Limerick–Rosslare railway line
The Limerick–Waterford railway line is the only true non-radial (from Dublin) route still open in Ireland that is not a branch line. The route was commenced in 1848 by the Waterford and Limerick Railway and finished in 1854 – one of the oldest routes in Ireland, and the first approved by the British parliament. The company later merged with the GS&WR. The Waterford to Rosslare section remains technically in the ownership of the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours Company, although services are run by Iarnród Éireann. It remains the only mainline track not wholly owned by the State. Iarnród Éireann has a 50% interest in the Company, the other 50% being owned by Stena Line.
Services have remained infrequent for over 100 years. In recent times, this has resulted in few passengers. The advent of more efficient railcar units has lent new hope to the line, which with three journeys in each direction on weekdays, has a greater frequency of service than for much of its history. There is no service on Sundays. The most notable feature on the line is the Cahir Viaduct, which has twice partly collapsed.
On March 12, 2010, it was announced that the Waterford to Rosslare Europort service was to be reviewed by Iarnród Éireann because few passengers were using the service. Ticket revenue accounted for 2% of the operating cost of the line. Around 25 passengers were by then using the service every day, due to poor timetabling. There was only one train each way daily from Monday to Saturday, leaving Rosslare in the early morning and returning from Waterford in the early evening. At the time the trains had very poor connections to other rail services. The rail service did offer a connection into the Stena Line sailing to/from Fishguard Harbour though due to the poor onward connections at Waterford there was minimal usage of this except during the volcanic ash crisis of 2010 which saw standing room only on the train.
The line between Waterford and Rosslare had its last service on 18 September 2010. It was operated by a four-car 2700 railcar set instead of the more regular two-car set. Iarnród Éireann will still have to maintain the line according to the National Transport Authority. Existing Bus Éireann route 370 had its schedule and routeings revised to offer replacement transport to passengers from 20 September. Buses on the route are branded "370 Connect".
- In 1955 an out-of-control train crashed through the buffers at Cahir station's loop, and passed through the bare deck of the viaduct. The driver and fireman were killed.
- In 2003, a cement train derailment occurred. Rough or faulty jointed track is thought to have caused a two-axle cement hopper to "bounce" off the track, with the rear of the train pulling through the deck cross-sections. The locomotive and driver came across safely. Services resumed in 2005 with diesel railcars, although the service was dogged by engineering works necessitating frequent bus replacements of the train services.
- In 2012, a young girl was injured when she was struck by a train near Tipperary Town which was travelling from Limerick Junction to Waterford. The child was taken to hospital and no passengers on board the train were injured
Currently services are usually worked by the IÉ 22000 Class InterCity railcars. Between 2012 and 2013 IÉ 2800 Class railcars were deployed on the line. From 2004 until 2012 most services were worked by the IÉ 2700 Class railcars. Prior to these services were usually worked by 141/181 class locos and Cravens coaches.
- Pictures from last Waterford to Rosslare service 18/09/2010
- South Tipperary line rail & buses website