Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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16. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the date a decision was made to carry out the All Island Strategic Rail Review; when it is intended to publish it; the steps that will be then taken to implement the review; the construction inflation in this State between the date of the original decision to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28342/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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As the Deputy is aware, the All-Island Strategic Rail Review was launched by my Department in 2021 in co-operation with the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, in line with the National Development Plan commitment. The Review will inform the development of rail on the Island of Ireland in the coming decades to 2050, in line with net carbon zero targets in both jurisdictions.

Work on the Review is now at an advanced stage and a draft Report was published for a Strategic Environmental Assessment public consultation last year. Feedback from that public consultation period has now been considered and a final Review Report should be submitted to Government for approval before the summer recess.

The draft Report made 30 recommendations for the rail system across the island out to 2050. Implementation of these recommendations would result in substantial improvements in the capacity, speed, frequency and reach of the rail system. Journey times by rail would be much reduced, and frequency would increase to at least hourly between cities and every two hours on rural and regional routes. The network would be decarbonised, with the intercity routes electrified. There would be new lines to the North-Midlands and North-West, widening accessibility and connectivity through rail.

The Deputy is right to highlight the importance of implementation. I’m glad to say that my Department is already working with the National Transport Authority and Iarnród Éireann, and our Northern colleagues, to develop a prioritised implementation strategy.

I would note that the majority of the big interventions proposed by the Review are scheduled for post-2030, and recent inflation would apply to these projects in any event. I would also note that the development of the Review was informed by the JASPERS Review of the previous Western Rail Corridor proposal, which noted that unless we develop a wider strategic perspective on the future of the rail network, the merit of individual proposals would be difficult to judge.

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