Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, has announced a EUR 1 billion railway investment plan, representing a 40% increase on the previous investment programme, between 2014 and 2018.
“This is a significant step forward in terms of funding the rail network. 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,” Minister Ross said.
The investment will be made in rail civil engineering programmes, including track relaying, signalling improvements and safety related initiatives.
“The very welcome agreement of the contract for 2020 to 2024 enables our infrastructure team to continue to maintain and enhance the safe provision of our physical network over this five-year period,” Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive, Jim Meade, said.
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.
The funding, approved by the Government, will be provided through the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC), which will be entered into by the Minister and Iarnród Éireann for the period 2020 to 2024. Funding provided under the IMMAC investment programme is separate to funding provided for other rail related projects such as the national train control centre, the acquisition of new carriages, or DART expansion programme.
In October, the Ministry announced transport investment for the projects as part of Metrolink, Dart expansion programme, and BusConnects.
In July, the government approved the of a new National Train Control Centre for rail services expansion. The centre will be fully operational by 2024.
To increase the rail capacity in Greater Dublin, the government has recently approved the procurement of 41 additional rail cars, estimated at EUR 150 million.