Intercity ridership rose 3.7% year-on-year to 8.4 million, while Commuter and Dublin area Dart services witnessed a 2.1% increase in passenger numbers, which reached 29.3 million.

The strongest growth was on the Limerick – Galway line, which has suffered disappointing levels of traffic since the reopening of the Ennis – Athenry section of the Western Rail Corridor in 2009. Ridership on this route increased by 75% to 50,000, which IE attributes to the introduction of online booking and promotional fares.

On Intercity routes, Dublin – Galway saw the strongest growth, with passenger numbers increasing 6.4% to 1.1 million, while there was a 4.1% rise on the Dublin – Sligo route, which carried 1.2 million passengers.

IE says growth has been driven by a rise in promotional activity, with a substantial increase in online bookings and student travel, together with improving economic conditions, major events, and closer integration with other modes.