Iarnród Éireann

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Iarnród Éireann – Irish Rail
Industry Rail transport
Predecessor CIÉ Railways Division (1945–1987)
Founded2 February 1987
Connolly Station, Dublin 1, D01 V6V6
Area served
Key people
Jim Meade (Chief Executive)
Frank Allen (Chairman)
Ciaran Jenkinson (Social Media)
RevenueIncrease2.svg 280.9 million (2018) [1]
Increase2.svg €496.7 million (2018) [1]
Increase2.svg - €1.1 million (2018) [1]
Owner Government of Ireland (100%)
Number of employees
3,803 (2018)
Parent Córas Iompair Éireann
Subsidiaries InterCity
Iarnród Éireann Freight
Website www.irishrail.ie
A 29000 Class Commuter train at Tara Street Station, Dublin, in 2006. The LED display is showing "Destination: Pearse Station" in Irish. IE commuter train.jpg
A 29000 Class Commuter train at Tara Street Station, Dublin, in 2006. The LED display is showing "Destination: Pearse Station" in Irish.
A Mark 4 carriage on the Dublin-Cork railway line IE MK4.JPG
A Mark 4 carriage on the Dublin–Cork railway line
The original four rails logo 1987-1994 Iarnrod Eireann - Irish Rail.png
The original four rails logo 1987-1994

Iarnród Éireann (Irish pronunciation:  [ˈiəɾˠnˠɾˠoːdˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] ), also known as Irish Rail in English, is the operator of the national railway network of Ireland. Established on 2 February 1987, it is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ). It operates all internal InterCity, Commuter, DART and freight railway services in the Republic of Ireland, and, jointly with Northern Ireland Railways, the Enterprise service between Dublin and Belfast. In 2019, IÉ carried 50 million passengers, up from 48 million in 2018, and a record peak. [2]


An IE 22000 Class DMU (22054) at Drogheda MacBride Drogheda 1.jpg
An IÉ 22000 Class DMU (22054) at Drogheda MacBride

Until 2013 Ireland was the only European Union state that had not implemented EU Directive 91/440 and related legislation, having derogated its obligation to split train operations and infrastructure businesses, and allow open access by private companies to the rail network. A consultation on the restructuring of Iarnród Éireann took place in 2012. The derogation ended on 14 March 2013 when the company was split in 2 sectors: Railway Undertaking and Infrastructure Manager. [3]


At the time of its establishment, the company referred to itself as Irish Rail and adopted the four rails IR logo. In 1994, the company brought the Irish form of its name to the fore, introducing a logo and corporate branding based on the letters (Iarnród_Éireann) corporate branding and logo. However, both languages remained part of the official company name ("Iarnród Éireann – Irish Rail"). In 2013, new bilingual branding was introduced. [4]

Operationally, services are divided across four regional areas:


Passenger services

IÉ's passenger services are branded under three main names; InterCity , Commuter and DART .


Train passing through the Curragh in County Kildare Curragh - geograph.org.uk - 334750.jpg
Train passing through the Curragh in County Kildare

InterCity services are long-distance routes radiating mainly from Dublin. The Belfast – Dublin service, jointly operated with Northern Ireland Railways, is branded separately as Enterprise . Dublin's two main InterCity stations are Connolly and Heuston. Intercity services run to/from Cork, Limerick, Tralee, Ennis, Galway, Waterford, Rosslare Europort, Sligo, Westport, Wexford and Ballina. Dublin's third major station, Pearse, is the terminus for much of the suburban network in the Greater Dublin area. An additional InterCity service runs from Limerick to Waterford. This service formerly operated through to Rosslare Europort but services between Waterford and Rosslare Europort ceased after the last train on 18 September 2010. Bus Éireann now operates route 370 through the affected towns as replacement transport. [5]

A new service began on 31 March 2010 from Limerick to Galway, as part of the Western Rail Corridor, reopening the long-closed line.

