Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (50, 51)

Dan Boyle

Question:

148 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Transport if he accepts that we should be making the maximum use of our current and capital expenditure on all our existing operational rail lines and that there is the potential for the introduction of new commuter rail services on the Nenagh to Limerick rail line; if he accepts that the current service on the line precludes its use by commuters (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that 300 new houses are now being built near Castleconnell station which could benefit from such services; and the arrangements his Department have to co-ordinate with local authorities around the country to ensure that local development plans favour such development close to public transport nodes. [2156/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

My Department maintains constant contact with Irish Rail to ensure that all capital or current funding is used to maximum effect and a number of procedures are in place to extract the best value for money from any investment.

While the detailed operation of individual rail services is an operational matter for Irish Rail, I am aware that the company is examining all regional rail routes to identify where justification for the upgrade of services. I expect that any proposals to re-open or upgrade existing railway lines would need to be supported not only by the local community but also by the use of coherent and cohesive planning strategies in the railways immediate catchment area.

The upcoming regional planning guidelines which follow on from the national spatial strategy will allow the local and regional authorities to develop land use, settlement and economic strategies, which will provide the economic, social and commercial rationale for the provision of transport services. To assist the regional authorities in their important work, officials from my Department are engaged with the all regional authorities to assist and advise them in making strong business cases for the development of public transport in their regions and to make them aware of what are the prerequisites for the development of new transport services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

149 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport when he expects that repair work on the Cahir viaduct will be completed in order to allow the reopening of the Limerick Junction and Waterford line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2133/04]

View answer

I am informed by Irish Rail that the repair work on the Cahir viaduct will be completed and train traffic will resume in July 2004.