Iarnród Éireann and XPO Logistics begin new rail freight service between Port of Waterford and Ballina

At Port of Waterford today, Iarnród Eireann and XPO Logistics, a leading global provider of freight transportation solutions, launched a new rail freight service in each direction between Ballina, Co Mayo and Waterford.

The new rail service begins weekly operations today, building to twice-weekly within eight weeks.

It will offer the Irish industry a greener and more efficient mode of transporting freight between the West and Southeast of the country.  It will see the potential for over 5,000 truck movements a year to switch from road to rail, with a resulting reduction in road congestion, and 75% reduction in emissions per unit.

The new service comes as Iarnród Éireann is finalising a new national rail freight strategy to identify growth and investment opportunities to significantly grow rail freight operations.


Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, welcomed the new service, saying: “The rail network has a critical role to play in transforming how we transport people and goods with a view to achieving net-zero emissions. This service offers a practical and sustainable option for businesses on both sides of the country who are looking to move goods for domestic and export markets. As we examine the potential to increase the use of the network for freight, it is fitting that this new service will offer an immediate solution for freight movement between these key locations.”


Minister of State for Transport & Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton TD said: “Ireland’s freight, logistics and distribution transport sector plays a critical role in our economy and this new service will sustainably connect businesses in the West of Ireland to the Port of Waterford and onwards to export markets. Our supply chains are resilient and by adding new rail transport offerings to industry, we can continue to support local communities and in turn, our climate objectives.”


Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade said, “We are entering a very exciting phase where rail freight can offer key solutions for the movement of freight as the country addresses both environmental and congestion challenges in this sector. We are currently finalising a very ambitious strategic plan for the growth of rail freight between key locations across the country. Today’s announcement with XPO and Waterford Port demonstrates the viable opportunities that can be developed that will not just support industry and the logistics sector, but is also fully aligned with the country’s climate action plan.”


Dan Myers, managing director, transport – UK and Ireland, XPO Logistics said, “Climate change is a critical global challenge; the solutions will take a concerted effort, coordinated action and cooperation. Our collaborative, end-to-end service with Irish Rail — where XPO provides the booking of rail freight movements, drayage trucking of containers, and services such as cross-docking — is a double win. Our customers have new, eco-friendly transport options, and our planet wins as supply chains become greener. It’s another step in our collective journey to a carbon-neutral future.”


Port of Waterford Chief Executive Frank Ronan said, “Port of Waterford welcomes the re-introduction of rail freight services to the Port at Belview. These trains, carrying container freight, will work very effectively with the Port’s Lo-Lo shipping services to provide businesses in Ireland’s West/North West with a compelling logistics solution to and from mainland Europe.


Dublin’s carbon emissions reductions and road and port congestion alleviation make this a worthwhile initiative. We wish XPO Logistics every success with this venture and look forward to working with them.”


Iarnród Éireann is continuing to work with existing and potential new customers and freight forwarders, Ports and the Irish Exporters Association to identify opportunities and trends for rail freight development within the Irish and European market.


The new rail freight service between Ballina and Waterford is in addition to existing rail freight operations, which include:

–         Container traffic from Ballina to Dublin Port

–         Pulpwood from Ballina and Westport to Waterford Port

–         Zinc ore from Tara Mines in Navan to Dublin Port


Issued by:

Corporate Communications, Iarnród Éireann,

Connolly Station, Dublin 1.

For further information, please contact: Barry Kenny 01 7032457/0872381224

Photos will be issued to photo desks by Patrick Browne Photography



Jarlath Sweeney

Editor, Fleet Transport

087 2439239