Thursday, 28 November 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Rail Network Expansion
233. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated cost of extending the rail line from the M3 parkway to Navan, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49492/19]
As the Deputy is aware, the issue of a potential extension of the existing Dunboyne/M3 Parkway line was considered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) during its development of the statutory Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016 to 2035.
The Strategy stated that based on current population and employment forecasts, the level of travel demand between Navan, Dunshaughlin and various stations to the city centre was insufficient to justify the development of a high-capacity rail link at that current time. Instead the Strategy proposed an enhanced bus service along the corridor and the development of a bus hub in Navan.
In this regard, Bus Éireann introduced a new service on the N2 Corridor in late 2017. Furthermore, Meath County Council, in collaboration with the NTA, continues to progress the development of a bus hub as provided for by the Transport Strategy.
Importantly, the Transport Strategy clearly states that the issue of a rail link to Navan would be kept under review and considered again as part of the statutory review of the current Strategy which the NTA is required to undertake before the end of 2021.
The NTA will commence this review next year and, as part of that review, I understand that in the latter half of 2020 the NTA will re-evaluate the potential for a rail link to Navan. As committed in both Project Ireland 2040 and the Transport Strategy itself, this re-evaluation will take account of new and planned development along the proposed route. Obviously the issue of estimated cost will form part of that re-evaluation.