A little bit of history was made along the Nenagh to Ballybrophy railway line on Sunday when the first Iarnrod Eireann All-Ireland match special pulled out of the station.
It was the first time in over 25 years that Tipperary fans had a chance to get to Croke Park using their loca rail line. Up to 180 fans travelled in style from Birdhill, Nenagh and Roscrea to Heuston station on one of Iarnrod Eireann’s intercity trains.
Nenagh Mayor Cllr Virginia O’Dowd said that the special train was a “huge success”.
“There was a great buzz at every station along the line, and I would like to thank Iarnrod Eireann for putting on the service. I also want to thank all the staff for making sure everything went smoothly, especially Mike O’Regan at Nenagh, who dealt with such a large number of fans in such an efficient and pleasant manner,” she said.
She also thanked her Labour colleague, Junior Minister for Public Transport Alan Kelly, for working with Iarnrod Eireann and securing the train to the match. Deputy Kelly travelled on the train and Cllr O’Dowd said that it was “great to see him on board”.
“While it is a pity that we did not bring back the cup, I want to thank the fans who availed of the train. Their numbers made sure it was a success and hopefully it can be repeated for other major sporting events in Dublin and in Limerick,” said Cllr O’Dowd. “The fans made sure the atmosphere was fantastic on the way up, and even though Tipp lost, there was still a great buzz coming home.”
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Cllr O’Dowd, who is chair of Nenagh Rail Partnership, added: “I would encourage as many people as possible to use the train service we have. If we don’t use it, we stand to lose it,” she said.
In relation to developing more frequent services on the line, she said that one of the lessons learned was that intercity trains can use the line, and some of the mainline Limerick-Dublin trains could be routed directly on to the mainline at Ballybrophy without the need to change trains.
“People generally make the point that while speed is a drawback, they would like to see more frequent services on the Ballybrophy line to give them a better choice of train times,” she said.
Meanwhule, Junir Minsiter for Transport Alan Kelly, who had been instrumental in getting the servce, said that he was delighted with the success of the train.
“It was a good experience and I look forward to having many more special on the line,” he said.
Deputy Kelly told the Tipperary Star that he was “happy with the level of support” for the service and that everybody on the train had had an enoyable day out.