The biggest reclamation project in the history of the Claremorris to Collooney railway line is currently under way.
Massive clearance work involving the removal of dense growth which had obscured the tracks along many stretches of the railway is shedding new light on the old line for the first time in over three decades.
The object of the venture is to reclaim the line which had been swamped by nature’s advances, secure the State property and restore it to to a point where old line replacement could proceed if the go ahead is given by the Government.
Iarnród Éireann has employed contractors who have been making major progress clearing the line. This involves clearing either side of the tracks for a major fencing programme. Five contracts, each covering nine miles stretches, have been awarded in the current phase of operations.
Level crossings gates will be fully restored and the mile posts will be put in place while bridges will be cleaned and some essential drainage work will also be carried out. This phase of the project should be completed before Christmas. The fencing off of the line and property will comprise stage two of the project.
Colman Ó Raghallaigh from Claremorris, is a leading member of the West on Track group, who have been fighting for the full restoration of the Western Rail Corridor, says the Government should bring forward the review of the northern section which links Claremorris to Collooney and Sligo.
“We are very happy that the work has begun on Ennis to Athenry and will then proceed to Tuam. We believe they should bring it all the way to Claremorris and are campaigning strongly on that issue. We are confident that the line linking Claremorris-Galway and Claremorris-Limerick could be in place within three years.
“We are especially pleased to see the reclamation work going ahead on the Claremorris to Collooney line. It is very important that this stretch of line be preserved and made ready for full restoration.” said Mr Ó Raghallaigh.