InterCity (Iarnród Éireann)

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Curragh - - 334750.jpg
InterCity train (201 Class) passing through the Curragh in County Kildare
Type InterCity
System Iarnród Éireann
Status Operational
Locale Ireland
Stations 110
Services 9
Opening 1976 (As Mainline. Branded InterCity in 1984)
Owner Iarnród Éireann
Operator(s) Iarnród Éireann
Rolling stock 201 Class
Mark 4
22000 Class
No. of tracks 2-6
Track gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Operating speed 160 km/h (99 mph) maximum

InterCity is the brand name given to rail services operated by Iarnród Éireann that run between Dublin and other major cities in the Republic of Ireland. InterCity branding is also used in other European countries by unaffiliated organizations.


InterCity services from Dublin operate from two main stations:

Although Dublin is the hub of InterCity services with all "radial routes" terminating there, there are other services which may be considered as InterCity including;

  • Cork-Tralee
  • Limerick-Galway

Rolling stock[edit]

201 Class locomotive at Cork
Mark 4 DVT Templemore Tipperary

InterCity services are operated using a mixture of locomotive pulled coaching stock and DMUs. In 2006, deliveries began of 67 new Mark 4 coaches, specifically for the flagship Dublin-Cork route, in an order costing approximately €117 million. These are formed into 8 carriage trains, pulled by a 201 class locomotive, and operate an hourly service between Cork and Dublin. The entry into service of the Mark 4 stock allowed the Mark 3 coaching stock to be cascaded to other routes, allowing in turn the withdrawal of the elderly "Cravens" and Mark 2 coaches. In 2007, the first of a planned 183 coaches of the new 22000 Class diesel multiple unit were delivered, of which 150 vehicles will be for InterCity, totalling approximately €400 million. These new trains, which will be in either three or six car formations, will replace the Mark 3 coaches currently in use on the routes between Dublin and Limerick, Galway and Waterford and the 2800 Class and 29000 Class DMUs on the Dublin to Sligo and Dublin to Rosslare services, and on the services that do not terminate in Dublin. The DMU rolling stock will then be transferred to the expanded Commuter services over the next few years. The first 22000 Class train entered service on 18 December 2007 on the service to Sligo.[1] These DMUs now operate all Dublin-Sligo, Dublin-Tralee and Dublin-Limerick services, most Dublin-Westport services and some Dublin-Galway, Dublin-Waterford and Mallow/Cork-Tralee services. As of March 2015 all InterCity and many Commuter routes are operated with 22000 Class units, with the exclusion of the Cork/Belfast-Dublin Service.

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
201 Class IE 201 Class loco, Mk 4 livery.JPG Diesel locomotive 100 160 32 Dublin-Cork, Dublin-Belfast 1994–1995
22000 Class DMU IE-22000 Limerick-Colbert.jpg Diesel multiple unit 100 160 41 Cork-Tralee, Dublin-Cork, Galway, Limerick, Rosslare, Sligo, Waterford, Westport 2006–2011
Mark 4 IE MK4.JPG Passenger coaches 125 200 67 Dublin-Cork. 2005-2006
IE DVT 1.JPG Control Car

In addition to the dedicated InterCity rolling stock, a number of Commuter branded DMUs are used on rural routes that are classed as InterCity by Iarnród Éireann

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
2600 Class 16.06.95 Dublin Heuston 2601 (5957580489).jpg Diesel multiple unit 70 110 8 Cork Commuter Routes 1993-1994
2800 Class IE 2800 Class.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 8 Cork & Limerick Commuter Routes 2000
29000 Class 29129 Drumcondra 2008-02-03.jpg Diesel multiple unit 75 120 29 Dublin-Rosslare, Dublin Commuter 2002 - 2005


Western Rail corridor[edit]

The Transport 21 project will see several hundred million euros invested by the Irish Government in improving the railway network. This will see connection of some of the radial lines out of Dublin, which will enable inter-regional services to be operated without travelling through the capital. A major part of this will be the reinstatement of the Western Rail Corridor between Ennis and Claremorris, a route totalling 110 km/68.5 miles.

If stage 3 were completed, the Westport, Galway and Limerick lines from Dublin will be connected, allowing regional InterCity services to be run between these destinations without having to travel via Dublin.

Stage 1 of the project began on November 16, 2007, relaying track between Ennis and Athenry, a distance of approximately 60 km/36 miles.[2]

The WRC project has been widely criticised as passenger numbers have been extremely low, with critics saying it would be cheaper for Irish Rail to put each passenger in a taxi than running the train.


Iarnród Éireann also maintains an ambition to increase speeds on the Dublin-Cork line. The new Mark 4 coaches are capable speeds of up to 125 mph, but are limited to 100 mph, because of speed restrictions on the track. In order to achieve the desired higher speed, the infrastructure of the line would have to be upgraded.

Dublin Congestion[edit]

CIÉ's ambition to increase both service speed and service frequency is limited by capacity issues at Dublin Connolly. The loopline that links Connolly with Dublin Pearse is a two track route that is currently operating at the limit of its capacity, while Connolly is also utilised as the terminus for a number of InterCity and Commuter services. The new Docklands station was built as a means to ease the congestion at Connolly by providing an alternate terminus for Commuter services to Meath. IÉ's significant plan initially involved the rebuilding of Dublin Broadstone to serve as a terminus for Commuter services to the west of the capital. However, in March 2008, the Government decided that the track bed leading from Liffey Junction would be used for an extension to the Luas rather than for heavy rail. To compensate, the transport minister announced that CIÉ would be permitted to obtain planning permission to keep Docklands open permanently as the terminus for Maynooth, Navan and Mullingar services, as well as potential services from Galway.[3] The construction of the Interconnector will enable DART services to be spread over two lines, rather than all of them being routed through Connolly. This will then free up slots at Connolly to allow improvements in the services provided by both InterCity and Enterprise.

Other services[edit]

The three counties in Ulster that are part of the Republic of Ireland, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, are the only counties with no railway connection at all. The closest railway station to Donegal is Londonderry Waterside in Northern Ireland, while the closure of several of the cross-border lines by the Northern Ireland Government led to Cavan and Monaghan losing their rail services in the 1960s. Iarnród Éireann and the government have both been criticised for not considering a restoration of the railway to Donegal,[4] with Donegal County Council stating their commitment to bringing about a return of the rail network to the county by connecting Letterkenny to both Sligo and Derry, to maximise the "Gateway Status" awarded to the three towns.[5] In May 2008, Conor Murphy, the Minister for Regional Development in the Northern Ireland Executive, announced a study in conjunction with Donegal County Council into the effects of restoring railway services in the north-west, with a view to potentially returning the railway to Donegal.[6] The idea of restoring the railways to the North-West of Ireland has been gathering momentum, with Monaghan County Council deciding to investigate the idea in 2009, while Donegal has floated the idea of involving not only the three Ulster counties south of the border, but also Sligo, which formerly had extensive rail links to counties further north, and Fermanagh and Tyrone in Northern Ireland.[7]