Article on the front page of the Tuam Herald this week, abridged version is here: http://www.tuamherald.ie/2012/02/15/tuam-group-says-disused-railway-could-become-greenway/
In the full article, a group of like-minded local enthusiasts have proposed converting the section between Tuam and Kilbannon Round Tower to a Greenway taking in local ecclesiastical and historical sites, including nature walks over 2 local rivers, promoting facilities for walking, running and cycling clubs, providing access to areas of botanical interest and pedestrian and bike access to local employers along the route.
Quote from the article: "The Tuam Greenway Project are not opposed to the completion of the Western Rail Corridor if funding becomes available and in fact have highlighted the benefit of protecting the 'right-of-way' afforded by developing a Greenway on the route".
In response, an 'anonymous' spokesman for West-on-Track does not agree "This idea is nothing more than short-term opportunism and extreme shortsightedness to say the least." He goes on to mention extending the WRC on to Claremorris and beyond, linking up with Knock Airport, yada, yada, yada.
"Shortsightedness" - talk about the pot calling the kettle black .
I see this as a very promising development for north Co. Galway. Nine individuals are not afraid to be named as committee members on the Greenway group in the article. I have walked along sections of the old rail track mentioned and it is truly a great pity that the possibility of a Tuam Greenway has been overlooked so far. I drive north along the N17 from Tuam every single day and I cross the old rail line in a few places, it is becoming very decrepit and overgrown in spots at this stage.
West-on-Track are very wary of the 'threat', the last quote in the article is "Proposing a greenway would jeopardise the whole concept of the western rail corridor and a North-South rail link".
I think the fact that the whole country is in hock up to it's eyeballs jeopardises WOT a great deal more.
Maybe this time local people-power might just make a difference.
I was curious about where the Kilbannon round tower is so I looked it up on google maps and spotted:
A woman walking her dog on the line
The tower is to the right.
oh for a handheld air horn :-)
While I think there may be some point in keeping the Tuam-Athenry section for potential rail use, I do not see how they see north of that as viable. They damage their cause when they suggest it is.
This is brilliant news to read and has nothing to do with the sligomayo greenway campaign. But it shows the idea is gathering pace.
No doubt many of you read the piece in the Irish Times as well last Saturday:
the best quote from this article which was about the Great Western Greenway was:
As I have always said in terms of the economy for the west its a no brainer.
we are now playing catch up with the rest of europe as far as greenways are concerned....The tourists will return to ireland if given the right reasons...
they want to walk/cycle in the day time and dine at night....
comely maidens dancing at the crossroads and people on donkey carts as a perspective of ireland no longer cuts the mustard...
we must get with the programme/wise up and get real
if we are to compete again on the world tourism stage....
ITS A CASE OF GREENWAYS OR NOOOOOOOOO WAY.........
Bóithre Iarainn (OS)
The Western Rail Corridor: The re-opening of the line from Limerick to Galway in 2010 was seen as a triumph by campaigners for the Western Rail Corridor, but this same line once stretched North West all the way to Collooney in Sligo and was the setting for much drama both in real-life as in art- including the filming of the Quiet Man train scene near Tuam.
Watched that last night, the priest and the other guy who are part of the 'West on Track' lobby were shamelessly plugging for the northern section of the line to be reopened, clearly they are still living in cloud cuckoo land.
The original campaign involved a 'survey' which asked people if they would use the line if it was reopened, thousands said they would but the reality as shown on a recent Prime Time program was different. The trains on the southern section of the line which opened a couple of years ago were mainly empty except for groups of pensioners on a day out thanks to the free travel, hardly any commuters use the service. Criminal waste of money.
what came over quite clearly to me was the desire to invest the west with this infrastructure for no better reason than they used to have it.
It's obvious to me that Infrastructure in the form of an M17 (or high quality dual carriageway) would benefit the West far more and that the €106 million wasted on this line would have built some bit of it.
They couldn't find enough passengers for it in the Old Days when noone had a car, how do they expect to do so now? The line was more or less keep going by the cattle trade, eventually outletting via the SLNCR and the ferry from Belfast to the UK. That trade simply does not exist anymore.
We know they are living in cloud cuckoo land about the northern section of the line and there continued arguing the case on a minority TV programme will hardly change public policy. Did they mention the McCann repor of 2005 per chance? The report used as the basis for the re-opening of the line: Lets just revisit what the report had to say about he infamours northern branch line from Claremorris to Collooney:
So there we go - even a report that was wildly optimistic about the WRC more or less said forget it boys when it comes to north of Claremorris. The last two bits are laughable when you see the encroachment that has been allowed on the line and how Sligo Coco at the northern end have allowed people to absorb the WRC into their front drives and gardens. As for reviewing the viability in 2008 (Mc Cann was written in 2005), well as they say we are where we are and we certainly are in the Sh*t now. So it would appear the whole thing is still being long fingered endlessly and we continue to ignore the simple opportunity to create a wonderful leisure and tourist amenity. West on Track aren't in cloud cuckoo land they are on a different planet!!
is the link to the TG4 player - we should all watch it - it takes about 25 minutes its actually very interesting - and had nothing to do with any facile arguments that exist to re-open the line.
