Sligo, Leitrim, Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) Greenway
Leitrim County Council, in partnership with Sligo County Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, under the auspices of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Department for Infrastructure (DfI) are developing the Sligo, Leitrim, Northern Counties, Railway (SLNCR) Greenway. Arup have been appointed by Leitrim County Council to provide multi-disciplinary engineering and other specialist consultancy services, consisting of all services and deliverables for the delivery of this Project through Phases 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (detailed design and tender documents only).
The Project is currently at Phase 2 Option Selection.
This project is to provide a greenway from Sligo town to Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, passing through Collooney, Ballintogher, Dromahair, Manorhamilton, Glenfarne, Blacklion, Belcoo and Letterbreen on the way.
The project is named after the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) which operated as a 75 km railway line linking Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh to Collooney, Co. Sligo where it connected with the Sligo-Dublin line. The route extended from Enniskillen through Letterbreen, Belcoo, Glenfarne, Manorhamilton, Dromahair, Ballintogher, Ballygawley and Collooney and onwards to Ballysadare and Sligo town.
Local communities have been to the fore in developing the idea of a greenway in the area and the opportunity which the historic SLNCR that linked Enniskillen in Co. Fermanagh to Collooney, Co. Sligo presents. There are many surviving signs of the railway line including stations, road crossings, cottages, earthworks and bridges. In a number of places new sections of road have been built, along or across the old line, but generally the old line is discernible.
Project Specific Need
The need for the SLNCR Greenway is underpinned by the necessity to provide facilities which enable physical activity in a safe environment for all, by the need to connect rural communities using sustainable modes for short trips and strengthen rural economies and communities, whilst enhancing amenity and heritage.
This Project aims to encourage both walking and cycling as modes of transport and leisure pursuits and developing links between local towns and the surrounding countryside. The increasing need to reduce carbon emissions is driving the shift in policy towards more sustainable methods of travel. Greenways are an attractive means of emission free travel which can connect rural communities and provide an economic boost to rural areas through activity tourism.
The proposed greenway will be a scenic, provide a strategic link that is substantially segregated from vehicular traffic, offering lots to see and do for a wide variety of users. It will be developed sustainably in co-operation with, and offering real benefits to, local communities.
The SLNCR Greenway could form an integral part of the County Cycle Network Plans currently under development as it has the potential to link into the proposed Sligo Greenway from Collooney to Bellaghy and subsequently provide a branch off the EuroVelo 1 – The Atlantic Coast Route and the Wild Atlantic Way.
The development of the SLNCR Greenway will attract domestic and international visitors to come, explore and stay in the region. The surrounding areas contain attractive scenery and an opportunity for users to interact with nature whilst benefitting from outdoor activity.
It will unlock the tourism potential of the counties it traverses and will provide opportunities for the development of a local tourism-based industry in the area. Visitor numbers to local attractions such as the Sligo Way, Cavan Burren Park, Creevelea Friary, Manorhamilton Castle, Rainbow Ballroom and Showband Memorabilia Museum, Enniskillen Castle and the Butter Market will also increase.
Arup have been appointed by Leitrim County Council to provide multi-disciplinary engineering and other specialist consultancy services. That is to bring the Project through the planning process in the Republic and Northern Ireland plus to provide tender documents for Construction of the proposed Greenway in compliance with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) Project Management Guideline documents.
The Project will be developed in line with TII Project Management Guidelines Phases 1-5.
The objectives of this project have been set following the five objectives (herein referred to as the 5 S’s) as set out in the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways: Strategic, Scenic, Sustainable, Substantially Segregated & Shared Use, Offer Lots to See and Do.
In achieving these objectives, the project will in turn:
- increase the economic contribution of tourism to the Irish economy by increasing the numbers of visitors to the area
- promote physical activity in a safe outdoor environment and increase the number of people using active travel modes
- provide opportunities to enhance the local amenity and heritage value of the area
- benefit local communities through enhancing existing amenities and providing new linkages to adjacent town and village centres
What’s Happening Now
The Project is currently at Phase 2 Option Selection. The purpose of Phase 2 is to examine options to determine a Preferred Option. During Phase 2 all reasonable / feasible options are examined and their costs, benefits and effects on the environment are interrogated to identify a preferred option, if any, that will progress to Phase 3 Design and Environmental Evaluation.