Limerick Suburban Rail

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Limerick Suburban Rail are a group of Iarnród Éireann commuter train services from Limerick Colbert to various other destinations on three different lines.

Limerick to Ennis[edit]

Limerick Suburban Rail – Ennis Line
Limerick
Sixmilebridge
Ennis

The Limerick to Ennis suburban service runs over the southernmost 24.5 miles (39.4 km) of the former Waterford, Limerick and Western Railway(WL&WR) track between Limerick and the junction with the DublinGalway mainline at Athenry. In the 2010–11 timetable, ten services per weekday are operated from Limerick to Ennis and 11 services from Ennis to Limerick, five of each being stops made by Limerick-Galway intercity trains. Sunday service is eight trains from Limerick to Ennis and nine trains from Ennis to Limerick, and similarly four trains per direction are Limerick-Galway intercity services. Services are timetabled for a 40-minute duration.

Passenger services on this section ceased in 1976 but were re-introduced in 1988 as far as Ennis and were increased progressively until a full six-weekday service was begun in 1994 which also had a limited Sunday service. A further expansion to eight services per weekday was begun in 2003 with the timetable further reorganised in March 2010 to incorporate the newly reopened track north of Ennis and services between Limerick and Galway. Iarnród Éireann proposed that its next timetable revision in 2011 would include an extra train from Galway to Ennis to meet an existing Limerick–Ennis–Limerick train to create a sixth service per direction per weekday between Limerick and Galway.

As of March 2011, both intercity and commuter services are operated by 2700 class diesel railcars whose 70 mph (110 km/h) top speed is sufficient for the limits of the existing single-track line (50 mph/80 km/h with partial restrictions of between 25 and 40 mph/40 and 64 km/h. These railcars normally operate in sets of two, offering 117 seats but platform lengths will allow between one and four such cars to operate together. At present,[when?] the signalling system only allows one train operating in the section at a time, but a passing loop is planned for the section's only intermediate halt at Sixmilebridge, which would permit trains to depart from Ennis and from Limerick at about the same time and pass each other within the limits of the loop track.

Limerick to Nenagh[edit]

Limerick Suburban Rail – Nenagh Line
Limerick
Castleconnell
Birdhill
Nenagh

The Limerick to Nenagh line operates over a short section of the line between Limerick and Limerick Junction before joining the Limerick–Ballybrophy railway line at Killonan Junction. This service normally operates in a block section where trains cannot operate at the same time but changes were made at Nenagh to allow the first Limerick–Ballybrophy train of the day to split there, with the front half continuing to Roscrea and Ballybrophy to meet the Dublin–Cork mainline and the back half turning back for Limerick forming the commuter service.

There are three services per weekday in each direction between Limerick and Nenagh, two of which continue to or from Ballybrophy. At present,[when?] there is only one inbound service to Limerick in the morning timetabled to arrive at 0842 and two evening outbounds at 1645 and 1745. Journey time is timetabled at between 58 and 67 minutes.

The service is operated by 2700 class diesel railcars, whose 70 mph (110 km/h) top speeds are sufficient for the 60 mph limits between Limerick and Killonan Junction but is hampered by the condition of the track between Killonan Junction and Nenagh. Some track upgrades from jointed track to Continuous Welded Rail offering higher safe speeds and a quieter operation have been started but not completed by operations such as ballast tamping and rail stressing. Additionally, the route misses the key employment area of Castletroy on the eastern outskirts of Limerick which contains both a major industrial estate and the University of Limerick.

A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Irish Rail was expected to seek permission from the National Transport Authority to close the line.[1] However the announcement on 20 February 2012 of an enhanced timetable for the line means that this threat is lifted, at least for the time being.[2]

Limerick to Limerick Junction[edit]

Limerick Suburban Rail – Limerick Junction Line
Limerick
Limerick Junction

This service is principally a shuttle along part of the Limerick–Rosslare railway line between Limerick station and Limerick Junction connecting to and from mainline services between Dublin and Cork as well as to a regional service to Waterford. In the late 2000s, an enhanced commuter aspect was developed involving expansion of car parking at Limerick Junction was completed and in 2010 Iarnród Éireann also introduced a morning service from Thurles to Limerick from Monday to Friday which passes through Limerick Junction.

There are no intermediate stops on the 17-mile (27 km) 70 mph (110 km/h) Limerick Junction–Killonan Junction section or the 4.5-mile (7.2 km) 60 mph (97 km/h) Killonan Junction–Limerick section. Some services are part of direct Dublin–Limerick intercity trains operating using 22000 class intercity diesel railcars and the others operate using 2700 class diesel railcars. Journey time is between 26 and 34 minutes in the 2010–11 timetable.

As of March 2011, commuting from east of Limerick Junction is hampered by the current arrangement where the train arriving from Cahir, Clonmel and Waterford at 0818 does not proceed onward to Limerick and a shuttle train to Limerick does not depart until 0847.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/iarnrod-eireann-may-close-rail-service-amid-falling-demand-178779.html
  2. ^ http://www.irishrail.ie/cat_news.jsp?i=4483&p=116&n=237

External links[edit]