Shane Ross announces €1 billion investment in Ireland’s rail network over five years
The government says passengers will benefit from increased service reliability and punctuality and improved journey times as a result.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD has announced a new €1 billion government investment programme in Ireland’s heavy rail infrastructure over a period of five years.
The funding, which will be invested into Ireland’s rail network from 2020 through to 2024, is an increase of 40% on the previous investment programme and, according to the government, will benefit passengers across the rail network through increased service reliability and punctuality, improved journey times and ensuring continued safety of rail services.
The investment will be made in rail civil engineering programmes, including track relaying, signalling improvements and safety-related initiatives. The investment is separate to funding provided for other rail-related projects, such as the recently approved National Train Control Centre, the expansion of the Greater Dublin Area Commuter Rail Fleet and planned investment under the DART Expansion Programme.
The government-approved money is being provided through the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC) and comes as a result of recommendations made by a review group, led by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, designed to further strengthen the governance and oversight of performance.
The Iarnród Éireann Infrastructure network currently extends to approximately 2,400 km of operational track, 4,440 bridges, 1,100 point ends, 970 level crossings, 144 stations, over 3,300 cuttings and embankments, 372 platforms and 13 tunnels. The network includes main line, Dublin suburban and commuter passenger routes, together with freight-only routes.
Commenting on the announcement, Minister Ross said: “This is a significant step forward in terms of funding the rail network. The Exchequer funding that is committed over the next five years represents an almost 40% increase on the level of funding provided between 2014 and 2018.
“This level of investment means that the rail network is now being funded at the ‘steady state’ level required to ensure optimal maintenance, renewal and improvement of our rail infrastructure.”