Limerick–Ballybrophy railway line
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The Limerick-Ballybrophy line is a short (c. 91.5 km) railway line connecting Limerick with Ballybrophy Railway Station in County Laois. The line diverges from the Limerick to Limerick Junction railway line at Killonan and continues in a north east direction with five intermediate stops at Castleconnell, Birdhill, Nenagh, Cloughjordan and Roscrea. The line ends at Ballybrophy where it joins the Dublin-Cork Main Line. Services are infrequent, with only two trains per weekday in each direction from Ballybrophy to Limerick. In addition, there is a commuter service, forming part of the Limerick Suburban Rail network, which has one train running from Nenagh to Limerick. This commuter train runs Mondays to Fridays inclusive. On Sundays there is one train in each direction, Limerick-Ballybrophy. Services on the line are formed of IE 2800 Class (diesel) railcars.
Despite such a poor service, it is an improvement over the past. A local rail users group lobbied Irish Rail to improve the timetable to suit commuters, which they duly did, to a limited extent. The service is mostly patronised by passengers who connect into morning Limerick to Heuston Station trains and evening trains in the opposite direction, at Ballybrophy Station.
The railway line is also plagued by speed restrictions particularly close to Limerick city. Although the line offers a geographically shorter and more direct route between Limerick and Dublin, it takes almost an hour longer than travelling from Limerick to Dublin via Limerick Junction. Also, the train is slower than travelling by car between Nenagh and Limerick. The railway line also does not serve major employment and educational facilities in Limerick such as the National Technology Park and the University of Limerick which are located near the line.
A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Irish Rail was expected to seek permission from the National Transport Authority to close the line. On a trial basis an enhanced timetable was in force during 2012 however the service was again reduced from February 2013. In November 2016 it was announced the line was still at a high risk of closure possibly by 2018 to save money.
- Limerick-Ballybrophy timetable
- "Breakthrough for rail group - Nenagh Guardian, 01/10/05