Irish Railways c. 2006

$3.95

Map Code: Ax01722

The Irish tail network reached a peak in 1920 with close to 3,440 miles (5,500 km) of track. A long period of retrenchment and decline followed. In the Irish Civil War, anti-Treaty combatants systematically attacked the rail infrastructure, and partition disrupted service patterns, particularly for County Donegal. Poor service, owing to lack of coal saw the customer-base dwindle during World War II. The postwar period saw Beeching-style rationalization of the network. By 1957, Eire had lost around 20 per cent of its peak network, while Ulster’s had more than halved, leaving a broad track-free corridor round the Ulster borders. However, conversion to diesel was implemented, with a major upgrade of 18 locomotives in 1976, and Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) was opened in 1984. The boom of the 1990s produced an upsurge in investment; Dublin’s population growth promoted an expansion of DART, and express Intercity services were introduced and expanded post-2000.

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