Thank you. I will start and will ask Ms Mason to assist with some of the issues regarding Derry-Dublin. Most of the questions asked by the Deputies and the comments of the Chairman relate to new railways, in particular where there are no railways at the current time in a number of counties, or restoring railways which were there in the past. I will deal with this issue first.
As a railway man all my career, 30 years of which have been spent across the water and seven of which were spent here, I am very enthusiastic about restoring and re-opening railways. They have a huge part to play in modern society, in urban and rural areas. I felt very privileged, since I came to Dublin in 2003, to be able to put into practice the policies which have been in place here under the Transport 21 programme to restore and re-open railways. As the Chairman mentioned, we have just re-opened the western rail corridor to link Limerick and Galway, which has been a great success. We are delighted with the numbers we carry. It underpins the policy of bringing back railways.
We are also very pleased with what we did in Cork. One Deputy referred to the Midleton line, which has also been a success. We are also excited about the line to Dunboyne initially and, in due course, to Navan. All of those schemes are part of the Government's Transport 21 capital investment programme for rail. As chief executive of Iarnród Éireann, my job is to implement the rail aspects of that policy, which is what I have done with all my endeavours, with my team, to move quickly, to get on with it and to deliver these schemes on time and on budget.
I do not believe those schemes are the only ones. I am sure there will be more in the future. Developing schemes to bring railways back to those areas which have not had them for some time will require policy decisions which I am not able to take. My task is to implement policy decisions. Policy decisions will need to be taken to move the agenda beyond the existing programme. Being realistic about timescales is very good and I am pleased to hear that people understand these things cannot be done in two or three years. It will be a longer-term programme. If the policy decisions are in place, railways can be delivered, as we have proved, and they can be successful, in terms of the business they can generate.
However, there are things we can do in the meantime with the existing network. Such work will not be done instead of developing extensions to the network, but to develop the existing network. That is why, working jointly with Translink, we are examining a future expansion of the Enterprise service to Belfast. In our presentations I and CIE mentioned the move towards an hourly service. I will ask Ms Mason to contribute in a moment to re-emphasise the developments on the Derry-Belfast route, which offers the opportunity for Derry-Belfast-Dublin.
The development of the existing routes does not need to replace the opportunity for new routes, rather, it is something which can be done more quickly than the longer-term development of new routes. Nevertheless, the message with which I would like to leave the committee in the context of railways is that we have proved so far, with the developments we have achieved in recent years in the Republic, that it is worthwhile. We have developed the western corridor, the Midleton line and the Navan line — the line to Dunboyne and Pace will be open before the end of the year and if we carry on at the present rate it will be ready by the beginning of October. We are very keen to continue the work on the extension to Navan. It offers further opportunities beyond that in due course.
I will ask Ms Mason to comment on Derry services, but first, I will answer a number of other questions. A Deputy asked what will happen in terms of Connolly station. The development there concerns the DART underground network. The northern commuter services which currently have to share Connolly station with the Enterprise services and so on will go down to the DART underground at the Docklands, underneath Pearse station, St. Stephen's Green, Christchurch, Heuston station — with a direct interchange with the intercity service — and emerge in our yards at Inchicore, and then out on to the main line. This will create two DART lines linking at Pearse station.
The surface DART will go from Greystones and Bray, through Dún Laoghaire, as it does at the moment, to Connolly station and Maynooth. The underground DART will comprise the existing northern lines from Malahide and Howth, underground to the Docklands, under the city centre and linking to the lines out of Heuston station. That will create more capacity at Connolly station. As we expand the Enterprise service in the way we would like to, we will not be constrained by capacity at Connolly station. It will always be a critical terminus for the service from the North, but there will be a separation of the commuter services, which will go underground. It is a good programme.
A Deputy asked when it would happen. Construction will start at the end of 2011 and continue during 2012. The precise date of completion has not been fixed, but it will be some time in 2016 or 2017. Nevertheless, it will integrate the railways at Heuston and Connolly, which has long since been a problem since we inherited the railways from those who built them 100 years ago.
Deputy Ó Caoláin asked how it was possible to have a seat ticket without a travel ticket. When we started the on-line booking system, people booked a ticket and were given a seat. Many people who already had a ticket such as old age pensioners who had the free ticket for senior citizens asked how someone who had booked on-line had been given a seat, while they were not able to book a seat using their travel pass. We wanted to do something about this. Others who had bought a ticket in advance decided that they should have booked a seat. For €3 people can book a seat on-line. We have a reminder on the ticket that it is only a seat reservation, but I agree that we should remind people on the on-line screen that they have only booked a seat and do not have a ticket. The system is designed for those who already have a ticket.