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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Feb 1979

Vol. 311 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - CIE Rail System.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the safety regulations currently in operation regarding the Dublin suburban rail system; when they were drafted; how they are monitored; and if the condition of existing rolling stock complies with existing public safety regulations.

(Dublin South-Central): I have been informed by CIE that the board's principal safety rules and regulations are contained in the following documents: (1) Rule Book issued in 1967; (2) Regulations for train signalling on double and single lines issued in 1952; (3) The Appendix to the Working Timetable issued in 1935.

All of these documents are updated and amended by CIE from time to time to take cognisance of changing work practices and conditions. Completely new editions of the Signalling Book and Appendix to the Working Timetable are in the course of preparation by CIE and are shortly to be issued. The new editions will not be fundamentally different from the existing amended publications. The responsibility for carrying out these rules and regulations rests with the rail operating and engineering staff. At management and supervisory level CIE have a continuing monitoring system in operation.

I have also been informed by CIE that the passenger rolling stock in use on mainline and suburban rail is subjected to regular safety examinations and only vehicles which satisfy fully these examinations are allowed to operate. The rolling stock used on the Dublin suburban railways complies with CIE's safety regulations. Passenger loading at the peak periods is of crush loading dimensions because of the increase in demand for these services. I have, however, been assured by CIE that while this overcrowding is uncomfortable it is not in itself unsafe. The condition of the rolling stock is not covered by statutory regulations.

In relation to the last part of my question, does the condition of existing rolling stock comply with existing safety regulations?

(Dublin South-Central): CIE have their own regulations and are not subject to the regulations of any Department. The information I have is that they are up to specification.

On the basis of the Minister's reply, am I in a position to reply to representations from constituents and to assure them that, as far as the Minister of State is concerned, the rolling stock is perfectly safe at the moment and that there is no danger to life or limb?

(Dublin South-Central): From the information I have received from CIE that is the case.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport the number of jobs which would be created if the CIE proposal for electrification of the rail system was adopted by the Government.

(Dublin South-Central): It has been estimated by CIE that if their proposals to electrify the Howth/Bray suburban railway are approved, about 280 to 300 jobs would be generated in the implementation of the project over a three to four year period.

Are the Government impressed by that argument, if they are not impressed by other arguments in relation to the electrification proposal?

(Dublin South-Central): The electrification of the railway and the 280 to 300 jobs do not include the job creation which would be brought about by the rolling stock.

I am aware of that. I am attempting to find out what CIE have to produce in order to convince the Minister of the bona fides of their position in this regard. Does the prospect of between 280 and 300 directly created jobs add something in their favour and if so to what extent?

(Dublin South-Central): All these factors will be taken into consideration when the Government make a decision.