration of the closure,” a spokeswoman said. “Buses will depart all stations at the scheduled train time. Train services continue to operate as normal between Ennis and Galway.
“The line has flooded following a significant increase in water levels at Ballycar Lough due to the recent sustained heavy rainfall, and the slow draining nature of the karst landscape in the area. Should the recent rainfall patterns persist, this will extend significantly the duration of the closure of the rail line.”
The company apologised for the inconvenience caused, and said that updates would be posted on its website www.irishrail.ie and via the company’s twitter account @irishrail .
No other rail services are affected.