Sunday 17 August 2008

Councillor criticises Irish Rail’s routing of Kildare line

A Labour Party councillor in Dublin has accused Irish Rail of ‘‘pandering to the interests of big business’’ in its routing of the Kildare rail line.

Councillor Michael Conaghan also accused the semi-state company of taking a ‘‘dismissive, arrogant and biased’’ attitude towards the local community.

He criticised Irish Rail for not including the new rail station at Ballyfermot on the Kildare route project and its decision to close the station that existed at Cherry Orchard.

Conaghan claimed Ballyfermot was one of Dublin’s biggest suburbs - with more than 20,000 residents - and that the Kylemore Road was ‘‘choking with through traffic’’. The ongoing Kildare route project will double the number of tracks to four, with two dedicated lines for commuter services and two lines for Intercity and regional services.

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As part of the plan, Cherry Orchard station was closed earlier this month and replaced with a station at Parkwest. An Irish Rail spokesman said the Parkwest station was 700 metres up the line from Cherry Orchard and served a much higher density of people.

However, Conaghan said that the residents of Ballyfermot had a very high dependency on public transport, which was catered for by the station at Cherry Orchard. He said that a new station at Kylemore Road would have been a viable and sensible choice for inclusion as part of the Kildare route project.

‘‘If big businesses and shiny new apartment complexes were located in Ballyfermot, it would have been a different story - this is the very reason that Parkwest now has a new station and the local community in Ballyfermot have lost one,” he said.

‘‘Young people, commuters and elderly residents could have been serviced by this rail station, which will connect with the Luas at Heuston station,’’ Conaghan said.

An Irish Rail spokesman said that, because higher frequency and faster trains were using the new route, a stop at Kylemore Road was not possible.

‘‘We have had an increase of passengers at Parkwest, while numbers using the service at Cherry Orchard were small,” he said. ‘‘When the Dart service is electrified and extended, we can look at the possibility of a station.”

Sunday Business Post

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