Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
65. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the expected timeline for the strategic rail review; if the western rail corridor forms part of the review; when he expects a draft version to be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49166/21]
72. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will confirm public comments (details supplied) made by him in relation to the Western Rail Corridor; the way those comments compare against his lack of support for specific commitments to progressing the Western Rail Corridor within the revised national development plan; and the way he intends to progress the project. [49222/21]
77. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if clarity will be provided in relation to a reference (details supplied) in the National Development Plan; if this will include discussions with Iarnród Éireann on improving timetables to suit the demands of commuters on the line between Limerick Junction and Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49338/21]
85. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his vision for the way in which the communities from the south-west area, the west and on to counties Sligo, Donegal and Derry can be connected by rail; and his plans to advance this vision. [49487/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 65, 72, 77 and 85 together.
As reiterated in the National Development Plan, the Strategic Rail Reviewis being undertaken to provide a strategy for the development of the railway sector on the Island of Ireland over the period to 2040 and beyond. Work has commenced on the Review and, for the information of the Deputies, a consultation exercise will form part of the review and is expected in the near future.
The Strategic Rail Reviewwill review the rail network with regard to the following ambitions: improving sustainable connectivity between the major cities (including the potential for high-/higher speed(s)), enhancing regional accessibility and supporting balanced regional development and improving rail connectivity to our international gateways including consideration of the role of rail freight.
This Reviewwill also consider the potential scope for improved rail services along the various existing, or future potential, corridors of the network, including currently lightly used lines such as the Waterford to Limerick Junction line. That scope will also include the potential afforded by disused and closed lines such as the potential of the Western Rail Corridor, and other disused lines like Wexford to Waterford line .
It will be one of the most significant reviews of the rail network on the island in many years and will provide a framework to develop a much-improved rail network in the years ahead. I expect the Reviewwill be completed within 12 months.