Limerick–Rosslare railway line

The Limerick–Rosslare Main Line is a railway route in the Republic of Ireland that linked the city of Limerick on the Atlantic coast with Rosslare Europort on the coast of the Irish Sea. It also serves the city of Waterford, and at Limerick Junction it connects with the Dublin–Cork railway line.

Limerick–Rosslare Main Line
Rosslare Europort railway station 1.jpg
2815 at the Rosslare Europort station (not served by the line since 2010)
StatusOperational (between Limerick and Waterford)
OwnerIarnród Éireann
TerminiLimerick Colbert
Waterford Plunkett (2010–present)
Rosslare Europort (1848–2010)
TypeCommuter rail, Inter-city rail
Heavy rail
SystemIarnród Éireann
Operator(s)Iarnród Éireann
Rolling stock2800 Class (Commuter)
22000 Class (InterCity)
Closed2010 (Waterford to Rosslare)
Number of tracksSingle track and Double track with Passing Loops
Track gauge1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge
ElectrificationNot electrified
Route map

Limerick Colbert
Limerick Junction
Fiddown and Portlaw
Waterford West goods yard
Waterford Plunkett
Felthouse Junction
curve closed 1918
Rosslare Line
Rosslare Strand
Rosslare Europort

Since 2010 there has been no service between Waterford and Rosslare Europort, and all trains terminate at Waterford. Rosslare (Europort and Strand) and Wexford have still at least three trains a day to Dublin, and three back (morning, afternoon and evening). The line between Rosslare and Waterford is closed to passenger trains since September 2010,[1] though it is still maintained by Iarnród Éireann.[2]


Construction of the route was begun in 1848 for the Waterford and Limerick Railway and completed in 1854.[3] It is one of the oldest railways in Ireland, and the first to have been authorised by the UK Parliament.[3] The company was renamed the Waterford, Limerick and Western in 1896 and merged with the Great Southern and Western Railway in 1901.[4]

The section between Waterford and Rosslare was completed in 1906[5] and coincided with the construction of Rosslare Harbour. Both Rosslare Europort and this section of rail line remain the property of the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company, which is jointly owned by Iarnród Éireann and Stena Line. It is the only main line railway in the Republic not wholly owned by the State.[6]

The Waterford to Rosslare section includes the Barrow Bridge, the longest rail bridge in the Republic of Ireland. At the time of construction, the line from Waterford diverged at Killinick, allowing for direct Waterford to Wexford trains to bypass Rosslare Strand.[7]

A notable feature on the line is the Cahir Viaduct across the River Suir in County Tipperary. It was built in 1852 and has three iron spans borne on stone abutments.[8] The viaduct partly collapsed in 1955[citation needed] and partly collapsed again in 2003 (see below). Iarnród Éireann renewed the viaduct at a cost of €2.6 million, and the line was reopened in September 2004.[9]

Train services have remained infrequent for more than 100 years. By 2003 the line was carrying fewer than 100 passengers a day.[9] When IÉ reopened the line it introduced new railcars[9] and a service of three journeys in each direction on weekdays, which was a greater service frequency than the line had for much of its history. There is no Sunday service.[10]


Between Limerick and Limerick Junction, trains between Limerick and Dublin Heuston also serve the line.

The speed limit on much of the line is less than 50 mph (80 km/h).[9]

Waterford – Rosslare sectionEdit

The Waterford to Rosslare section was traditionally a busy freight line, transporting 150,000 tonnes of Sugar beet via the handling facility at Wellingtonbridge[11] until the demise of the Sugar Industry in 2006.[12] As a result of this significant freight traffic, passenger services were reduced over the years.

On 12 March 2010 it was announced that Iarnród Éireann would review the service between Waterford and Rosslare Europort because few passengers were using it. Timetabling was poor. There was only one train each way daily from Monday to Saturday, leaving Rosslare early in the morning and returning from Waterford early in the evening.[13]

The trains made very poor connections with other rail services. They connected with the Stena Line ferry service to and from Fishguard Harbour, but due to the poor onward connections at Waterford few passengers used this. The exception was during the volcanic ash crisis of 2010, when trains were fully loaded and had standing room only.[14]

The last train between Waterford and Rosslare ran on 18 September 2010.[15] Iarnród Éireann provided a four-car 2700 class diesel multiple unit for the service, instead of the usual two-car unit. The National Transport Authority requires IÉ to maintain the now-disused line.[16]

Bus Éireann revised the timetable and route of bus service 370 to offer alternative passenger transport from 20 September.[17] Buses on the route are branded "370 Connect".

