Iarnród Éireann, (Irish pronunciation: [ˈiəɾˠnˠɾˠoːd̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ]) or Irish Rail, is the operator of the national railway network of Ireland. Established on 2 February 1987, it is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ). It operates all internal InterCity, Commuter, DART and freight railway services in the Republic of Ireland, and, jointly with Northern Ireland Railways, the Enterprise service between Dublin and Belfast. In 2019, IÉ carried a record peak of 50 million passengers, up from 48 million in 2018.[2]

Iarnród Éireann
Irish Rail
Company typeSubsidiary of a state-owned enterprise
IndustryRail transport
PredecessorCIÉ Railways Division (1945–1987)
Founded2 February 1987
Area served
Key people
Jim Meade (Chief Executive)
Frank Allen (Chairman)
RevenueIncrease 297.4 million (2019)[1]
Increase €529 million (2019)[1]
Increase €4.2 million (2019)[1]
OwnerCIÉ (100%)
Number of employees
3,897 (2019)
ParentCóras Iompair Éireann
Iarnród Éireann Freight
WebsiteIarnród Éireann Website
A 29000 Class Commuter train at Tara Street Station, Dublin, in 2006. The LED display is showing "Destination: Pearse Station" in Irish.
A Mark 4 carriage on the Dublin–Cork railway line
The original four rails logo 1987–1994
An IÉ 22000 Class DMU (22054) at Drogheda MacBride

Until 2013, Ireland was the only European Union state that had not implemented EU Directive 91/440 and related legislation, having derogated from its obligation to split train operations and infrastructure businesses, and allow open access by private companies to the rail network. A consultation on the restructuring of Iarnród Éireann took place in 2012. The derogation ended on 14 March 2013 when the company was split in 2 sectors: Railway Undertaking and Infrastructure Manager.[3][4]



At the time of its establishment, the company referred to itself as Irish Rail and adopted the four rails IR logo. In 1994, the company brought the Irish form of its name to the fore, introducing a logo and corporate branding based on the letters (Iarnród Éireann) branding and logo. Both languages remained part of the official company name ("Iarnród Éireann – Irish Rail"). In January 2013, a new logo was introduced with a new bilingual branding; it made its first appearance in early January on online timetables, before officially launching on the 21st.[5][6] In late 2013 the logo was updated again with a new font.[7]

Operationally, services are divided across four regional areas:

  • Northern and Eastern services are managed from Connolly (including Sligo in the North-West)
  • Southern and Western services are managed from Heuston



Passenger services


IÉ's passenger services are branded under three main names; InterCity, Commuter and DART.


Train passing through the Curragh in County Kildare

InterCity services are long-distance routes radiating mainly from Dublin. The Belfast – Dublin service, jointly operated with Northern Ireland Railways, is branded separately as Enterprise. Dublin's two main InterCity stations are Connolly and Heuston. Intercity services run to/from Cork, Limerick, Tralee, Ennis, Galway, Waterford, Rosslare Europort, Sligo, Westport, Wexford and Ballina. Dublin's third major station, Pearse, is the terminus for much of the suburban network in the Greater Dublin area. An additional two InterCity services runs from Limerick to Limerick Junction and from Limerick Junction to Waterford. This service formerly operated through to Rosslare Europort but services between Waterford and Rosslare Europort ceased after the last train on 18 September 2010. Bus Éireann now operates route 370 through the affected towns as replacement transport.[8]

A new service began on 29 March 2010 from Limerick to Galway, as part of the Western Rail Corridor, reopening the long-closed line.[9]

A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Iarnród Éireann was expected to seek permission in the near future from the National Transport Authority to close the Limerick–Ballybrophy railway line and the Limerick–Waterford line.[10]


A 29000 Class in the old 'plug' livery south of Bray Daly

The majority of Commuter services are based in Dublin, which has four commuter routes: Northern (to Drogheda MacBride), Western (Connolly Station or Docklands to Kilcock/M3 Parkway), South-Western (to Sallins and Naas Railway Station) and South-Eastern (to Kilcoole). See Dublin Suburban Rail for more details. The Cork Suburban Rail currently has three Commuter services: to Mallow and Cobh, and a third service to Midleton which became operational on a part of the disused Youghal branch line on 30 July 2009. Limerick Suburban Rail currently consists of two lines to Ennis and Nenagh, with shuttle services to Limerick Junction. A Commuter service operates between Galway to Oranmore and Athenry.[citation needed]

Commuter trains also operate on shuttle duty for branches from the main InterCity services from Mallow to Tralee (off the Dublin – Cork route) and from Manulla Junction to Ballina (off the Dublin – Westport route), as well as acting as InterCity trains for Dublin – Rosslare and some Dublin – Sligo services, and as the aforementioned Limerick – Limerick Junction – Waterford service.[citation needed]


