Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
20. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the engagements that his Department has had regarding advancing the construction of a train station at Moyross, Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2354/23]
As the Deputy may be aware, the National Transport Authority (NTA) published the final Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS)on 1 December 2022. The strategy was prepared by the NTA in collaboration with Limerick City and County Council, Clare County Council, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland, with the cooperation of Iarnród Éireann.
It provides a roadmap for sustainable transport in the region over the next 20 years. The LSMATSwas subject to two full rounds of public consultation and the final report reflects a broad range of views from across the metropolitan area. Construction of a new train station at Moyross is proposed under the LSMATS.
Following a call to local authorities in summer 2022 to submit their most innovative, transformative plans for public transport, walking and cycling in their areas, I launched the Pathfinder Programme in October 2022. The programme of 35 exemplar transport projects will be delivered by local authorities and agencies around the country within the next three years.
The Pathfinder Programme forms a key part of the implementation of the National Sustainable Mobility Policy, which in turn is a key part of the Government’s plan to achieve a 50% reduction in transport greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland by 2030. Construction of a new train station at Moyross was selected for inclusion in the Pathfinder Programme.
In November 2022 Iarnród Éireann announced the appointment of consultants to help identify the appropriate location for the new train station and options for the construction of the station itself, with a view to delivery 2025.
As the Deputy may be aware, the Government approved a ten-year fleet framework agreement between Iarnród Éireann and Alstom in December 2021. This allows for the purchase of up to 750 electric and battery-electric train carriages over the contract period. This contract can benefit not just the DART+ Programme but our plans for sustainable commuter rail in other cities across the rail network too.
The first order was approved alongside this framework in December 2021 and Iarnród Éireann placed an initial order for 95 carriages as part of the DART+ Programme at that time. I expect this first order of 30 electric carriages and 65 battery-electric carriages to enter into service in 2025 on the Northern Line and on the existing DART network.
In addition to this initial order of 95 carriages, last November the Government approved the purchase of a further 90 battery-electric carriages under the framework. I anticipate that these 90 carriages will be delivered in 2026. These carriages will facilitate the expansion of DART+ services to Drogheda to the north, Maynooth/M3 Parkway to the west and Celbridge/Hazelhatch to the south-west.
As these 90 carriages have the flexibility operate on both electrified and non-electrified track through the use of batteries, there is also potential to use them at some stage in the future between Greystones and Wicklow and/or for Cork Area Commuter Rail, serving communities between Mallow, Cork, Cobh and Midleton, subject to available funding for necessary supporting infrastructure.