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Despite the dieselisation of passenger services in 1952 and freight in 1953 the system was still closed. On 27 September 1960, CIÉ gave notice of its intending closure with effect from 1 February 1961. CIÉ said that the West Clare was losing £23,000 (€1.2M 2006 equivalent) per year, despite the considerable traffic handled. In December it was announced that the line would close completely on 1 January 1961. Eventually the line closed on 31 January 1961 with CIÉ starting work on dismantling the line the day after closure on 1 February 1961.
By the time of its closure the West Clare Railway was the last narrow gauge railway in Ireland offering a passenger service; various lines operated by Bord na Móna continue to operate in connection with the peat industry.