A DART 8500 Class in Greystones
Interior of the DART 8520 Class

The north–south route along Dublin's eastern coastal side is also host to DART, Ireland's only electrified heavy-rail service. The DART consists of many types of trains, the oldest and most famous one being the 8100 Class which still operates, now extensively refurbished.[citation needed]

A DART 8520 Class arriving at Connolly Station

Services Table


The following is a simplified table of Monday - Friday off-peak services, various irregular calling patterns have been omitted for clarity.[11]

Route Frequency Calling at
Enterprise Dublin Connolly to Belfast Lanyon Place 1tp2h Drogheda MacBride, Dundalk Clarke, Newry, Portadown, Lurgan (1tpw) Lisburn (1tpw)
service jointly operated with NI Railways
Sligo InterCity Dublin Connolly to Sligo MacDiarmada 1tp2h Drumcondra,

Leixlip Louisa Bridge Maynooth, Kilcock, Enfield, Mullingar, Edgeworthstown, Longford, Dromod, Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle, Ballymote, Collooney

Mayo InterCity Dublin Heuston to Westport 5[12]tpd Kildare (1tpd), Portarlington, Tullamore, Clara, Athlone, Roscommon, Castlerea, Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Manulla Junction, Castlebar
Manulla Junction to Ballina 1tp2h Foxford
Galway InterCity Dublin Heuston to Galway Ceannt 1tp2h Portarlington, Tullamore, Clara, Athlone, Ballinasloe, Woodlawn, Attymon (1tpd), Athenry, Oranmore
Limerick InterCity Dublin Heuston to Limerick Colbert 1tph Portlaoise, Ballybrophy (1tpd), Templemore (2tpd), Thurles, Limerick Junction
BallybrophyLimerick Colbert 2tpd Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Nenagh, Birdhill, Castleconnell
Cork Intercity Dublin Heuston to Cork Kent 1tph Portlaoise, Ballybrophy (2tpd) Templemore (1tpd), Thurles, Limerick Junction, Charleville (1tpd), Mallow
Tralee Intercity Dublin Heuston to Tralee 1tp2h Ballybrophy, Templemore, Thurles, Charleville, Banteer, Millstreet, Rathmore, Killarney, Farranfore
Waterford Intercity Dublin Heuston to Waterford Plunkett 8tpd Hazelhatch and Celbridge (1tpd), Sallins and Naas (1tpd), Newbridge (3tpd), Kildare (7tpd), Athy, Carlow, Muine Bheag, Kilkenny, Thomastown
Wexford Intercity Dublin Connolly to Rosslare Europort 6tpd Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock (2tpd northbound-only), Lansdowne Road (2tpd northbound-only), Blackrock (2tpd northbound-only), Dún Laoghaire Mallin, Bray Daly, Greystones, Kilcoole (5tpd), Wicklow, Rathdrum, Arklow, Gorey, Enniscorthy, Wexford and Rosslare Strand.

2tpd northbound and 1tpd southbound operates to/from Gorey. 1tpd northbound only operates to Dundalk Clarke.
1tpd southbound only operates to Wexford O'Hanrahan.

Waterford – Limerick Waterford Plunkett to Limerick Junction 2tpd Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Cahir, Tipperary
Limerick – Galway Limerick Colbert to Ennis 9tpd Sixmilebridge
Limerick Colbert to Galway Ceannt 5tpd Sixmilebridge, Ennis, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell, Athenry, Oranmore

2tpd operate to/from Limerick Junction.

Athenry to Galway Ceannt 2tpd Oranmore
Northern Commuter Dublin Connolly to Drogheda MacBride 1tph Howth Junction and Donaghmede (1tpd), Clongriffin (1tpd), Portmarnock (2tpd), Malahide, Donabate, Rush & Lusk, Skerries, Balbriggan, Gormanston, Laytown
some peak trains run to/from Dundalk Clarke, Dublin Pearse, Bray Daly, Gorey, Rosslare Europort or Newry
South Western Commuter Grand Canal Dock to Hazelhatch and Celbridge 1tph Dublin Pearse, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly, Drumcondra, Park West and Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin/Fonthill and Adamstown
Dublin Heuston to Portlaoise 2tph Park West and Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin/Fonthill, Adamstown, Hazelhatch and Celbridge, Sallins and Naas, Newbridge (1tph terminates), Kildare, Monasterevin and Portarlington
Western Commuter Dublin Connolly to Maynooth 2tph Drumcondra, Broombridge, Pelletstown, Ashtown, Navan Road Parkway, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Leixlip Confey and Leixlip Louisa BridgeSome peak-hour trains operate to/from Dublin Pearse.

