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09th Apr 2024

Dublin-Belfast train journey time to be shortened in new multi-million euro plans

Stephen Porzio

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has called the plans a ‘key priority’.

Rail services between Belfast and Dublin are set to benefit from a new €165 million investment which is set to shorten the train journey between the two cities to under two hours.

The funding comes from the PEACEPLUS Programme, a funding partnership between the EU, the UK Government, the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Having a value of €1.14 billion, the programme is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

“The PEACEPLUS funding will support a major programme to transform the cross-border Enterprise train service, paving the way for an hourly timetable between Belfast and Dublin,” a PEACEPLUS statement reads.

“This programme involves replacing the existing Enterprise trains with brand new trains by the end of this decade, allowing for an hourly timetable and faster journey times between Dublin and Belfast.”

Jointly operated by Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann, the Enterprise train service has connected Belfast and Dublin for more than 75 years.

The ‘Enterprise Fleet Replacement Programme’ will see the current Enterprise fleet of four train sets replaced with eight “new, modern and sustainable train sets”.

“Designed to evolve as both jurisdictions move towards a fully electrified cross-border rail corridor over the coming decades, the new trains will support goals of net zero carbon emissions,” the statement adds.

“They will offer improved accessibility and passenger experience, with an hourly service and journey times reduced to at least 1 hour 55 minutes between Dublin and Belfast.”

Currently, the train journey between the two cities lasts between two hours and five minutes and two hours and 15 minutes.

The goal is to have the new Enterprise trains operating from 2029, with the procurement process for the new train sets expected to be complete over the coming year.

In a statement about the plans, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said: “I welcome this significant investment in the Enterprise Fleet Replacement Programme. The flagship Enterprise service is a very visible and well-known symbol of North-South cooperation and this replacement programme is a key priority of both Governments.

“The programme will significantly improve accessibility between the two largest cities on the island through increased service frequency and a faster journey time.

“This is another indication of the ambition we have to put the island of Ireland on track for a new age of rail, connecting more cities and towns and opening up quality rail service to more people.

“The funding for this programme under the PEACEPLUS programme and from both Government Departments demonstrates the positive impact cooperation has on meeting our shared goals of a cleaner, greener, interconnected all-island future.”

Main images via Leah Farrell/

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