OVER 70,000 commuters would use the Rosslare-Waterford rail line if the service ran three times a day instead of just once, campaigners have claimed.
With a decision on the future of the line due to be made tomorrow, protesters anxious to keep it open held a last-ditch meeting yesterday, pleading with the authorities not to end the service.
Politicians from across the south-east were among those who joined with the Save the Rail group at Plunkett Station in Waterford to voice their support for retaining the rail link between Rosslare and Waterford – which Iarnród Éireann wants to close.
The rail company has made an application to the National Transport Authority (NTA) to shut the service which, it claims, is losing money and carrying an average of just 25 passengers per journey.
However, the South East Regional Authority – made up of representatives from all local councils in the area – has submitted a business case in favour of keeping the line open.
Save the Rail said that, according to its surveys of the public, over 70,000 people would use the railway if the service was expanded.
At the moment, there is just one journey each way on a daily basis – from Waterford at 7am and returning from Rosslare at 5.20pm.
“Irish Rail claim the line is not viable but reports and studies into the line show it is very viable and badly needed,” Save the Rail chairwoman Tanya Fenelon said yesterday.
They have proposed a Community Rail Partnership system, based on a model already in use in Britain which would see local communities and organisations such as chambers of commerce involved in promoting the rail service.
“We want to let the NTA and Minister Dempsey know there’s a lot of opposition to [the closure],” Ms Fenelon said.
The National Transport Authority has said its board will be meeting tomorrow to consider Iarnród Eireann’s closure application.
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