Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (512)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

512. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will increase capacity on a train line (details supplied) from west County Dublin to Connolly Station in order to overcome existing overcrowding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50052/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport. Operational issues, such as those described by the Deputy, are a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance, in consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA).

The Deputy will be aware that there are a number of steps being taken to increase capacity on the rail network.

This year additional off-peak services were added to our rail network which have provided increased options for people who have the flexibility to travel outside the core commuter hours.

However, clearly I recognise the need to expand the physical infrastructure so that we can expand peak-time services also, and in that regard Government very recently approved the proposed purchase of 41 additional InterCity Railcars to increase capacity on the rail network including the Maynooth line. This additional stock will increase capacity by around 34% on the Maynooth, Kildare and Northern lines in the morning peak time and is expected to commence entry into service the year after next.

Furthermore and for the Deputy's information, in May this year the NTA and Iarnród Éireann commenced pre-qualifying in relation to a 10-year procurement framework for a minimum of 300 electric and battery-electric units with the potential for that to increase to 600 over the life of the procurement framework. This proposal forms part of the DART Expansion Programme which will see both the Maynooth Line and the Kildare Line (to Hazelhatch) electrified and I expect to receive a business case in relation to the overall programme next year. That programme will roughly double the capacity of the network in the morning peak time and will be transformative in terms of its expansion of rail services.