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The railway line at Crusheen which has seen it's population at least tripled in recent years. Photograph by John Kelly

Pressure grows for Crusheen rail stop

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More than seven out of ten people living in the Crusheen area are travelling to work by car, according to preliminary research carried out by consultants appointed by Clare County Council.
It has also emerged there has been a 50% increase in population to approximately 5,800 in the Crusheen area over a 20-year period since the 2002 Census.
Mark O’Connell of Repucon Consulting outlined its initial work on the preparation of a Socio-Economic Study on the benefits of reopening the Crusheen Railway Station on the Western Rail Corridor at a recent Killaloe Municipal District meeting.
Mr O’Connell told the meeting the consultants have seen what projects like this can do for rural regeneration and help the social and economic fabric of communities.
The consultants plan to adopt an evidence-based approach by consulting with people in the locality of which about 4,500 people are older than 15.
This will involve extensive community research, linking in with all the various community groups
They want to understand whether these people would be willing to use the train going to work.
It is estimated that 2,700 people are working in the Crusheen area including 550 students.
Initial research 71% of people living in the area are travelling to work by car, of which 97% are travelling alone.
Mr O’Connell said these statistics demonstrate the potential that is there to use enhanced local rail services.
After completing the community survey and consulting with key stakeholders like Irish Rail, he said the consultants will provide feedback to local councillors before they prepare their report.
It is hoped the consultants can complete their work in about two months.
Councillor Pat Hayes (FF), who has been lobbying for a rail stop in Crusheen for years, has confirmed members of the Interrailway Committee would be meeting in the village on April 11 to support the council’s case.
The Maghera Councillor said it is important to present a strong business case for the re-opening of Crusheen Railway Station.
Councillor Tony O’Brien (FF)said the reopening of Crusheen Railway Station is a high priority for this council, which has met Iarnród Eireann, and also made submissions to various statutory bodies.
The Crusheen Railway Committee has spent years lobbying public representatives and Iarnród Éireann to construct a rail stop in the village.
The group has presented a strong case, which showed Crusheen is an ideal location for a rail stop to facilitate people coming from Ruan, Corofin, Tubber, Boston and elsewhere in North Clare, as well as Tulla and other areas of East Clare.
In 2011, Clare County Council approved plans for the provision of a new railway station, a 90m platform, a 47-bay car park, telecom equipment room, passenger shelter, station signage and associated infrastructure, including the access road and associated services, subject to 17 planning conditions.
Running to 90m in length, with access ramps at each end, the new platform design will incorporate new surfacing, lighting, tactile edging and line markings and will drain away from the track as per IÉ design standards.
Closed-circuit television and a public address system will be provided. A passenger shelter, enclosed ticket vending machine and platform furniture, such as seating and bins, will also be constructed. The car-parking area will incorporate disabled spaces, as well as a cycle parking shelter.
According to planning documents submitted to the council at the time, the former station site is not a suitable location for the station as it is now in private ownership, has poor road access and had a very limited area for car parking.
It is proposed to construct the new station 150 metres north of the former site, which has good road access to the former N18 and is within walking or cycling distance of the village.

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