3tpd continue to Mullingar/Longford (both call at all stations)

Clonsilla to M3 Parkway 1tph Hansfield and Dunboyne
Docklands to M3 Parkway (Monday – Friday only) 12tpd Broombridge, Pelletstown, Ashtown, Navan Road Parkway, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Hansfield and Dunboyne
Cork Commuter Cork Kent to Midleton 2tph Littleisland, Glounthaune and Carrigtwohill
Cork Kent to Cobh 2tph Littleisland, Glounthaune, Fota, Carrigaloe and Rushbrooke
DART Howth to Bray Daly 3tph Sutton, Bayside, Howth Junction & Donaghmede, Kilbarrack, Raheny, Harmonstown, Killester, Clontarf Road, Dublin Connolly, Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Sydney Parade, Booterstown, Blackrock, Seapoint, Salthill & Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire Mallin, Sandycove & Glasthule, Glenageary, Dalkey, Killiney and Shankill. 1tph extended to Greystones.
Malahide to Bray Daly 3tph Portmarnock, Clongriffin, Howth Junction & Donaghmede, Kilbarrack, Raheny, Harmonstown, Killester, Clontarf Road, Dublin Connolly, Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Sydney Parade, Booterstown, Blackrock, Seapoint, Salthill & Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire Mallin, Sandycove & Glasthule, Glenageary, Dalkey, Killiney and Shankill. 1tph extended to Greystones.

Freight services


Iarnród Éireann also has responsibility for running freight services on the Irish network through its Freight Division – which recorded a tonnage decrease of 19.2% in 2019,[1] and as of 2020, there are 3 freight flows running throughout the country. This operates both Railfreight trains and a network of road haulage through various distribution nodes throughout the country. Iarnród Éireann Freight is subdivided into three sections:

  • Bulk Freight – specialises in operating full trainloads of freight, usually bulk movements of single products such as cement, mineral ore or timber.
  • Intermodal – container trains, currently operated between Waterford Port and Ballina and Dublin Port and Ballina.
  • Navigator – the freight forwarding division, particularly associated with the transport of automotive stock parts.

Operational details

The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise, which is jointly operated by IE/NIR, seen at Belfast Lanyon Place Station awaiting its next departure to Dublin.
Map of Ireland's rail transport infrastructure, showing number of tracks, electrification and maximum speed.

The Enterprise route (Dublin to Belfast) is well regarded. However, it is only double track and serves both local and intermediate Commuter as well as InterCity traffic. Hence any delay has knock-on effects. Also, there is limited platform availability at Connolly Station in Dublin. There was also a persistent problem with engine overloading, as Enterprise locomotives also supplied coach power. However, since September 2012, additional power is provided by separate Mark 3 generator vans.[citation needed]

The Cork-Dublin route was formerly the "premier line" of the Great Southern and Western Railway, one of the biggest pre-CIÉ operators. Rolling stock on this route consists of Mark 4 trains, which were built in Spain, complete with DVTs for faster turn-around. 22000 Class DMUs built in South Korea came into service from early 2007 replacing older coaching stock on most other InterCity routes. These 183 carriages are described by the company as the "Greenest diesel trains in Europe".[13]

The former Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD had announced that an additional 51 railcars had been ordered for the company for a planned introduction on services between Dublin, Louth, and Meath. They were placed into service in 2011/2012 but this plan was badly affected by the recession with 21 surpluses to requirements at the end of 2012.[5]

The maximum operational speed of InterCity trains on the IÉ rail network is 160 km/h (100 mph), although the design speed of the Mark 4 carriages is 201 km/h (125 mph).

Westport Railway Station

Since 2019, Irish Rail has been trying to recruit more female drivers.[14]

1916 station renaming

IÉ 2750 Class DMU (2753) at Inchicore Works

Although the majority of Iarnród Éireann's stations are simply named after the towns they serve, a number of stations in major towns and cities were renamed after leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, on its 50th anniversary in 1966:[15]

Network Catering


IÉ's Network Catering unit used to provide a trolley service of food and drink, a snack car and (on some routes) a restaurant service. It also operated a restaurant at Dún Laoghaire.[citation needed] According to Iarnród Éireann's annual report, the unit lost €297,000 in 2004.[16] In 2006, Iarnród Éireann outsourced the catering on the Dublin-Belfast service to Corporate Catering Ltd,[17] and all InterCity services were taken over by Rail Gourmet in March 2007.[18] Rail Gourmet withdrew from the contract in 2020, and no longer provides catering for any Irish Rail services.[2]

Drumcondra Station

In 2023, a contactless-only catering service began on the Dublin-Cork route.

