Clearance Works Under Way on Limerick – Foynes Line
Clearance works are continuing on the disused Limerick-Foynes railway line in preparation for relaying and reopening of the route in 2024. The first consignment of rail for the project is expected to arrive at Foynes Port this November and sleepers have been ordered. Contracts for the line reconstruction are expected to be awarded in November, requiring the line to be rebuilt and open for traffic within 18 months.
The link forms part of the original Western Rail Corridor which connected Foynes Port to Ballina inland port in County Mayo with coal, oil and chemicals from Asahi among the products carried. The last trains from Ballina to Foynes ran in 1999-2000.
Minister for Transport Eamonn Ryan has repeatedly linked the Foynes reopening with the re-development of the freight corridor. Speaking in Dáil Éireann on 24th September 2020 the Minister said:
“Developing those two small links – from Athenry to Claremorris and from Limerick City to Foynes – would give us a national rail freight service connected to two international deepwater ports… I do not see why it cannot work.”
And speaking at the launch of the National Development Plan in October 2021 the Minister outlined what he described as the “transformation of the west of Ireland”, with the development of the underutilised Western Rail Corridor. He said he envisaged a rail network “going all the way from the quays in Waterford to Limerick Junction with access as far as Ballina.”