The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross yesterday announced Government approval for the proposed purchase of 41 additional rail carriages to increase capacity across the Greater Dublin Area rail network in addition to a €447m roads investment in Co Limerick.
Government approval to purchase the additional rail cars, at a cost of €150m, will see the carriages enter service in the Greater Dublin Area by 2021, providing 34% increased capacity at peak times.
In Limerick, a new roads scheme between Limerick and Foynes, including a by-pass of Adare village – home to the 2026 Ryder Cup – will now be submitted to An Bord Pleanála seeking planning permission. The Minister says this proposed road scheme will deliver many benefits for the Mid-West region and for the Port of Foynes, which is a designated Tier 1 Port of national significance.
Furthermore, the Minister says the reduction of congestion in Adare village is also a key priority. He said the provision of a high-quality dual carriageway link between Shannon- Foynes Port and the M21 at Rathkeale can facilitate further growth and expansion of the Port, leading to increased economic activity in the region and further employment opportunities.
The proposed expansion of the GDA commuter rail fleet aims to increase capacity by approximately 34% in the AM peak time across the Kildare Line, Maynooth Line and Northern Line. The additional carriages will be used with the existing InterCity Railcar (ICR) fleet resulting in longer train sets which can be used across the GDA commuter network, as well as providing additional services on the Maynooth and Northern Lines.
The project aims to be delivered by Iarnród Éireann and overseen by the National Transport Authority with funding provided as part of Project Ireland 2040.
Speaking yesterday, CEO of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham said, "Today’s decision by the Government to give the green light to the purchase of 41 intercity railcars is to be welcomed. Public transport in Ireland is a success story, with the numbers of Iarnród Éireann passengers increasing every year since 2013. However, this has led to capacity becoming a real issue, particularly on commuter services. While it will take two years before any of these carriages enter service, customers will be reassured by the very fact that they are on the way."
Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann, Jim Meade added, "At a time when more and more commuters are switching to rail, this order of 41 additional carriages will bring a welcome boost in capacity for some of our busiest commuter routes. We are set to break the 50 million passenger journey barrier for the first time ever in 2019, and I welcome the commitment from Government, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and his Department and the National Transport Authority to enable Iarnród Éireann to play the fullest role possible in meeting the transport needs of the communities we serve."