Originally Posted by London Correspondent
The whole MGWR route to Galway was originally built double track so the section from Athlone Midland station to Galway should be doubled with relative ease. The trickier part is the section from Portarlington to Athlone, which was built as single track albeit with passing places. Perhaps extending the passing loops where practical would make a big difference. As to electrification - there should not be a debate on whether or not to do this. It really should be a matter of when.
To really make a difference, albeit at significant cost, would the mothballed Mullingar to Athlone section be worth reinstating? It is a shorter route direct to Dublin. There is provision for double track however the greenway would need to be rerouted. Also as there is quite a bottleneck coming into Connolly is it worth considering building a spur from Maynooth or Leixlip to Hazlehatch to reconnect with the mainline into Heuston as was suggested here some years back?
1. Athlone Midland to Galway is a section - from memory of 86 Kilometers. Doubling and Electrifying that - your not going to get much change from 300 Million Euro.
2. Portarlington to Athlone - doubling that oddly enough will be relatively easy because the countryside is flat, flat and bland. Its pure boring open country.
3. Rebuilding Mullingar to Athlone. I'm afraid that horse has bolted, although its not a bad idea as a single track relief line. But despite it being shorter, its a twisty alignment along the Canal. The stretch from Athlone to Heuston is a racetrack by comparison with 160kph capability, and in time, in the future, 200kph from Portarlington to Heuston.