Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of Matt ShanahanMatt Shanahan (Waterford, Independent)
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14. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to an Irish Rail document written in 2019 that stated that the Waterford to Rosslare rail line could be reopened for a cost of between €12 to 15 million; if he will support the reopening of the Waterford to Rosslare rail line given discussions in his Department regarding possible new rail project finance for Navan and the extension of the DART service to Wicklow given the expected population increase in the southeast region over the next 20 years and the requirement for regional connectivity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59611/21]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I am not specifically aware of the document the Deputy refers to, but am generally aware that there are often a wide range of costs ascribed to re-openings of any disused railway line. 

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department, in co-operation with the Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland), is undertaking a Strategic Rail Review which will inform the development of the railway sector on the Island of Ireland over the period to 2040. Arup consultants have been appointed to undertake the Review. Work has commenced and it is expected to take 12 months in total.

The Strategic Rail Review will review the rail network with regard to a number of ambitions: improving sustainable connectivity between the major cities (including the potential for high-/higher speed), enhancing regional accessibility, supporting balanced regional development and rail connectivity to our international gateways, with the latter considering the role of rail freight.

This Review will also consider the potential scope for improved rail services along the various existing, or future potential, corridors of the network. That scope will also include the potential afforded by disused and closed lines such as the Waterford to Rosslare line. 

This 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. As part of the scope of the Review, a consultation process is now underway and I would encourage all interested parties to participate in the consultation.


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