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In late August 2017, the Commission for Rail Regulation released their 2016 Annual Report.

As per previous years, a detailed examination was conducted of all of the Railway Undertakings (Iarnród Éireann, Luas, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland and Balfour Beatty Ireland), the Infrastructure Management (Iarnród Éireann and Transport Infrastructure Ireland), as well as which heritage railways such as Waterford & Suir Valley and Stradbally were monitored. Compliance with law and recommendations issued previously was undertaken.

In general, the news is positive, with all operators making moves to improve compliance and safety. Various items were brought up for attention and a number of items closed off. There was a concern that the relationship between the CRR and IÉ was becoming strained, but this appears to be recovering.

Of interest is a section on the Foynes line. The CRR has engaged with the Shannon-Foynes Port Authortiy and Iarnród Éireann regarding the possible re-opening of the line. The CRR issued a Letter of Acceptance for Concept Stage on 2 June 2016 for the rehabilitation of the Foynes Line and reconnection to the mainline at Limerick.

The full report is available on the website



Brexit: In an introductory presentation to the Seanad Committee on Brexit, CEO Anne Graham and Public Transport Regulation Manager Anneliese Jones outlined some of the possible issues surrounding the effects of Brexit.

Of key concern for the railways is the future of the current Enterprise workings from Dublin to Belfast, jointly managed by Iarnród Éireann in the Republic and Northern Ireland Railways in the North. It is anticipated that the current agreements will be able to continue post-Brexit.

A “hard” border between north and south would result in a “very significant impact” on cross-border public transport, making it “impossible to deliver reliable journey times for passengers”.

North Wall Freight Yard: Dancor Civil Engineering were awarded a contract to develop and build a bus and coach parking area, along with associated road works and building provision, besides Dublin Docklands station. The plans include 50 parking spaces for 12m long vehicles. The development is to the immediate east of the station, with 45 of the spaces backing directly onto Docklands station. This is being built on former railway land, this having been in use as part of the wider North Wall complex until the 1990’s. The planning application was made by Iarnród Éireann on behalf of the National Transport Authority.

Kids Go Free: Between Monday 3 July and Sunday 16 July 2017, any Child Leap card user (under 19 years ago) could travel free on any service where Leap cards are valid, including bus services. It was designed to increase the usage and awareness of public transport.

It is reported that over 640,000 free trips were provided across all modes in the two weeks, a 50% increase in numbers over a comparable period. This is the fourth year of the campaign.



It is reported in the Limerick Leader that Limerick City and County Council and the National Transport Authority have formed a partnership to develop a Transportation Plan for Limerick, similar to what has been produced for Dublin.

All modes of transport are being discussed, with light rail being heavily pushed. This would include connections to existing rail services (such as a new station on the Killonan Junction – Ballybrophy line), and airport and sea connections. Two lines would be envisaged, running north-to-south and east-to-west.

The advisory board is expected to be formed in late 2017.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 194, published October 2017

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