The annual National Rail Census captures the number of individuals boarding and alighting at each station in the country on a single day of the year.
It provides a snapshot of patronage across the country at all stations and on all services on this date. It is not intended to represent an accurate picture of overall rail service usage, which instead is recorded in Iarnród Éireann’s annual patronage data. While the census can help to illustrate trends over time, each individual year the census data is subject to variation based on factors such as operating conditions, weather, service delays, etc. It is nonetheless a useful barometer.
Overall, on census day, there were 158,651 passenger journeys across the network. This is an increase of 62% compared to 2021. Iarnród Éireann reported 35.8m passenger journeys in the year 2022, which is an increase of 106% compared to 2021 when 17.4m journeys were recorded. This increase in patronage coincided with the loosening of Covid -19 travel restrictions including the ending of capacity restrictions on public transport in September 2021 and the guidance for wearing facemasks on public transport becoming advisory rather than mandatory in February 2022.
This report provides an overview of the 2022 National Rail Census and discusses the changes in rail journeys throughout the country. It also sets out the changes in rail usage in the GDA in 2022 and over the previous years. Please note that no survey took place in 2020 on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and thus this year is missing from the annual datasets throughout this report..
Iarnród Éireann commissioned Amárach Research to carry out the annual National Census of Rail patronage on behalf of the National Transport Authority on 10th November 2022. Boardings and alightings of passengers at every train station in the country are recorded on a single day of the year. The 2022 Census is the tenth national Census.
Prior to 2012, the census was limited to the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) comprising the counties of Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.