The number of people travelling by train has increased in the last six months, according to figures released by Iarnród Éireann.

The figures show a 2.7% rise year-on-year in passenger numbers since January.

18.3 million journeys were made in the first six months of 2014, compared to 17.8 million in the same period last year.

The company cited economic growth, fare promotions and special events, such as the Irish Open Golf and One Direction, as reasons behind the boost.

Intercity services are up 5% from 3.8 million to 4 million journeys.

The Dublin-Cork intercity route performed the strongest with journeys increasing by just over 7%.

Dublin and Cork commuter services saw an increase of 3.6% in numbers travelling, from 6.2 million up to 6.4 million.

Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive David Franks said that last year saw a stabilisation in passenger numbers after a number of years of decline.

He added: "It is encouraging to see an increase in passenger numbers once again right across our network.

"Business growth will be the one of our key areas of focus in addressing the very difficult financial situation facing the company."

The company said it expects continued increases in passenger numbers for the rest of the year.