Strategic development plan launched to improve Ireland’s rail network

Posted: 18 June 2018 | | No comments yet

To improve the rail service between Belfast and Dublin, a new development plan outlines which areas of the network require updating…


Translink and Irish national operator, Iarnród Éireann, have launched an ambitious new strategic development plan for the cross-border enterprise rail service between Belfast and Dublin: ‘Better Connecting Dublin and Belfast’

The strategic development plan details a road map of both companies’ joint strategies to further enhance the service on this important north-south rail corridor.

The plan envisages a three staged approach, starting with the introduction of a new fleet that can enable an hourly frequency between the two cities – which they believe can be achieved within five years. Within the same time period, and with additional investment in infrastructure and line improvements, there is an ambition to reduce the average journey time to less than two hours. Furthermore, the longer-term aspiration is to introduce electrification and new rolling stock on the line, which would achieve further frequency improvements and a journey time of potentially 90 minutes or less.

Chairman of Translink, Frank Hewitt said: “Developing the cross-border enterprise rail service will be essential to further strengthening economic links, building competitiveness and increasing close communication links between our two capital cities. The plan aligns with both programmes for the government to support the growth of public transport while delivering social and environmental benefits through decongesting roads, promoting Ireland tourism and reducing carbon emissions.

“In 2017 we completed almost one million passenger journeys on Enterprise and we believe more and more people want to use public transport as a way to enjoy high quality, affordable travel experiences. We are committed to building on this success and want to make it even better in order to further increase modal shift toward sustainable transport.”

Frank Allen, Chairman of Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, said: “This is a strategy founded in partnership, within which generations have worked together from platform to boardroom to build the joint service we offer our customers today. Our joint strategy builds upon that.

“The partnership with our stakeholders in business, tourism, central and local government and other major sectors is reflected in this strategy. Our stakeholders have engaged with us as we have developed this strategy and we value their continued partnership as we seek to support each other and our rail service.

“The next steps are to secure funding to take this project forward and Translink and Iarnród Éireann are keen for approval to be granted, to start procurement of a new Enterprise fleet, to fund a project to undertake a detailed technical and feasibility study and further assess the journey time improvement options.”

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