A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Iarnród Éireann was expected to seek permission in the near future from the National Transport Authority to close the Limerick–Ballybrophy railway line and the Limerick–Waterford line. [6]


A 29000 Class South-Eastern Commuter train approaching Bray DART train approaching Bray from Bray Head Wicklow Ireland 2010.jpg
A 29000 Class South-Eastern Commuter train approaching Bray

The majority of Commuter services are based in Dublin, which has four commuter routes: Northern (Dundalk), Western (Maynooth/Longford), South-Western (Newbridge/Kildare/Portlaoise) and South-Eastern (Gorey). See Dublin Suburban Rail for more details. The Cork Suburban Rail currently has three Commuter services: to Mallow and Cobh, and a third service to Midleton which became operational on a part of the disused Youghal branch line on 30 July 2009. Limerick Suburban Rail currently consists of two lines to Ennis and Nenagh, with shuttle services to Limerick Junction. A Commuter service operates between Galway to Oranmore and Athenry.

Commuter trains also operate on shuttle duty for branches from the main InterCity services from Mallow to Tralee (off the Dublin – Cork route) and from Manulla Junction to Ballina (off the Dublin – Westport route), as well as acting as InterCity trains for Dublin – Rosslare and some Dublin – Sligo services, and as the aforementioned Limerick – Limerick Junction – Waterford service.


A DART 8500 Class in Greystones A DART train in Greystones, County Wicklow - geograph.org.uk - 1811056.jpg
A DART 8500 Class in Greystones
Interior of the DART 8520 Class DART train interior.jpg
Interior of the DART 8520 Class

The North-South route along Dublin's eastern coastal side is also host to DART, Ireland's only electrified heavy-rail service. The DART consists of many classes, the oldest and most famous one being the 8100 class which still operates, now extensively refurbished.

A DART 8520 Class arriving at Connolly Station DART Connolly.jpg
A DART 8520 Class arriving at Connolly Station

Services Table

The following is a simplified table of weekday off-peak services, various irregular calling patterns have been omitted for clarity.