As of 2020, a campaign exists in the local area to reopen the rail line.[18] In 2021, it was confirmed that the route would be examined for reopening as part of an All-Island Strategic Rail Review.[19]


IE 22000 Class InterCity railcars usually operate services on the line. Between 2012 and 2013 IÉ operated IE 2800 Class railcars on the line. From 2004 until 2012 IE 2700 Class railcars operated most services. Until 2003 IÉ operated most trains with a 141 class or 181 class diesel-electric locomotive hauling Cravens coaches.[citation needed]

Notable incidentsEdit

  • In 1955 an out-of-control train crashed through the buffers in the loop at Cahir and fell through the deck of the viaduct. The driver and fireman were killed.[20]
  • In 2003 a train of 22 cement wagons was derailed on the viaduct. The locomotive and driver safely crossed the bridge, but 13 of the wagons behind the locomotive fell through the deck of the bridge into the river.[21] The Department of Transport's Interim Railway Safety Commission investigated the accident and found that timber supporting the rails was rotten, which may have allowed the rails to spread and the wagons to fall between the rails.[8]

Services resumed in September 2004 with diesel railcars, but further engineering works dogged services, requiring frequent bus replacements of the train services.[citation needed]

  • In 2012 a young girl was hit and injured by a train near Tipperary Town which was travelling from Limerick Junction to Waterford. She was taken to hospital. No-one aboard the train was injured.[22]


  1. ^ Parsons, Michael. "Rosslare-Waterford rail service to end". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  2. ^ Irish Rail's MPV No. 790, on the disused South Wexford line for the first time - 21/08/2019, archived from the original on 15 December 2021, retrieved 20 April 2021
  3. ^ a b Casserley, H.C. (1974). Outline of Irish Railway History. David & Charles, Newton Abbot London. pp. 78–85.
  4. ^ Murray 1976, p. 107.
  5. ^ Parsons, Michael. "Plan to close Rosslare-Waterford railway labelled 'reckless foolishness'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company 3 1/2% GTD PRF STK (LSE:72GU) Share Price". Interactive Investor.
  7. ^ "Killinick Station". Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  8. ^ a b Redfern, Bernadette (23 October 2003). "Irish rail bridge collapse triggers network-wide inspections". New Civil Engineer. Metropolis. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Ashmore, Chris (23 September 2004). "Waterford to Limerick Junction rail link restored". The Irish Times. Dublin: Irish Times Trust. ISSN 0791-5144. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Heuston-timetable: Waterford/Clonmel/Limerick" (PDF). Iarnród Éireann. 2021.
  11. ^ "Wexford farmers face increased haulage costs". independent. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  12. ^ Griffin, Dan. "Efforts under way to revive sugar industry". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  13. ^ Parsons, Michael. "Rosslare-Waterford rail service to end". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  14. ^ " - Your favorite newspapers and magazines". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  15. ^ "'". Iarnród Éireann. Archived from the original on 28 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Evaluation of Irish Rail Proposal to Suspend Passenger Services on RosslareWaterford Line" (PDF). National Transport Authority. August 2010.
  17. ^ "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)
  18. ^ "It's 'now or never' for Wexford to Waterford rail line". Wexford People. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Waterford-Wexford line confirmed for all-island Strategic Rail Review". Waterford News and Star. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  20. ^ MacAongusa, p 180.
  21. ^ Hogan, Treacy; Murphy, Sarah (8 October 2003). "Train plunges into river as bridge collapses". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Young girl injured after being struck by train". RTÉ. 13 March 2012.


  • Murray, KA (1976). Great Southern And Western Railway. Billericay: Irish Railway Record Society (London Area). ISBN 0904078051.

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit