InterCity (Iarnród Éireann)

InterCity (Iarnród Éireann)

InterCity is the brand name given to rail services operated by Iarnród Éireann that run between Dublin and other major cities in the Republic of Ireland.


InterCity services from Dublin operate from two main stations:

*Dublin Heuston - Heuston station is the terminus for services to the south and west of Ireland. Services from Heuston go to Cork, Galway, Waterford, Tralee and Limerick.
*Dublin Connolly - Connolly station is the terminus for services to the north and north-west of Ireland. Services from Connolly go to Sligo and Rosslare Europort. Dublin Connolly is also the terminus of the Dublin to Belfast main line, with services to Belfast Central provided by Enterprise.

Although Dublin is the hub of InterCity services, there are also a number of routes branded as InterCity that do not call at Dublin:

Rolling stock

InterCity services are operated using a mixture of locomotive pulled coaching stock and DMUs. In 2006, deliveries began of 67 new Mark 4 coaches specifically for InterCity use in an order costing approximately €117 million. These are formed into 8 carriage trains, pulled by a 201 Class locomotive, and operate an hourly service between Cork and Dublin. The entry into service of the Mark 4 stock allowed the Mark 3 coaching stock to be cascaded to other routes, allowing in turn the withdrawal of the elderly "Cravens" and Mark 2 coaches. In 2007, the first of a planned 183 coaches of the new 22000 Class Diesel Multiple Unit were delivered, of which 150 vehicles will be for InterCity, totalling approximately €400 million. These new trains, which will be in either three or six car formations, will replace the Mark 3 coaches currently in use on the routes between Dublin and Limerick, Galway and Waterford and the 2800 Class and 2900 Class DMUs on the Dublin to Sligo and Dublin to Rosslare services, and on the services that do not terminate in Dublin. The DMU rolling stock will then be transferred to the expanded Commuter services over the next few years. The first 22000 Class train entered service on December 18 2007 on the service to Sligo. [ [ RTE News: First new trains on Dublin-Sligo route] ] It is planned that eventually all InterCity routes with the exception of Dublin-Cork will be operated by DMUs.


Western Rail corridor

The Transport 21 project will see several hundred million euro invested by the Irish Government in improving the railway network. This will see connection of some of the radial lines out of Dublin, which will enable inter-regional services to be operated without travelling through the capital. A major part of this will be the reinstatement of the Western Rail Corridor between Ennis and Claremorris, a route totalling 110km/68.5 miles; Phase 1 of this will reopen in three stages:
*Stage 1 - Ennis to Athenry - this will link Limerick and Galway, and will see a limited Commuter service start in 2009 using 2700 Class railcars.
*Stage 2 - Athenry to Tuam - this is due to open in around 2011 and will reinstate the rail network to the town of Tuam.
*Stage 3 - Tuam to Claremorris - this is due to be completed in 2014.

Once Stage 3 is completed, the Westport, Galway and Limerick lines from Dublin will be connected, allowing regional InterCity services to be run between these destinations without having to travel via Dublin. Stage 1 of the project began on November 16 2007, with the start of track laying between Ennis and Athenry, a distance of approximately 60km/36 miles. [ [ Laying of new track begins for Western Rail Corridor] ]

Phase 2 of the WRC project is projected to see the reinstatement of the line between Claremorris and Collooney via Knock Airport, a route totalling 74km/46 miles, which will connect the Sligo line to WRC. In addition to allowing travel to Sligo, this will have the added benefit of installing a rail link to Knock Airport, which is currently served by only by buses. Phase 2 is however not included in the Transport 21 plan and has not received any official confirmation. The total cost of the work required to implement Phase 1 and Phase 2 has been estimated at approximately €365 million. In addition, the cost of the new rolling stock ordered (Mark 4 coaches and 22000 Class DMUs) is over €500 million.


Iarnród Éireann also maintain an ambition to increase speeds on the Dublin-Cork line. The new Mark 4 coaches are capable of up to 125mph, but are limited to 100mph, which is the maximum speed of the 201 Class locomotives. In order to achieve the desired higher speed, the infrastructure of the line would have to be upgraded, while the coaching stock would be converted to DMU stock with a pair of power cars rather than a locomotive and DVT. [ [ Iarnród Éireann webchat by Dick Fearn and Tom Finn] ]

Dublin Congestion

IÉ's ambitions to increase both service speed and service frequency is limited by capacity issues at Dublin Connolly. The loopline that links Connolly with Dublin Pearse is a two track route that is currently operating at the limit of its capacity, while Connolly is also utilised as the terminus for a number of InterCity and Commuter services. The new Docklands station was built as a means to ease the congestion at Connolly by providing an alternate terminus for Commuter services to Meath. IÉ's significant plan initially involved the rebuilding of Dublin Broadstone to serve as a terminus for Commuter services to the west of the capital. However, in March 2008, the Government decided that the trackbed leading from Liffey Junction would be used for an extension to the Luas rather than for heavy rail. To compensate, the transport minister announced that CIÉ would be permitted to obtain planning permission to keep Docklands open permanently as the terminus for Maynooth, Kildare and Navan services. [ [ Dempsey derails ambitious CIÉ plan and opts for new Luas line] Irish Times, 06/02/08] The construction of the Interconnector will enable DART services to be spread over two lines, rather than all of them being routed through Connolly. This will then free up slots at Connolly to allow improvements in the services provided by both InterCity and Enterprise.


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