Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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80. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when it is intended to agree and implement the All Island Strategic Rail Review; the reason for the delay in doing so; whether in the meantime it is intended to do preliminary work on those elements of the strategy totally within the remit of the Irish State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13032/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The All-Island Strategic Rail Review, being undertaken by my Department in co-operation with the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, will inform the development of the railway sector on the Island of Ireland to 2050, in line with net zero carbon emissions targets.

I expect that a final report, taking account of the comments received during the recent Strategic Environmental Assessment consultation, will be submitted for Government approval, in both jurisdictions, by the Summer. As the Deputy will be aware, among the recommendations within the report, is a recommendation to re-open the Claremorris to Athenry section of the Western Rail Corridor.

In in order to progress the recommendations of the Rail Review, my Department has secured support from the European Investment Bank to consider how best to prioritise implementation of the Review's recommendations over 2025 to 2035.

In addition, my Department continues to invest in the rail network in Ireland. This includes:

- €1.3 billion invested over the period from 2020 to 2024 in order to protect and maintain our rail network to a high standard;

- The introduction of 41 new Inter City Railcars this year to increase capacity on the network;

- Investment in Ceannt, Colbert and Plunkett stations in Galway, Limerick and Waterford respectively;

- The Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme, which includes a signalling upgrade, a new platform at Kent Station and double-tracking from Glounthaune to Midleton. All of this is on schedule to be completed by 2026, and will enable a significant improvement to Cork commuter services;

- The multi-billion euro DART+ Programme, which is progressing through the planning and approvals processes. The DART+ West and DART+ South-West projects are in the planning system, and new DART carriages will enter service by 2026, providing a major boost to Dublin rail services.

As a result, improvements to the rail system nationally are already ongoing, with new and better services being introduced for passengers, and more expected in the years ahead.


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