Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A commuter service departing Waterford, bound for Limerick Junction. The service was suspended on March 30 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann has told a Waterford TD that there will be a “full restoration of services” on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line – in time.

In a letter received by Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh (GP) today, Jim Meade stated: “Reflecting the dramatically reduced numbers travelling on our services, and to ensure service resilience, we have a temporary schedule in operation across our network, which was implemented from 30th March.

This includes suspension of services on the Waterford to Limerick Junction and Limerick to Ballybrophy (via Nenagh) lines. This temporary schedule was approved by the National Transport Authority.”

Mr Meade writes: “Our normal schedule is provided for under our contract with the NTA, which includes services on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line. We will continue to liaise with the NTA on appropriate services throughout all phases of the COVID-19 crisis, building in time to full restoration of services, including on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line.”

In a letter to Transport Minister Shane Ross dated May 5, Deputy Ó Cathasaigh noted his concern with the closure of the Waterford to Limerick Junction line “for reasons of staff rationalisation during the Covid-19 crisis”.

The TD wrote: “While I accept the need for these measures on a temporary basis, I am concerned that the line closure may be made more permanent. The Waterford to Limerick Junction Transport Corridor should be considered an important strategic infrastructure corridor, linking as it does two of our major cities along with the major ports of Rosslare, Belview Port and Foynes (in Limerick). It is my contention that investment in this infrastructural corridor is vital in providing a regional counter balance to Dublin-centric development.”

Iarnród Éireann had previously told this newspaper that “significant investment” is required to facilitate higher speeds on the under-utilised inter-city line.

In a statement to the Waterford News & Star, spokesperson Barry Kenny said; “Our normal schedule is provided for under our contract with the NTA, which includes services on the Waterford to Limerick Junction line. We will continue to liaise with the NTA on appropriate services throughout all phases of the Covid-19 crisis, building to full restoration of services.”

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