Written Answers. - Rail Network.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

199 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if consideration will be given towards the upgrading of the rail line to Portlaoise, County Laois, in the context of the extension of the Arrow commuter service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7726/01]

The national development plan provides for the quadrupling of track between Hazelhatch and Sallins to allow for improved commuter services into Heuston Station. This project is at design stage and will benefit commuter services between Portlaoise and Dublin.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

200 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a railway bridge on the Dublin/Cork railway line between Portarlington and Monasterevin in the townland of Kilmullen and known as Hope's Bridge, is in a very bad state of repair; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact that the repair work carried out on this bridge has been little more than inadequate patching, in view of the fact that some of the bridge has recently fallen on to the track; and if she will instruct Iarnród Éireann to carry out appropriate repairs in order to avert a disaster. [7912/01]

The safety of the railway bridge known as Hope's Bridge and any other railway bridge is an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have, therefore, no function in the matter.

However, I understand from Iarnród Éireann that while Hope's Bridge has been struck in the past by road vehicles, it is not in bad repair, no material has recently been dislodged on to the railway and the approach walls and parapet walls adjacent to the railway interface are sound. Following past bridge strikes the bridge was repaired and buttressed as necessary.
I understand some further repairs are required to a wall on the approach to the railway bridge but these do not affect the railway interface. Iarnród Éireann has been in contact with Laois County Council regarding those repairs and a meeting has been arranged to discuss the construction of a robust impact barrier for the bridge