Rail services (2024)

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  • Introduction
  • Services for passengers with disabilities
  • Rules
  • Rates
  • How to apply
  • Where to apply


Iarnród Éireann (or Irish Rail), a subsidiary company of a State-owned company, Coras Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), is responsible for operating rail services. Iarnród Éireann falls under the remit of the Department of Transport. The company operates passenger rail services nationwide and provides commuter rail services, including the DART service in Dublin.

Many stations have park and ride facilities to encourage commuters to leave their cars in station car parks and reduce the volume of traffic.

Free travel on State rail services is available to everyone permanently living in Ireland that is aged 66 and over. Certain people under that age are also entitled. Get more information about Free Travel.

Reduced fares on public transport

Reduced fares of 20% on public transport will continue in 2024. The 50% price reduction on the Young Adult Leap Card continues in 2024. You can see the National Transport Authority Fare (NTA) Plan 2024.


The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) runs along the east coast of Ireland from Malahide in county Dublin to Greystones in county Wicklow. Find details of the facilities available in all DART stations and DART timetables on the Iarnród Éireann website. You can pay your DART fares in cash or passengers can buy pre-paid tickets to get discounts on your journeys. You can also use Leap Cards.


Commuter services operate in the Dublin area between Dundalk, Dunboyne, Longford, Portlaoise and Gorey. There are also commuter services in the Cork area between Mallow, Cobh and Midleton. Commuter rail network maps, commuter rail fare information and commuter timetables for all services are available on the Iarnród Éireann website. You can use Leap Cards on commuter services.


Iarnród Éireann's InterCity services provide rail links between main towns and cities. InterCity services depart from Dublin's Heuston and Connolly Stations and serve the following destinations: Belfast, Sligo, Ballina, Westport, Galway, Limerick, Ennis, Tralee, Cork, Waterford and Rosslare Europort. The Enterprise service operates between Belfast and Dublin and is jointly run by Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland Rail.

Other InterCity services run between Rosslare Europort and Limerick; Cork and Tralee; Cork and Limerick; and Limerick and Galway. The InterCity service has carriages divided between first class and standard class.

European Rail

You can find information about tickets for UK rail services and for European rail services on Iarnród Éireann's web site. Registered blind passengers travelling by rail or sea to Europe are entitled to buy one full fare ticket and receive another one free of charge. You must produce your Companion Free Travel Pass when booking to avail of discount. Details are available directly from Iarnród Éireann (see where to apply), below.

Special arrangements can be made for passengers with disabilities, but it is recommended that you contact the relevant station or Iarnród Éireann's Mobility Impaired Liaison Office at least 24 hours before your journey and give them some details of your travel plans.

DART trains can be accessed directly from platforms and the trains have wide doors and a large area to accommodate wheelchairs.

Most mainline and suburban and all DART stations have public address systems giving details of trains and services for people with visual impairments. You can read more in our page about travelling on public transport with a disability or reduced mobility.


Guide and assistance dogs are permitted to travel on all services without restriction. Pets are allowed to travel on DART or commuter trains provided they are properly restrained. Dogs can only travel on intercity trains in the guard's van (non-passenger compartment).


Luggage should be placed in the specially provided luggage racks, overhead racks or in-between seat spaces. You must also make sure your luggage is not causing inconvenience for other passengers. Information on carrying bicycles on trains is available on the Iarnród Éireann website.


If you have complaints about Iarnród Éireann services, you should bring them to the attention of the relevant station manager. If you want to take your complaint further, you can contact Customer Relations, Connolly Station, Dublin 1. It is recommended that you write a letter of complaint, including as much detail as possible (date and time of travel, where you were travelling from and to and a phone number). You should also send your ticket, if you still have it. You may get an immediate response to your complaint but if not, you will get an acknowledgement within 3 days and you should have a full response within 15 days. You may also make complaints or raise customer services issues online.

Compensation and refunds

If your service is seriously delayed for any reason within the control of Iarnród Éireann, you could be entitled to a discount voucher. The value of discount voucher is based on the length of delay and the fare you have paid for your single journey (that is, approximately half the value of a return fare).

Refunds in discount vouchers are also given if your seat reservation is not honoured and no seat of the same standard is available to you.

If the train you planned to catch is delayed or cancelled and you decide not to travel, you will be given a full cash refund if you return your unused ticket immediately to the ticket office where you bought it.

If you decide for some other reason not to use a rail ticket you have bought, you can apply for a refund at any main InterCity station, the Dart office in Pearse Station or any Travel Centre. There may be an administration fee. If you did not buy your ticket from Iarnród Éireann, you should return it to the place where you bought it. The ticket issuer will arrange any refund due and may make a reasonable administration charge.

Lost property

Each train station has a lost property office where items found on trains will be handed in and kept for collection. For more details, you should contact the relevant station directly.


Obstructions on railway lines and bridges

Section 14 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 makes it an offence to endanger rail traffic. This includes throwing any dangerous obstruction on a railway, tampering with any railway machinery, etc. The Act also prohibits tampering with any signalling equipment, or devices used to control railway traffic.

If tried in a District Court before a judge, the maximum penalty for these offences is a class C fine or 12 months in prison or both.

If these offences are tried in a Circuit or Central Criminal Court, the maximum penalty is a fine or 7 years imprisonment or both.



