Dublin–Westport/Galway railway line
|This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (December 2015)|
The Dublin-Westport/Galway line is a major railway route from Dublin to the towns of Westport in County Mayo and Galway in County Galway. The line is part of the greater intercity rail network formed by branches of the main line between Dublin and Cork. The route to Westport and Galway branches away from the main line at Portarlington in County Laois and continues as far as Athlone in County Westmeath, where it splits again, with one branch to Westport and the other to Galway.
The Westport line was opened by the MGWR in 1866 to serve the then major port. At this point, services ran from Broadstone station in Dublin via Mullingar. However, the GSWR route reached Athlone in 1859, which gave a second route from Kingsbridge station. Following the rationalisation of the railway network by Córas Iompair Éireann, the GSWR route was made the main route from Dublin to the west coast after 1973.
The Galway line was opened by the MGWR in 1851, which became the primary route to the west coast city from Dublin. The GSWR route to Athlone opened in 1859, but the company also ran another route in the west of the country, when it purchased the Waterford, Limerick and Western Railway, which operated the Waterford-Collooney route that called at Athenry. In 1973, CIÉ made the former GSWR route the main one to Galway, with services on the old MGWR line slowly withdrawn, until they were ended in 1987.
Today,[when?] all services to both Westport and Galway are operated by Intercity using the former GSWR route from Dublin Heuston. The connection to the former MGWR route that ran via Moate in County Westmeath has not been used for passenger services since 1987. Services are operated by Iarnród Éireann's new 22000 Class DMU. There are seven trains daily in each direction to and from Dublin and Galway, with a further three trains per day in each direction from Dublin to Westport. A further train per day towards Westport instead operates via the Ballina Branch Line from Manulla Junction to Ballina.