Here’s another Fine Gael TD spouting nonsense. Seán Kyne is a TD for Galway West and Mayo South, and he wants the taxpayer to build him a train set.
He favours what is called the Western Rail Corridor, a mad scheme to reopen yet more uneconomic railway track to places that have neither passengers nor cargo to justify the expense. The nutters have already had a service provided from Limerick to Galway, running pretty well alongside the new motorway. Kyne says
With over 380,000 annual passenger journeys the service has far exceeded initial estimates on which the original business case was based.
A business case is, as far as I can see, a way of whiting a sepulchre: coming up with some excuse for spending public money of a boondoggle that would be exposed as such were a proper cost-benefit analysis conducted instead. What Kyne doesn’t tell us is whether the service makes or loses money (and if you can find that information in any of the publications on the websites of CIE or Iarnród Éireann, I’d be glad if you’d let me know) or why the state should provide both buses and railways on the same route.
But Limerick to Galway isn’t mad enough: he wants the ghastly thing extended to Tuam and Sligo, because that would provide “greater transport connectivity in the West”, whatever that means. Is there anything that rail could do that roads could not? Kyne doesn’t say; nor does he identify any traffic that requires rail. He says
I also believe that the way to enhance infrastructure in the West of Ireland is not by developing one [road] at the expense of another [rail].
What Kyne wants instead is that both be developed, and run, at the expense of the taxpayer, when only one of them is needed. Ireland needs to start closing down more railway lines, not opening them up.