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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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New €40 Velo Rail experience in rural Mayo town

A rural County Mayo town in the west of Ireland has opened the country’s first Velo Rail, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.

The Kiltimagh Velo Rail Project – which is the brainchild of IRD Kiltimagh CLG – allows users to pedal along the railway line, which has been repurposed for the activity.

The last passenger train departed Kiltimagh Station in 1963, and the track was idle since 1975 up until earlier this month when the project launched.

The 15km of railway line has been converted into a tourism resource and outdoor amenity, offering a unique railbike experience, which is believed to be the first of its kind in both Ireland and the UK.

The sustainable tourism project, which was launched by Michael Ring on June 9th, 2023, has been delivered by IRD Kiltimagh CLG and supported by Mayo County Council, Irish Rail, Department Rural & Community Development and by Mayo Local Action Group (LAG) under the Rural.

IRD Kiltimagh believes that the project, which has been open to the public since Saturday, June 10th, 2023, could bring in the region of 30,000 visitors annually to Kiltimagh, supporting local businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry.

What to expect

On arrival at the Kiltimagh Velo Rail, visitors can expect to be greeted by staff who will provide an orientation session by explaining the rules, safety guidelines, and how to operate the Velo Railbike.

This session may include a demonstration and practice session, and once the user is familiar with the railbike, they will board it along with their group.

The overall distance is 7km on either side of Kiltimagh, and the route will take you either north or south of the station – depending on the route in operation at the time of your booking.

Velo Rail in Kiltimagh

A spokesperson said: “Under your own steam, your group will propel yourselves using pedal power over either the north or south route.”

“Velo Rail is an outdoor recreation to be undertaken at a leisurely pace; it is not a sprint.”

“Velo Rail is ideal for family groups, groups of friends, groups of work colleagues and lends itself ideally to corporate team building trips, sports teams undertaking team bonding sessions, and pretty much all other groups where a group activity is desirable.”

“Velorail is a physical activity that requires a moderate level of physical activity.”

“We require each group to have at least two adults, one over 18 years to take the role of ‘lead rider’ and one over 16 years, both of whom must have a reasonable level of fitness to be able to propel the railbike over the duration of the route.”

Velo Rail offers three different specifically designed railbike types for €40 (2-seater, 4-seater or 5-seater), including those which are adapted to safely carry a standard wheelchair, making Velorail a “truly inclusive activity”.

Bookings must be made online via its website, which you can visit by clicking this link.

The project is based at Station Road, Gowelboy, Kiltimagh, C Mayo, Eircode: F12XE09 and is circa 10km from Kilkelly town, just under 12km from Balla, just shy of 16km from Claremorris, 20km from Ballyhaunis, 25km from Castlebar and 35km from Ballina.

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