The sad thing is there really are some great stories that are worth recording and could become part of the whole marketing mix in making the greenway along this line really interesting - incorporate all its railway heritage with a superb new way of using the line for todays tourism industry. This really is a great programme - and could be used as part of the Western Rail Corridor museum somewhere along the line. This is the lack of vision that West on Track have. Accepting the reality that we actually don't live in an age in which Lady Gregory taking a trip on the Burma Road rail line is an important social event, that the west of ireland has changed along with the rest of the world, and in this most car dependent part of western europe that re-opening a branch line from Athenry to Claremorris is goign to make not one jot of difference to the economy of the west of Ireland.
The second half of the programme is where the hilarity starts with stories of cattle trains and sugar beet trains and thousands going to GAA mathes on a Sunday on the trains - the only thing missing is the reference to comely maidens. The godfather comes on and talks about the railway track not been taken up over his dead body. But fails to mention the front gardens and bungalows built on the track, the garage forecourts on the track the line running through back gardens etc etc . The usual the west demands it and will rise and fight if we don't get it occurs. This is a must watch programme just to realise the mindset that exists out there!!! and how the failure to see the reality of the world we live in. It's kind of worrying to think the mindset still exists that the west of ireland is still emerging from the famine.
I just watched the clip of the TG4 programme; it's depressing that this elderly cleric, driven by a philosophy rooted in a throwaway remark by Boxcar Willie, is managing to block development in the west and drive jobs away to other regons.
There is a proposal being promoted by a group of concerned people to link Dublin port and airport to Achill and Tralee with cycle/walking trails using the canal towpaths and old railways. In North Kerry, they are embracing this proposal and have started to turn the old railway line from Limerick to Tralee into a greenway. The sitaution vis-a-vis Dublin Achill is similar; they need to use a section of the old line from Charlestown to Kiltimagh to connect the route but this ancient cleric and his hillbilly cohorts are blocking it. Nett result: Kerry and the southwest gets the tourism business, and the west gets the yahoos and naysayers. If they don't fight for tourism projects in the west they won't have population enough to sustain a bus service, let alone this mythical train.
The curse of the clergy extends deep in Irish society. There is no more potent blocker of progress than an ego-driven priest who sees himself as the next Canon Horan. RIP Mayo!
You're so right of course. Perhaps we should close the Dublin/Tralee line and make that into a Greenway too.
JD this doesn't become you! You know full well that nobody is proposing closing a line to make it a greenway - in fact EastWest is proposing like I have for years on this thread and its predecessor to make good use of a long closed down line that we all know is not viable to open - and that making the line greenway will in fact protect the alignment in the long term against further encroachment. People are beginning to wake up to the greenway arguments on the claremorris/collooney line and the fact a local group in Tuam is now actively campaigning to greenway the burma road really says it all; they are campaigning for a greenway on the holy grail of a line to Claremorris (the clapham junction of the west) you know JD I am sure of this, that the WOT arguments have long disappeared down the plughole and the opinions of an ocotgenerian priest is not what Irelands future tourism industry is about. He would have us going back to the days fo the dining car heading for Knock shrine and priests saying mass on the train over the tannoys - what was that train radio all about in that TG4 programme - straight from the Python school of comedy. Do you think a train service running along this route will bring one more tired hungry tourist to Kiltimagh, Curry, Charlestown, Tubercurry - not to mention south of Claremorris to Tuam? Not one, JD Ok sorry apart from the notebook carrying anorak from the UK for the annual special steam train run. This the crux of the matter - the WOT spokesperson on that programme could only talk about trains trundling through Claremorris when he was a boy, the penny dropped when he did this - it really is all about the trainspotting fraternity. Sure I can remember big Steam engines in Snowhill Station in Birmingham as a child - a very distant memory - it was the end of the "golden age" of steam and rail travel in the UK. JD we simply have to move on - and people like Varadkar, Michael Ring and all the county councils have to grab the nettle of what is being said. otherwise as East West quite rightly points out we are throwing away a golden opportunity to build on the massive success the great western greenway has presented to the counties of Sligo, Mayo and Galway (and indeed Leitrim and donegal if the network can be expanded in that direction). People like me and EastWest are talking about real feasible projects to inject pride, jobs and money into the west of Ireland tourism industry. West on Track are trying to block us all the way. But we won't give up!!!!
The limerick Tralee line is already being turned into a greenway. It will eventually link tralee to dublin using the grand canal towpath. A related proposal to connect dublin to Achill using the royal canal and a disused rail line in mayo is being blocked by the pro rail lobby. Clearly, mayo doesn't want the tourists but Kerry does.