RouteFrequencyCalling at
Enterprise Dublin Connolly to Belfast Lanyon Place 1tp2h Drogheda MacBride, Dundalk Clarke, Newry, Portadown, Lurgan (1tpd), Lisburn (1tpd)
service jointly-operated with NI Railways
Sligo IntercityDublin Connolly to Sligo Mac Diarmada 1tp2h Drumcondra, Maynooth, Kilcock, Enfield, Mullingar, Edgeworthstown, Longford, Dromod, Carrick-on-Shannon, Boyle, Ballymote, Collooney
Mayo Intercity Dublin Heuston to Westport 4tpd Kildare (1tpd), Portarlington, Tullamore, Athlone, Roscommon, Castlerea, Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Manulla Junction, Castlebar
Manulla Junction to Ballina 1tp2h Foxford
Galway IntercityDublin Heuston to Galway Ceannt 1tp2hPortarlington, Tullamore, Clara, Athlone, Ballinasloe, Woodlawn, Attymon (1tpd), Athenry, Oranmore
Limerick IntercityDublin Heuston to Limerick Colbert 1tph Portlaoise, Ballybrophy (1tpd), Templemore (2tpd), Thurles, Limerick Junction
2tpdPortlaoise, Ballybrophy, Roscrea, Cloughjordan, Nenagh, Birdhill, Castleconnell
Cork IntercityDublin Heuston to Cork Kent 1tphNewbridge (1tpd), Kildare (2tpd), Portarlington (2tpd) Portlaoise, Ballybrophy (2tpd) Templemore (1tpd), Thurles, Limerick Junction, Charleville (1tpd), Mallow
Tralee IntercityMallow to Tralee 1tp2h Banteer, Millstreet, Rathmore, Killarney, Farranfore
Waterford IntercityDublin Heuston to Waterford Plunkett 8tpd Hazelhatch and Celbridge (1tpd), Sallins and Naas (1tpd), Newbridge (3tpd), Kildare (7tpd), Athy, Carlow, Muine Bheag, Kilkenny, Thomastown
Wexford IntercityDublin Connolly to Gorey 5tpd Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock (2tpd northbound-only), Lansdowne Road (2tpd northbound-only), Blackrock (2tpd northbound-only), Dun Laoghaire Mallin, Bray Daly, Greystones, Kilcoole (2tpd northbound, 3tpd southbound), Wicklow, Rathdrum, Arklow
4tpd extend to/from Rosslare Europort, calling at Enniscorthy, Wexford and Rosslare Strand. Additional 1tpd southbound-only to Wexford.
Waterford - LimerickWaterford Plunkett to Limerick Junction2tpd Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Cahir, Tipperary
Limerick - GalwayLimerick Colbert to Ennis 4tpd Sixmilebridge
Limerick Colbert to Galway Ceannt5tpdSixmilebridge, Ennis, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell, Athenry, Oranmore
Athenry to Galway Ceannt2tpdOranmore
Northern CommuterDublin Connolly to Drogheda MacBride / Dundalk Clarke1tph Howth Junction and Donaghmede (1tpd), Clongriffin (1tpd), Portmarnock (2tpd), Malahide, Donabate, Rush & Lusk, Skerries, Balbriggan, Gormanston, Laytown
some peak trains run to/from Dundalk Clarke, Dublin Pearse, Bray Daly, Gorey, Rosslare Harbour or Newry
South Eastern CommuterDublin Connolly to Gorey1tpdTara Street, Dublin Pearse, Lansdowne Road, Sydney Parade, Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire Mallin, Bray Daly, Greystones, Kilcoole (2tpd northbound, 3tpd southbound), Wicklow, Rathdrum and Arklow
South Western CommuterGrand Canal Dock to Hazelhatch and Celbridge1tphDublin Pearse, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly, Drumcondra, Park West and Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin/Fonthill and Adamstown
Dublin Heuston to Portlaoise1tphPark West and Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin/Fonthill, Adamstown, Hazelhatch and Celbridge, Sallins and Naas, Newbridge, Kildare, Monasterevin and Portarlington
Western CommuterDublin Connolly to Maynooth2tphDrumcondra, Broombridge, Ashtown, Navan Road Parkway, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Leixlip Confey and Leixlip Louisa Bridge
Clonsilla to M3 Parkway 1tph Hansfield and Dunboyne At peak times extends to/from Docklands, calling all stations.
Cork CommuterCork Kent to Midleton 1tph Littleisland, Glounthaune and Carrigtwohill
Cork Kent to Cobh 1tphLittleisland, Glounthaune, Fota, Carrigaloe and Rushbrooke
DART Howth to Bray Daly3tph Sutton, Bayside, Howth Junction & Donaghmede, Kilbarrack, Raheny, Harmonstown, Killester, Clontarf Road, Dublin Connolly, Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Sydney Parade, Booterstown, Blackrock, Seapoint, Salthill & Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire Mallin, Sandycove & Glasthule, Glenageary, Dalkey, Killiney and Shankill. 1tph extended to Greystones.
Malahide to Bray Daly3tphPortmarnock, Clongriffin, Howth Junction & Donaghmede, Kilbarrack, Raheny, Harmonstown, Killester, Clontarf Road, Dublin Connolly, Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Grand Canal Dock, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Sydney Parade, Booterstown, Blackrock, Seapoint, Salthill & Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire Mallin, Sandycove & Glasthule, Glenagerary, Dalkey, Killiney and Shankill. 1tph extended to Greystones.

