Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

117 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Transport if his consent was sought for the decision for Irish Rail to cancel the tendering process for improvements to the signalling system on the DART lines which are required to allow more frequent services; when the money will be provided for the improved signalling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2616/03]

I recently approved €125 million in Exchequer funds to upgrade the DART system. This will provide for an upgrade in the power supply and platform extensions to allow the operation of eight-car DART trains. I also approved Exchequer investment to facilitate the acquisition of 36 new additional DART cars. These are in addition to the 38 new DART cars already delivered and in service since 2000. On completion in 2005 of the DART upgrade project, it will result in a 100% increase in capacity since 2000.

Iarnród Éireann are currently in discussions with my Department regarding the works required to upgrade the signalling system in the Dublin city centre area. While no specific proposals were made to me in relation to the tendering process, I understand from the company that this project gives rise to operational and technical resource issues within Iarnród Éireann which are currently being addressed. It is hoped that work could commence during 2004 which would provide the scope for additional increase in capacity in the system.