Rail activist (still) awaiting response at Killucan station

The disused Killucan station. Trains on the Dublin Sligo line pass through it daily.

From Denis Leonard, President Killucan Kinnegad Transport Lobby Group

This is the letter (underneath) I emailed Irish Rail seven weeks ago and still haven’t heard back.

I asked the Chief Executive of Westmeath County Council and the Director of Transport SPC at this week’s council meeting why they weren’t suing Irish Rail for an answer when Irish Rail said they would come back to us on the feasibility study by the end of the summer. .

This week, three UN climate reports point to catastrophic weather events, driven by global warming, record high greenhouse gases and governments failing to set real benchmarks to meet targets. low emissions.

With transport the highest emitter and with a supposed two-to-one investment in public transport on the roads a government policy, why is Westmeath so slow to demand action on this, when the motorways are choked off and that Countless citizens are funneled there, wasting hours of their lives, when an obvious alternative lies right next to us.

The same goes for the Mullingar-Athlone rail line. With a hospital in Mullingar and a technical college in Athlone, how many unnecessary car journeys are made for lack of public transport?

Now is the time to act, and rising costs will only provide a convenient excuse.

It is utter neglect not to act immediately to end the constant cutting of bus routes in the Midlands and give the people who live here little access to the national rail service.

True rural regeneration would allow us to work, shop, bank and play close to home, and when we need to travel, have access to affordable and accessible public transport.

————————————————– —————-

Killucan Kinnegad Transport Lobby

September 9, 2022

Mr. Jim Meade, Managing Director, Iarnród Éireann, Amien Street, Dublin 1. D01 V6V6

Dear Mr Meade,

At this time last year, I wrote to you with great hope as another year drew to a close; another year without Killucan station being reopened. I had high hopes that our meeting in Dáil Éireann in March 2019 would produce a meeting between you and Westmeath County Manager Pat Gallagher to move the station forward; it still hasn’t happened. We in the lobby have gone through four Irish Railway ECs, four County Managers and six Ministers since 2001.

We really want to move Killucan station forward at a time when new carriages are coming online and the government has promised a two-to-one investment in rail rather than road. The Taoiseach even recently voiced his support for the Western Rail Corridor and said how essential rail is. We just want access to a fully functional line in a county of 100,000 people that has only two train stations. The rest of our stations are left as a memorial to a forgotten past.

I know that your officials have met with representatives of Westmeath County Council this year and your people have indicated that they will seek to advance an independent feasibility study with the NTA. Could you please provide our group with an update on this study? We hope that many people in the wider Killucan and Kinnegad areas will have the opportunity to participate. Our group would also appreciate this possibility.

If you look at the demographics of our area, most people actually work in the greater Dublin area and our population here has grown by 400% over the last 20 years with mostly commuters from Dublin.

The station would be completely self-financing once there was capacity on the train. We realize cars are a problem, perhaps the real problem, so when you take delivery of the extra Sligo line cars we want Kinnegad and Killucan and surrounding areas to have access to the Sligo line Dublin.

Dromod in Leitrim is on the line and has access to it, with only 555 inhabitants, and it is still in use.

As an organization, there are several government departments that can help you fund this development, including, of course, the Department of Transportation, as well as the Department of Climate Action and Environment on the use of the tax carbon for transit projects, and the Department of Rural Affairs and Community Development for rural development funding, which is also an option for you to tap directly. The BMW fund has a transport option up to 50% of the cost,

Up-to-the-minute public transport projects all seem to be geared towards Dublin and other major cities. For example, the Dublin Underground would cost over €10,000 per person if everyone within a 15 kilometer radius of any station used it.

Killucan station would cost less than €300 per commuter if everyone under 10,000 used it and €100 per person if everyone under 15,000 used it. (That’s a startling figure ranging from one-tenth to one-thirtieth of the price, not even taking into account upcoming EU funding).

In our Midlands area we have few or no viable public transport options (unlike the multiple options in Dublin).

Essentially, funds can be accessed to reopen Killucan Station, which has all vital infrastructure and parking already in place; it just needs to be updated.

Our county council and all Midlands development plans fully support its reopening.

The reasons why our group believes that the station must be opened urgently are:

1. The excessive number of commuters leaving East Westmeath each day for Dublin, and the nearest station at Enfield is between 12 and 20 miles driving on the constricted M4;

2. The train stops here eight times each way anyway, as the only double track is at Killucan. It doesn’t seem like there are any scheduling issues.

3. With global warming and a 51% reduction by 2030, the climate target being destroyed by transport (more than 30% of the total) due to the lack of options like the Killucan station, it seems obvious that the fines Ireland will pay for missing carbon targets would open many stations. Increasing the carbon tax is now an option.

4. If rural Ireland is to survive, it needs meaningful transport alternatives. Under your watch, Killucan Station could become a prototype for renovating old stations in expanding rural areas to have a lifeline for the national rail network. Two major rail lines pass through our county and we need full access to each at a time of proposed 2-to-1 public transportation investments.

Will you please work with us to make this station a reality and the vital lifeline it can be for a massive rural population? Can you please outline your plans for advancing the feasibility study?

We look forward to working with you on this project.

Sincerely,

Denis Leonard

President Killucan Kinnegad Transport Lobby Group

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