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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 6 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Operation of Light Railways.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power what consideration has been given by him or by CIE to converting uneconomic standard railways into rapid transit light railways with a view to reducing the State's subsidy to CIE and providing transport services better suited to people's needs and modern conditions.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power whether consideration is being given by him or by CIE to the replacement of standard heavy railway equipment on suburban rail lines by light electrically operated rapid transit systems; and, if so, if he will make a statement on the matter, particularly as regards capital expenditure, the likely date of installation and whether subways are contemplated.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 8 together.

I am informed by CIE that rapid transit lines invariably involve far heavier capital expenditure than conventional mainline railways. For example electrification and automatic sophisticated signalling would be required with the result that more and not less subsidy would almost certainly be involved.

Foreign experience is that all rapid transit systems for commuter services have to be heavily subsidised by the Government or municipal authorities.

This is not to say that rapid transit lines might not be justified but this could be established only after a comprehensive transportation study covering all forms of commuter transport, private and public, and taking full account also of the other community interests which are obviously affected, i.e. business and housing developments, preservation of existing or development of new amenities, environmental changes etc. CIE and the local authorities are carrying out an examination of the issues involved in Dublin. The problem is a complex one and will require considerable time and study before firm proposals can emerge.