Rolling stock


The company has a fleet size consisting of 547 carriages (excluding the Enterprise service):

  • InterCity services have a fleet of 265 carriages.
  • Commuter services have a fleet of 148 carriages.
  • DART services have a fleet of 134 carriages.
  • Dublin-Belfast Enterprise has a fleet of 28 carriages.

InterCity and Enterprise fleet



Locomotive fleet






Commuter fleet

An Iarnród Éireann 29000 Class DMU (29409) at Dublin Connolly Station, in Dublin






DART fleet

IÉ 8300 Class at Dún Laoghaire






Future fleet


IÉ's increasing fleet usage has led to requirements being made for the procurement of additional vehicles. DART services are running with all trains formed of 4–8 cars, while 54 sets of 63 fleet of ICRs are committed to services with 56 required on Friday. To this end, IÉ plans to purchase a significant number of new ICR vehicles – an initial purchase of 41 will be made for delivery in 2021, comprising three new trains, with the remainder planned as intermediate vehicles to lengthen existing units. The deal for the new vehicles is intended to include options for up to 40 further vehicles.[22] There are also plans for a total replacement of the existing DART fleet, which will be combined with extensions to the DART network. The framework for the DART fleet is planned for up to 600 vehicles formed into four-car and eight-car sets, split into both pure EMU and BEMU trains.[22] For immediate fleet capacity increases, IÉ planned refurbishment of its 2700 Class DMUs, which was subsequently cancelled. Instead, IÉ is discussing the possibility of sourcing surplus DMUs from the British network, with Class 170s and Class 185s available.[22]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Iarnród Éireann. "Iarnród Éireann Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b McCrave, Conor (8 January 2020). "'Strong growth' for public transport sector as passenger numbers increased 9% last year". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Irish government looks at rail restructuring as derogation ends", Railway Gazette International, London, 14 March 2012, archived from the original on 20 January 2018
  4. ^ O'Carroll, Sinead (13 March 2012), "Changes to Irish Rail on way as Ireland gives up EU exemption", TheJournal.ie, archived from the original on 7 October 2012, retrieved 15 March 2012
  5. ^ a b Reilly, Jerome (3 March 2013). "Irish Rail defends new logo cost". Irish Independent. Dublin. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  6. ^ "New Irish Rail and DART logos". Archived from the original on 9 July 2022.
  7. ^ "MARK_4_DRIVING_TRAIL_W_NEW_LOGO_KENT_STATION_CORK_OVERVIEW_P1560475". 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Limerick to Galway rail line reopened". RTÉ News. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  10. ^ McCárthaigh, Seán (2 January 2012). "Iarnród Éireann may close rail service amid falling demand". Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012.
  11. ^ Rail, Irish. "Train Timetables by Route". Irish Rail. Archived from the original on 5 September 2023. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  12. ^ https://journeyplanner.irishrail.ie/webapp/?start=1&REQ0JourneyStopsS0G=Dublin%20Heuston&REQ0JourneyStopsS0ID=A%3D1%40O%3DDublin%20Heuston%40X%3D-6292152%40Y%3D53346511%40U%3D80%40L%3D6000037%40B%3D1%40p%3D1719590746%40&REQ0JourneyStopsZ0G=Westport&REQ0JourneyStopsZ0ID=A%3D1%40O%3DWestport%40X%3D-9510048%40Y%3D53796206%40U%3D80%40L%3D6000085%40B%3D1%40p%3D1719590746%40&journey_mode=single&REQ0JourneyDate=02%2F07%2F2024&REQ1JourneyDate=02%2F07%2F2024&REQ0JourneyTime=allday&REQ1JourneyTime=allday&Number_children=0&Number_students=0&Number_adults=1&language=en_GB
  13. ^ "National and Commuter Fleet Investment". Iarnród Éireann. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019.
  14. ^ Burns, Sarah (2 January 2019). "Irish Rail recruiting 100 drivers over next four years". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  15. ^ Duffy, Rónán (30 April 2016). "The 15 Irish railway stations named after the executed 1916 leaders". TheJournal.ie. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Annual Report and Financial Statements 2004" (PDF). Iarnród Éireann. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Annual Report and Financial Statements 2006" (PDF). Iarnród Éireann. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Our Companies". Rail Gourmet. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013.
  19. ^ "InterCity". Iarnród Éireann. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Iarnród Éireann Commuter Fleet Information". Iarnród Éireann. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Iarnród Éireann DART Fleet Information". Iarnród Éireann. Archived from the original on 29 September 2018.
  22. ^ a b c Pritchard, Robert (February 2019). "Current and Future Fleet Development on Irish Rail". Today's Railways. Platform 5.