Rail Transport in Ireland - Ireland Freight - I

Rail Transport in Ireland - I

Ireland Freight

The Following Freight Services Operate in Ireland :

  • Timber trains from Ballina to Waterford Port (Belview).
  • Timber trains from Westport to Waterford Port (Belview).
  • Zinc ore from Tara Mines, Navan - Dublin Port (North Wall).
  • International Warehousing and Transport chartered Liner from Ballina - Dublin Port (North Wall) (Started September 2009).

Rail freight in Ireland declined in the early 21st century, and IÉ closed its container rail freight business in July 2005, saying that the sector had accounted for 10% of its freight business, but 70% of its losses. Container freight levels had dropped to 35 containers on three trains per day.

Yet Iarnród Éireann estimated that a minimum of eighteen 40-foot containers was needed for a commercially viable trainload. The impact of this will be about forty more lorries a day, described by Iarnród Éireann as a 'drop in the ocean' when compared to the 10,000 lorries entering Dublin Port every day.

Freight services no longer running include ammonia trains (from Shelton Abbey, Wicklow-Cork due to the closure of a fertiliser plant), nationwide bagged cement and beer keg freight, gypsum loads (Kingscourt-Dublin), and bulk cement (from cement factories at Platin near Drogheda and Castlemungret near Limerick to silos at Sligo, Athenry, Cabra, Cork, Waterford, Tullamore and Belfast).

Other losses included services carrying fertilisers, grain, tar, scrap metal, molasses and coal. The last bulk cement flow to operate in Ireland (Castlemungret - Waterford) ended in December 2009 along with the Kilmastulla Quarry - Castlemungret Shale traffic, despite making profits in the region of €1.3 million in 2006.

Remaining freight traffic is supported by an agreement with Coillte to increase timber trains from Ballina to Belview from three to four weekly. This may reflect the failure of the railway to dispose of its surplus Class 201 locomotives made surplus by the retirement of the Mark 3 coach fleet.

Bord na Móna operates an extensive 1,930 km (1,199 mi) narrow-gauge railway. This is one of the largest industrial rail networks in Europe and is completely separate from Ireland's passenger rail system operated by Iarnród Éireann. It is used to transport peat from harvesting plots to processing plants and power stations of the Electricity Supply Board.

Rail Transport in Ireland Operation

Ireland Major Operators: Iarnród Éireann & NIR
Ireland Ridership: 50 million (Republic of Ireland, 2019)
15 million (Northern Ireland, 2017)

Ireland System Length:
Ireland Total: 2,733 km (1,698 mi)
Ireland Electrified: 53 km (33 mi)
Ireland Freight Only: 362 km (225 mi)
Ireland Track Gauge:
Ireland Main: 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)
Ireland Electrification:
1500 V DC   DART in Dublin

Ireland No. Stations: 147


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