Upgraded Rail Service Could 'Turn Roscrea Around'

Thursday, 15 December 2016

THE PROPOSED closure of the Limerick to Ballybrophy rail line was met with great disappointment in Roscrea, where the President of the local Chamber of Commerce has called on the government to instead invest in the ailing infrastructure.

The issue was raised at the December monthly meeting of the Roscrea Community Development Council (RCDC), where Chamber President, Seamus Browne, said a modern and well managed commuter service for Roscrea could entice people to live in Roscrea and 'turn the town around.'

'12 years ago there was a huge meeting in Grant's Hotel supporting a proper commuter service for Roscrea. If a second line was added and a good commuter service created it could turn the town around completely and entice people who commute to come and live here,' he said.

The Chamber President envisages Roscrea could benefit from the ever expanding commuter belt, where towns like Portlaoise and Thurles, which are well serviced with rail options, are home to many people working in Dublin.

'Over the next decades people will move out further from Dublin and if people can have a service which connects them to the Luas from Roscrea we will have a winner. People need to be in Dublin sitting in their office at 9a.m. and if we can make that possible they will come here,' Mr Browne said.

Mr Browne told the meeting that once the train passes Borris-in-Ossory most of the passengers have already alighted the train and that if a link to Roscrea was created, where houses are much cheaper than in the capital, people would be very happy to relocate to Roscrea. 'I think changing in Ballybrophy is what puts people off,' he said.

'A good rail link makes a town and could transform Roscrea,' the Chamber President said.

Chairman of RCDC, John Lupton, added that with Roscrea's growing older population, a reliable and efficient rail service could be of great benefit to people already living in Roscrea.

'There is a bus service to Dublin but it's too slow for people who want to commute for work. If people can earn a living in Dublin and come home to Roscrea it will benefit the town greatly,' Mr Browne said.

'The days of the multinationals coming to rural towns and setting up big factories is gone and with issues like broadband access and other problems like that affecting towns like ours, it isn't coming back soon. We need to make it possible for people to live here and commute to work,' the Chamber President said.

Recently several members of Tipperary County Council and the members of the Nenagh Community Rail Partnership (NCRP) insisted the Ballybrophy to Limerick rail line, labelled the 'ghost train' by some national media critics, can boost passenger numbers and achieve break-even status.

They now want Transport Minister, Shane Ross, to examine the line in person and hear detailed local submissions about enhanced timetables and investment.

Many are predicting the line, which passes through Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Nenagh and Birdhill, appears destined to face the axe after a report revealed just 70 people used it on one day - and that its subsidy now amounts to €550 per passenger. Daily revenue from the service is about €753, the report published last month revealed.


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