Still waiting on progress for Killucan Train Station

A letter is to issue in the coming weeks from Westmeath County Council to Irish Rail in the hope of advancing the re-opening of Killucan Railway Station.

At the January meeting of the council, Cllr Denis Leonard proposed that the council write to Irish Rail immediately and seek to work actively and co-operatively with them on a business case for the re-opening of the station in 2022.

He referred to a number of recent developments that would improve the chances of the station re-opening – the enhanced government funding now available for public transport projects in the light of climate change; the newly launched National Transport Authority’s Connecting Ireland initiative joining rural communities and bringing them to train stations and other national connections; the vast increase in commuters and students in the east and north of the county that need to connect to the national rail network; and the fact that many railway carriages had been ordered to increase the capacity of the Dublin Sligo line.

Cllr Leonard said that nothing was going to happen until the two bodies sat down together and he urged that the council work with Irish Rail towards that goal.

Cllr Hazel Smyth supported his call, saying that the re-opening of the station would accommodate commuters and visitors to the area.

Cllr Emily Wallace said that the proposal seemed to have been “derailed” at every opportunity. She said that there was a real case for the re-opening of Killucan station, never more so than now.

She submitted that there had been an explosion in population in that area and making rail available was an easy way to encourage them to use public transport. She appeal to the council executive to let members know what they could do to push the plan forward.

Cllr John Shaw felt that Irish Rail had fobbed the council off in the past and he would welcome a meeting with them to see what more could be done.

Cllr Aoife Davitt said that in light of rising fuel costs and climate change, it was desirable that people use public transport, while Cllr Frank McDermott alluded to a suggestion he made in the past to re-open Multyfarnham and Killucan stations.

Barry Kehoe, director of services, said that with greater emphasis on public transport, he would hope that the station would re-open and that additional funding would be provided for public transport.