Freight services

Iarnród Éireann also has responsibility for running freight services on the Irish network through its Freight Division – which recorded a tonnage decrease of 11.8% in 2018, and as of 2019 there are 3 freight flows running throughout the country. This operates both Railfreight trains and a network of road haulage through various distribution nodes throughout the country. Iarnród Éireann Freight is subdivided into three sections:

Operational details

The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise, which is jointly operated by IE/NIR, seen at Connolly Station awaiting its next departure to Belfast Enterprise Connolly.jpg
The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise, which is jointly operated by IE/NIR, seen at Connolly Station awaiting its next departure to Belfast

The Enterprise route (Dublin to Belfast) is well regarded. However, it is only double track and serves both local and intermediate Commuter as well as InterCity traffic. Hence any delay has knock-on effects. Also, there is limited platform availability at Connolly Station in Dublin. There was also a persistent problem with engine overloading, as Enterprise locomotives also supplied coach power. However, since September 2012, additional power is provided by separate Mark 3 generator vans.

The Cork-Dublin route was formerly the "premier line" of the Great Southern and Western Railway , one of the biggest pre-CIÉ operators. Rolling stock on this route consists of Mark 4 trains, which were built in Spain, complete with DVTs for faster turn-around. 22000 Class DMUs built in South Korea came into service from early 2007 replacing older coaching stock on most other InterCity routes. These 183 carriages are described by the company as the "Greenest diesel trains in Europe". [7]

The former Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD had announced that an additional 51 railcars had been ordered for the company for a planned introduction on services between Dublin, Louth, and Meath. They were placed into service in 2011/2012 but this plan was badly affected by the recession with 21 surpluses to requirements at the end of 2012. [4]

The maximum speed of InterCity trains on the IÉ rail network is 160 km/h (100 mph).

Westport Railway Station Westport Station - geograph.org.uk - 678915.jpg
Westport Railway Station

Since 2019, Irish Rail has been trying to get more female drivers.

Station names

IE 2750 Class DMU (2753) at Inchicore Works shortly before being scrapped Dublin 6.jpg
IÉ 2750 Class DMU (2753) at Inchicore Works shortly before being scrapped

Although the majority of Iarnród Éireann's stations are simply named after the towns they serve, a number of stations in major towns and cities were renamed after leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, on its 50th Anniversary in 1966: [8]

Network Catering

IÉ's Network Catering unit provided a trolley service of food and drink, a snack car and (on some routes) a restaurant service. It also operated a restaurant at Dún Laoghaire. According to Iarnród Éireann's annual report [9] , the unit lost €270,000 in 2004. Early in 2006, Iarnród Éireann advertised for private catering contractors to take over the operation of its catering services. The service was taken over by Rail Gourmet in March 2007. [10] Rail Gourmet later withdrew from the contract and no longer provide catering for any Irish Rail services.

Drumcondra Station Drumcondra Station.jpg
Drumcondra Station

Rolling stock used by Iarnród Éireann

The Company has a fleet size consisting of 547 carriages (excluding the Enterprise service):

InterCity and Enterprise fleet


Locomotive fleet



Commuter fleet

An Iarnrod Eireann 29000 Class DMU (29409) at Dublin Connolly Dublin 1.jpg
An Iarnród Éireann 29000 Class DMU (29409) at Dublin Connolly




DART fleet

IE 8300 Class at Dun Laoghaire Dun Laoghaire railway station in 2008.jpg
IÉ 8300 Class at Dún Laoghaire




Future fleet

IÉ's increasing fleet usage has led to requirements being made for the procurement of additional vehicles. DART services are running with all trains formed of 4-8 cars, while 54 sets of 63 fleet of ICRs are committed to services with 56 required on Friday. To this end, IÉ plans to purchase a significant number of new ICR vehicles - an initial purchase of 41 will be made for delivery in 2021, comprising three new trains, with the remainder planned as intermediate vehicles to lengthen existing units. The deal for the new vehicles is intended to include options for up to 40 further vehicles. [14] There are also plans for a total replacement of the existing DART fleet, which will be combined with extensions to the DART network. The framework for the DART fleet is planned for up to 600 vehicles formed into four-car and eight-car sets, split into both pure EMU and BEMU trains. [14] For immediate fleet capacity increases, IÉ planned refurbishment of its 2700 Class DMUs, which was subsequently cancelled. Instead, IÉ is discussing the possibility of sourcing surplus DMUs from the British network, with Class 170s and Class 185s available. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