Tickets vary depending on the service you use and you can get full details of leisure fares, commuter travel fares and UK and European rail fares from the Iarnród Éireann web site. Prepaid tickets can be bought from ticket offices, ticket machines and online. Discounted fares are available with the correct identification card.

The TFI-90 fare allows free transfers between Dublin Bus, Luas, DART, commuter rail, and Go-Ahead Ireland services. This fare applies to most journeys in the Dublin area, whether involving multiple services within 90 minutes or a single trip

Leap Cards can be used on DART and commuter services.

The Young Adult and Student Leap Cards allow students to get substantially discounted fares on Iarnród Eireann services. It is only available to full-time students in second and third level education.

Those claiming free travel must be able to produce a valid Department of Social Protection Travel Pass.

How to apply

You can find passenger timetables on the Iarnród Éireann website.

Where to apply

Page edited: 30 January 2024

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Contact Us

If you have a question about this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0818 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm).

You can also contact your local Citizens Information Centre.

Rail services (2024)


Is rail cheaper than trucking? ›

The difference between moving cargo via rail or truck is that rail freight is typically three to four times more affordable and fuel efficient. On the other hand, trucking allows for better access to delivery locations and facilitates cargo transport based on individual scheduling.

What does rail mean in trucking? ›

Rail intermodal transports the goods you use every day. Rail intermodal combines shipping containers and truck trailers transported by rail, often with truck or water transport at terminals.

How much does rail cost per mile vs road? ›

The average light-rail line under construction or in planning stages today costs $25 million per mile ($50 million per mile in both directions). Heavy rail costs more than twice as much. By comparison, the average lane mile of freeway costs only about $5 to $10 million.

What does CSX stand for? ›

C can stand for Chessie, S for Seaboard and X, the multiplication symbol, means that together we are so much more.”

What is the disadvantage of rail transport? ›

Disadvantages of rail transport

It is not a cost-effective option for smaller loads and short distances. There is only limited service in rural areas especially in hilly regions of the country.

What is the biggest advantage of rail over trucking? ›

Rail shipping is much more cost-effective than truck shipping for several reasons. Rail is a much more fuel-efficient mode of transportation. Railcars can also carry much more volume than trucks.

What is the difference between OTR and rail? ›

In comparison to OTR, Rail Transport is the most cost-effective solution for transporting heavy items over long distances. Some Advantages of Rail Transport include: This method of transport is fuel efficient. For example, rail can transport 1 ton of freight across more than 470 miles, all off a single gallon of fuel.

Is shipping by rail faster than truck? ›

However, these advantages diminish when freight is transported over a long distance. While trains may not reach the top speed of trucks, they maintain a constant speed of about 50mph when actively moving, and when summed up over a long distance, railcars tend to be the faster alternative.

What are the benefits of rail freight? ›

Rail is sustainable – compared with trucks, it produces only about one-fifth of the emissions per kilometer traveled and ton transported. At the same time, due to its largeer cargo capacity, it is efficient, mostly punctual, and ideal for intermodal use in combination with road freight.

How much does it cost to build a freight rail construction per mile? ›

The cost of building a mile of new railroad track through average Midwestern terrain can vary depending on various factors such as the specific location, terrain conditions, track specifications, labor costs, and materials used. However, as a rough estimate, the cost can range from $1 million to $3 million per mile.

How much does rail shipping cost per ton mile? ›

The annual rate of increase for the initial period was $0.126 per ton-mile in 2020 compared to $0.196 per ton-mile in 2023. This is a more than 5X year-over-year increase to move freight for the 500-mile distance with costs rising from $57 per ton in 2018 to $98 per ton. Figure 1.

How much does a high-speed rail cost per mile? ›

The Little Engine That Couldn't: California's High-Speed Rail Costs Rise To $200 Million Per Mile. California's high-speed rail (HSR) pencils out to around $200 million per mile for the San Francisco–Los Angeles route. And this cost is almost certainly too low if the main attraction of the project is ever built.

What does BNSF stand for? ›

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation was incorporated in 1993 to facilitate the merger of Burlington Northern, Incorporated, parent of the Burlington Northern Railroad, and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, which owned the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe).

Is CSX a Conrail? ›

In the spring of 1997, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) and CSX Corporation (CSX) agreed to acquire Conrail through a joint stock purchase. CSX and NS split most of the Company's assets between them.

What was the old name of CSX? ›

CSX Corporation was formed in 1980 from the merger of Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries, two holding companies that controlled railroads operating in the Eastern United States.

What is the cheapest form of freight transportation? ›

Mode of freight also matters — road and rail tend to be cheapest while air is most expensive. In addition, not all freight brokers have access to the best rates. FreightCenter can help you find the cheapest way to ship freight.

Is rail travel more expensive than driving? ›

Depending on the itinerary and season, traveling by train can be more affordable than driving. Between gas prices and rental-car charges, road trips can be expensive ventures.

Is the train the cheapest mode of transport? ›

Railways are the cheapest mode of transport in India because it covers long distance with less fare compared to other modes of transportation.

How much does it cost to transport freight by rail? ›

This means the cost of transporting a ton of freight by rail for a 1,000-mile distance climbed from $98 per ton in 2018 to $160 per ton in 2023. Overall, this means that costs may double each 2 to 3 years rather than doubling each 10 to 15 years.

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