Re: Re: well what about the developments popping up in the shannonside ?
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If Limerick city and county wants to develop in a logical fashion, commuter links are going to have to get better. Ennis-Limerick is running, now hopefully there is progress for Nenagh – but Limerick City and County are going to have to follow through by concentrating development (and Section 49 money) along the line to fund more improvements.
Nenagh Guardian – Breakthrough for rail group
Saturday October 1st 2005
By Simon Oâ€™Duffy
The Nenagh Rail Steering Committee was able to announce a major breakthrough this week after IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann gave a commitment to change train departure times and introduce new carriages on the Limerick-Ballybrophy rail line.
The news follows the publication of a survey that found the existing rail service falling well short of public demand. Undertaken by independent consultant group Retail Research Services, this survey was part of the Nenagh Rail Steering Committeeâ€™s objective to prove to IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann that the Limerick-Ballybrophy timetable needs to be changed if it is to provide a worthwhile commuter service. Commuters were asked if they would be willing to take the train if it departed Nenagh earlier and returned from Limerick later.
The Retail Research Services study examined over 2,000 households in the Nenagh area and found that about 30% of commuters would be â€œvery likelyâ€ to leave the car at home on a regular basis while a further 17% would be â€œsomewhat interestedâ€ given the above circumstances. Some 91% of those interviewed said they commute to Limerick in their own car every day; 7% took the bus and 2% said they travel with someone else. 25% claimed that if the times were more suitable and there were more train departures to choose from they would also consider using the train for shopping and leisure pursuits in Limerick. 93% agreed that the train is a more environmentally friendly option than the car.
Pinning down the most suitable departure time was difficult. While two return times of 4.30 in the afternoon and 6.30 in the evening were suitable to most, the surveyors were unable to ascertain the best morning departure time from Nenagh. 78% of respondants begin their Limerick-bound journey at 7.30am, and the indication was that 7.45 or 8am would be around the best time to leave Nenagh at; the current time of 10.30am certainly did not appear to suit anyone.
Other factors taken into consideration were ticket prices and the availability of reliable connecting buses to ferry commuters on from the station at Limerick where necessary. A number of people working at the National Technological Park emphasised that they would only use the service if they could get off the train in Castleconnell and get a bus to the National Technological Park or to the University from there. More than half of those surveyed felt an integrated ticketing service would be of importance here.
In its overall context the survey added further substance to the Nenagh Rail Steering Committee view that the existing Limerick-Ballybrophy rail line serves little or no benefit to Nenaghâ€™s commuters, a significant volume of whom would consider leaving the car at home and taking a differently timetabled train in and out of Limerick.
Taking these findings into consideration, IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann has agreed to alter the Limerick-Ballybrophy timetable in accordance with commuter preference by December of this year. In a statement the national rail company also gave a commitment to work toward allocating additional rolling stock to the Nenagh route as part of its ongoing fleet replacement programme. This rolling stock will become available early in 2007.
Speaking at the launch of the survey at Nenaghâ€™s Civic Offices last Monday, Neangh Rail Steering Committee Chairperson Cllr Virginia Oâ€™Dowd said the figures showed that such a commuter service would work. She said that with rising fuel costs and environmental concerns it is time for the Government to move away from its policy of â€œmotorway madnessâ€ and invest in public transport.
The Nenagh Rail Steering Committee welcomed IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireannâ€™s commitment to retime the afternoon service from Limerick to Ballybrophy, thus making it more attractive for passengers to use and also facilitating day trips to Limerick. Cllr Oâ€™Dowd weclomed also the undertaking by IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann to make more rolling stock available to service the Limerick-Ballybrophy line for improved services from 2007. This will include the introduction of a commuter service between Nenagh and Limerick, she said.
The Nenagh Rail Steering Committee now hopes that IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann will take the opportunity to reduce the number of 25mph temporary speed restrictions on the line before the new services are introduced in 2007.
Cllr Oâ€™Dowd said this initiative was a joint effort between the Nenagh Rail Steering Committee, IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann and Irish Railway News and was funded by Nenagh Town Council and North Tipperary County Council. The committee thanked the councils for their support. They also thanked Dr Paul Salveson, General Manager of the Association of Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) in England for the work he had carried out on the Ballybrophy to Limerick line and for highlighting its potential as a commuter and tourism line. He said the line has the ideal potential to become Irelandâ€™s first community rail initiative, and urged the appointment of a railway officer to develop the line.
The committee members said they would like to work with IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann and with the local councils towards appointing a rail officer to help promote, market and develop the line. They thanked finally Sean Reidy of Retail Research Services and his team for carrying out the survey.
Â© Nenagh Guardian