CIÉ Parastatal transport organisation of Ireland

Córas Iompair Éireann,, or CIÉ, is a statutory corporation of the Republic of Ireland, answerable to the Irish Government and responsible for most public transport in Ireland and – jointly with its Northern Ireland counterpart, the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company – the railway service between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The company is headquartered at Heuston Station, Dublin. It is a statutory corporation whose members are appointed by the Minister for Transport.

Rosslare Europort Rosslare Harbour, County Wexford, Ireland

Rosslare Europort is a modern seaport located at Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland, near the southeastern-most point of Ireland, handling passenger and freight ferries to and from Wales and France.

History of rail transport in Ireland

The history of rail transport in Ireland began only a decade later than that of Great Britain. By its peak in 1920, Ireland had 3,500 route miles (4,200 km). The current status is less than half that amount, with a large unserviced area around the border area between Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.

Rail transport in Ireland Transport Infrastructure

Rail transport in Ireland is provided by Iarnród Éireann in the Republic of Ireland and by Northern Ireland Railways in Northern Ireland.

Connolly station

Connolly station or Dublin Connolly is the busiest railway station in Dublin and Ireland, and is a focal point in the Irish route network. On the North side of the River Liffey, it provides InterCity, Enterprise and commuter services to the north, north-west, south-east and south-west. The North-South Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Luas light rail services also pass through the station. The station offices are the headquarters of Irish Rail, Iarnród Éireann. Opened in 1844 as Dublin Station, the ornate facade has a distinctive Italianate tower at its centre.

Heuston railway station railway station in Dublin, Ireland

Heuston Station also known as Dublin Heuston, is one of Ireland's main railway stations, linking the capital with the south, southwest and west. It is operated by Iarnród Éireann (IÉ), the national railway operator. It also houses the head office of its parent company - Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ). The station is named in honour of Seán Heuston, an executed leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, who had worked in the station's offices.

A wide variety of diesel and electric multiple units have been used on Ireland's railways. This page lists all those that have been used. Except with the NIR Class 3000, the numbers given by each class in the lists below are those allocated to the coaches that make up the units in that class, otherwise, unit numbers are not used in Ireland.

Rosslare Europort railway station

Rosslare Europort railway station serves Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland. The station is owned and operated by Iarnród Éireann and is the southern terminus of the Dublin–Rosslare railway line.

Dublin Suburban Rail Five-line railway network serving Greater Dublin and beyond

The Dublin Suburban Rail network,, is a railway network that serves the city of Dublin, Ireland, most of the Greater Dublin Area and outlying towns. The system is made up of five lines:

IE 2700 and 2750 Classes class of Irish diesel multiple unit

The 2700 and 2750 Classes were two related types of diesel multiple unit operated by Iarnród Éireann. The 2700 Class units were 2-car sets; 25 cars were built by GEC Alsthom in 1997 and 1998, and began entering service in December 1998. Each car weighed 38 long tons and was fitted with a 350 hp (260 kW) underfloor Cummins engine with a maximum service speed of 110 km/h (68 mph).

Waterford railway station

Waterford railway station serves the city of Waterford in County Waterford, Ireland. The station is located across Rice Bridge on the north side of the city.

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 Ireland. InterCity branding is also used in other European countries by unaffiliated organizations.

