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Celebrating 30 Years of Irish Rail, Operators of Rosslare Europort

2nd February 2017

#Rail&SailRosslare Europort is a unique Irish port as the Co. Wexford harbour is operated by state-owned Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) which today celebrates its 30th anniversary, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Irish Rail was established on 2 February 1987 and is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE). The national railway operator provides Intercity, Regional, Commuter and at Dublin, DART passenger services and the management of Rosslare Europort. Freight operations are also carried out that include serving other ports, Dublin and Waterford (Belview Terminal).

To mark the occasion Irish Rail invite those to follow the role of the national railway company on twitter @irishrail so to enable to get behind the scenes of their operations for 24 hours. A staff of 3,800 people deliver these train services.

EUROport Operations

The south-east port of Rosslare being the closest point from Ireland to the UK and continental mainland Europe, offers a strategic location.  The port is a major hub for ro-ro passenger and freight ferry operations linking southern Wales and north-western France.

Operating on routes to Wales and France, are Irish Ferries with a route to Pembroke and seasonal services to Cherbourg. In addition to linking Normandy, in the high-season months the company serve to Roscoff, Brittany.

Also operating are Stena Line to Wales but serving from Fishguard, also in Pembrokeshire. The company have a year-round continental service from the Irish port and this too calls to Cherbourg.

Railway's Rosslare 'Sailing' Roots 

The origins of Rosslare as a cross-channel ferryport began more than century ago in 1898, when a join act of Parliament established the Fishguard & Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company (F&RR&H) to provide a service from London to southern Ireland. The entity still survives today despite the changing transport scene from when the first sailings began in 1906.

The amalgamation of the F&RR&H came from the vision of the Victorian entrepreneurs at the Great Southern & Western Railway Company of Ireland and the Great Western Railway of Britain.

The St. Georges Channel link between the southern regions in Ireland and Wales was so to compete with rival railway operations. That been those from London and connecting further north between Holyhead and Dublin.

Rosslare’s Railway Future?

The stretch between the ferryport and Wexford and onward to Gorey, on the Rosslare-Dublin route has been in the media spotlight of recent months. This been over the future of the railway service (and other lines) that poses possible closure between either locations.

Irish Rail the public transport operator have cited reasons of rising losses leading to a lack of funding and falling passenger numbers. 

Those alighting or boarding trains at Rosslare Europort currently have to use the station located five minutes away from the port’s first custom built terminal.

Originally the terminal, which was awarded the 'Anglo-Irish Station of the Year 1990', had an integrated direct platform conveniently serving ‘rail and sail’ passengers.

The demise of this terminal platform for trains and connecting with ferries timetables, have also been an issue down the years. Such critisism notably drawn from the travelling public.

Published in Rosslare Europort, Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Rosslare Europort

2021 sees Rosslare Europort hitting a new record with a total of 36 shipping services a week operating from the port making it one of the premier Irish ports serving the European Continent. Rosslare Europort is a gateway to Europe for the freight and tourist industries. It is strategically located on the sunny south-east coast of Ireland.

Rosslare is within a 90-minute driving radius of major Irish cities; Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Rosslare Europort is a RoRo, RoPax, offshore and bulk port with three RoRo berths with a two-tier linkspan, we also have a dedicated offshore bulk berth.

Exports in Rosslare Europort comprise mainly of fresh products, food, pharmaceuticals, steel, timber and building supplies. While imports are largely in the form of consumer goods such as clothes, furniture, food, trade vehicles, and electronics.

The entire Europort is bar-swept to 7.2 meters, allowing unrestricted access to vessels with draughts up to 6.5 metres. Rosslare Europort offers a comprehensive service including mooring, stevedoring and passenger-car check-in for RoRo shipping lines. It also provides facilities for offshore, dry bulk and general cargo.

The port currently has twice-daily round services to the UK and direct services to the continent each day. Rosslare Europort has a fleet of Tugmasters service, fork-lift trucks, tractors and other handling equipment to cater for non-standard RoRo freight.

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