Home » Breaking News » Ennis rail service to resume this weekend
A view of the Ennis to Limerick railway line at Ballycar, Newmarket on Fergus, which is closed to trains due to flooding. Photograph by John Kelly

Ennis rail service to resume this weekend

THE Limerick to Ennis railway line is set to reopen this weekend Iarnród Éireann has announced. Confirmation of the planned re-opening has come in a week when chair of North Clare Labour Denis Vaughan said the month-long closure due to flooding at Ballycar would “make Percy French rise up from his grave and write another comic song”.
The line has been closed since March 18 however the flood waters have now receded, and final inspections and patrols will take place over the coming days prior to reopening on Saturday afternoon say Iarnród Éireann.
The service is due to resume from 4pm this Saturday. Bus transfers will remain in operation between Limerick and Ennis in both directions until Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, the following services will operate: 18:15hrs Limerick to Galway; 19:50hrs Limerick to Galway; 20:30hrs Limerick to Ennis; 17:25hrs Ennis to Limerick; 17:50hrs Galway to Limerick; 18:45hrs Galway to Ennis; 21:10hrs Ennis to Limerick.
A full service will operate from Sunday April 21 onwards.
“Iarnród Éireann apologises for the inconvenience caused by the flooding over the past month,” said a spokesperson.
North Clare Labour Denis Vaughan has criticised the closure of the rail route commenting, “Clare’s transport links are part of the national infrastructure and closure of Clare’s arterial railway between Ennis and Limerick is unacceptable, especially as this breakdown comes at the start of our new holiday season.”
He said that this “must be seen as a national issue. If we accept the reality of climate change the need for a reliable Limerick-Ennis railway is obvious.”
He continued, “We cannot allow another stoppage as people will lose confidence in the service. That must not happen if we are to keep Clare’s transport more sustainable. What we see at Ballycar would make Percy French rise up from his grave and write another comic song. The fastest growing railway service in the country is being made to look like the West Clare railway of old where it was wet turf that caused the problems. We cannot accept this failure because we won’t allow Clare to be left behind.”
The Iarnród Éireann spokesperson explained that Ballycar Lough and its environs lie within a geological and hydrogeological environment where the underlying limestone rock and thin covering of soil and bedrock exposure combine to produce a shallow network of springs, turloughs and disappearing streams.
“The causes of flooding at Ballycar Lough are mainly the prolonged sustained rainfall in Ballycar Lough catchment coupled with the natural constriction to the outflow stream of Ballycar Lough located between the swallow hole and the spring.
“Flood waters rose to a maximum height of 1.60m above the railway track during some flood events, despite works which saw Iarnród Éireann has previously raised the track level by 60 centimetres at Ballycar in 2003 to mitigate against the effects of flooding. In addition to causing disruption to rail services, these flood events also caused disruption to the water supply to Newmarket on Fergus as well as blocking local roads and restricting access to farming lands.”
A report on flood relief options at Ballycar was undertaken by Consultant Engineers RPS for Iarnród Éireann and stakeholder representatives from Clare County Council, the Office of Public Works (OPW), the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) and the National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS).
“This study recommends a new preferred option of a technically viable drainage scheme that would (i) prevent flooding of the railway occurring whilst also (ii) including any flood mitigation measures downstream that would be necessary either directly or indirectly with this option.
“Iarnród Éireann believes the report meets the desired objective to identify the most appropriate technically feasible drainage solution to address the flooding at Ballycar. The indicative costs for the proposed solution is €16.7M including VAT (2020 estimate), and for this project to proceed a funding source will need to be identified by the Exchequer, and – given the works are away from railway property – a responsible agency nominated. The report has been issued to the relevant State department and agencies for their consideration. When a funding source is identified this will permit the project to progress with the steps involved including the appointment of a consultant and the progression of the project through preliminary and detailed design.”

About Jessica Quinn

Check Also

Doora-Barefield party like it’s 1999

A quarter of a century ago the hurlers of St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield reached the mountaintop …