Commuter (Iarnród Éireann) brand of suburban rail services operated by Iarnród Éireann in the Republic of Ireland

Commuter is a brand of suburban rail services operated by Irish Rail in the Republic of Ireland, serving the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. This brand is distinct from the longer distance InterCity brand, and Dublin's higher frequency DART brand. Most Commuter services share a track with InterCity services. During the first decade of the new millennium, Iarnród Éireann put a significant amount of effort into upgrading its network, with new tracks, signalling, station upgrades and trains. Commuter services are operated by diesel multiple unit train sets.

IE 22000 Class class of 63 Irish diesel multiple units

The 22000 Class "InterCity Railcar" is a diesel multiple unit in service with Iarnród Éireann in Ireland.

IE 2600 Class class of Irish diesel multiple units

The 2600 Class is a type of Diesel Multiple Unit operated on the Irish railway network by Iarnród Éireann, used mainly for short-haul Commuter services. They sometimes operate Cork to Dublin services in case an InterCity unit is not available. At present the entire class is based in Cork, and is used on local services to Mallow, Midleton, Cobh and on token services to Tralee. A hybrid unit was based in Limerick until it was withdrawn in 2012 and is now stored in Cork.

Limerick–Rosslare railway line railway line in Ireland

The Limerick–Rosslare Main Line is a railway route in the Republic of Ireland that links the city of Limerick on the Atlantic coast with Rosslare Europort on the coast of the Irish Sea. It also serves the city of Waterford, and at Limerick Junction it connects with the Dublin–Cork railway line.

Dublin–Rosslare railway line

The Dublin-Rosslare Main Line is a main rail route between Dublin Connolly station and Rosslare Europort, where it connects with ferry services to the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. The line between Dublin and Greystones is electrified and forms the southern part of the DART service. Between Bray and Rosslare the line is single track only. The line connected with the Limerick–Rosslare line outside Rosslare Strand until 2010. From Wicklow on, semaphore signalling was used until April 2008, when the entire line was upgraded to the mini-CTC system controlled from Dublin Connolly. Although it is considered a separate route, the line is continuous after Dublin Connolly, where it connects with the Belfast–Dublin main line. The section between Westland Row and a point on the line just after Salthill and Monkstown station is the oldest railway line in Ireland, opening in 1834. At that time, the railway terminated adjacent to the start of Dún Laoghaire Harbour's West Pier, at a station called Dún Laoghaire.

IE 2800 Class class of 10 Irish 2-car diesel multiple units

The 2800 Class is a type of Diesel Multiple Unit operated on the Irish railway network by Iarnród Éireann, used mainly for short-haul InterCity and Commuter services.

Dublin–Sligo railway line

The Dublin to Sligo main line is a railway route operated by Iarnród Éireann in Ireland. It starts in Dublin Connolly station, terminating at Sligo Mac Diarmada railway station in Sligo. The route is a double-track railway as far as Maynooth, being a single-track railway with passing loops between there and Sligo.

This article deals with transport in Waterford city in Ireland. The city is connected by road, rail, bus, air and sea. There are currently proposals for a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, consisting of bus trams, or streetcars, to be used in future.


  1. 1 2 3 Iarnród Éireann. "Iarnród Éireann Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  2. https://www.thejournal.ie/public-transport-bus-eireann-dart-luas-increase-passengers-4958717-Jan2020/
  3. Sources:
  4. 1 2 http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/irish-rail-defends-new-logo-cost-29105397.html
  5. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. http://www.examiner.ie/ireland/iarnrod-eireann-may-close-rail-service-amid-falling-demand-178779.html
  7. http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/fleet-investment
  8. http://www.cie.ie/company-profile-(2)/heritage
  9. Iarnród Éireann Annual Report 2004
  10. http://www.railgourmet.com/page2/11/our-companies/
  11. http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/intercity-1 Archived 22 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Iarnród Éireann InterCity Fleet details
  12. http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/commuter Iarnród Éireann Commuter Fleet details
  13. http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/dart DART Fleet details
  14. 1 2 3 Pritchard, Robert (February 2019). "Current and Future Fleet Development on Irish Rail". Today's Railways. Platform 5.