Flooding forces closure of Ennis/Limerick rail line again

Flooding forces closure of Ennis/Limerick rail line again

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Ballycar Lough continues to overflow into farmland and onto the rail line – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

Iarnród Éireann has been forced to close a section of the Limerick to Galway rail line due to flooding near Newmarket on Fergus in Co Clare.

This follows the closure last week of the Ennis to Athenry section of the popular route after the tracks at Kiltartan were left submerged by flood waters.

That section of line reopened this morning with the first train operating on the route since Tuesday last week. A bus service had been provided between Gort and Athenry while train services were suspended.

The rail line between Gort and Athenry reopened this morning after flooding in Kiltartan – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

However, in the meantime, flood waters that had threatened the rail line at Ballycar near Newmarket on Fergus in Co Clare have now covered the tracks forcing Iarnród Éireann to close the  section of line between Limerick and Ennis. The track is also flooded further north at Mooghaun.

An Iarnród Éireann spokesperson confirmed: “The Ennis to Athenry was closed due to flooding at Kiltartan from Last Tuesday until today. The first operated this morning through.”

“The Ennis to Limerick line is closed and is expected to remain closed until further notice, due to flooding at Ballycar,” the company confirmed.

The railway track at Ballycar Lough has flooded on a number of occasions in recent years. This flooding has led to temporary closures of the Limerick to Ennis railway line for extended periods of up to 20 weeks at a time.

The line at Ballycar was closed for 140 days in 2015 and 110 days in 2014.

Minister Seán Canney (right) speaking to locals in Ballycar in 2017 – File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

In February 2017, then Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW and Flood Relief Minister Seán Canney visited Ballycar. He was accompanied by Clare’s four oireachtas members and spoke with locals about the long running flooding issues.

The minister said at the time that he was committed to the future of the Western Rail Corridor and wanted to see the matter resolved and that he would make every effort to secure the future of the line. However, nothing has been done in the meantime to resolve the long standing problem.

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