The National Transport Authority (NTA) has today published its annual Rail Census Report, which shows a 12% increase in passenger numbers recorded on the day of the census.

The Rail Census Report

The Rail Census Report is key for understanding passenger trends for future planning for the Irish rail network, highlighting the extensive reach of the rail network in Ireland, the different types of services available to passengers, and the key routes connecting major cities. ​

The Census, which captures the number of passengers boarding and alighting at each station across the country, provides insights into travel patterns on a single day.

While the report is subject to variation due to factors such as operating conditions, weather and service delays, the report provides insights into the efficiency and frequency of train services, the trends and changes in passenger numbers, and the recovery of rail travel demand from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The total number of journeys taken on the rail network on the day of the Census was up 15% compared to 2022, and apart from the Cork Commuter service, all service categories saw an increase in patronage.

The Rail Census, which covers approximately 2400km of railway track and 150 stations (including 5 stations in Northern Ireland) looks to analyse travel patterns across three service types:

Intercity Rail Services

Intercity Rail Services and Commuter Services in Ireland have seen a significant increase in daily patronage in 2023, showcasing the strong demand for rail travel in the country.

Heuston Intercity experienced a commendable 12% increase in daily passengers, totalling 26,798 journeys.

Commuter Services

Connolly Commuter West also saw a remarkable 18% increase, with 28,015 journeys made in 2023. Despite Cork Commuter Rail and regional services having a 6% decrease in patronage, the service still boasted a 29% rise when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

DART Services

The DART services proved to be a major player in rail travel in the Greater Dublin Area, accounting for 50% of all rail journeys across the country and showcasing an 11% increase in daily patronage.

Overall, rail services in Ireland have displayed a positive trend in patronage, indicating a strong desire for sustainable and efficient transportation options among the public.

For more information, the Rail Census can be accessed here: