REGIONAL AUTHORITIES SUBMIT CASE TO NTA OPPOSING PROPOSED CLOSURE OF ROSSLARE–WATERFORD RAIL LINE
The Regional Authorities in the South-East and the Mid-West, together with their ten constituent local authorities, have made a formal submission to the National Transport Authority (NTA) strenuously opposing the proposal of Irish Rail to cease passenger services on the Rosslare to Waterford railway line. Irish Rail requires the approval of the NTA to terminate the passenger service on the line.
The two Regional Authorities, the city councils of Waterford and Limerick and the eight county councils in the regions have joined together to strongly oppose the closure of the Rosslare-Waterford section of the railway line that links the Rosslare Europort (which is, ironically, owned and operated by Irish Rail) with Waterford, Limerick and onwards to the South-West and the West.
The decision to seek approval to close the line has provoked strong and widespread anger across the South-East and Mid-West regions. With the assistance of international consultants the regional authorities have carried out a detailed analysis of the usage and management of the line and an assessment of its future potential given better promotion, marketing and operation.
A socio-economic and business case for the maintenance and promotion of the line has been prepared and submitted by the Authorities to the NTA in support of the case for rejection of Irish Rail’s application to close the line and for its continued operation. The submission puts forward a number of innovative suggestions and recommendations for keeping the line open and for increasing its appeal and usage for passenger traffic into the future. A key recommendation is the establishment of a Community Rail Partnership, a concept that involves the rail operator partnering with the local authorities and local communities to operate, promote and market the railway and its services. The community rail partnership approach has been successfully adopted for several lightly used rail lines in the UK.
“The regional and local authorities in the South-East and Mid-West strongly oppose any attempt by Irish Rail to close the Rosslare-Waterford line, which is a key element of our regions’ transport infrastructure”, stated Cllr. John Cummins, Cathaoirleach of the South-East Regional Authority. “It is a half-baked, short sighted decision that flies in the face of a range of public policies, such as the National Spatial Strategy which promotes more balanced regional development, ‘Smarter Travel’, which advocates sustainable travel and the National Climate Change Strategy that urges switching from road to rail and from cars to public transport”, Cllr. Cummins said.
It is expected that the NTA will make its decision in September on the Irish Rail application to terminate passenger services on the Rosslare-Waterford line.
Wed, 22 Sep 2010 00:00:47 BST