Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (516)

Joe O'Brien

Question:

516. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the rolling stock purchased by Irish Rail in recent years is being stored in warehouses and cannot be used. [51512/19]

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. The use, procurement and/or refurbishment of rolling stock is a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance who continue to examine how best to utilise existing and, in consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA), source additional rolling stock as efficiently and effectively as possible while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

As the Deputy may be aware, an option considered by Iarnród Éireann/NTA to increase fleet capacity and utilise existing fleet was the proposed refurbishment and reintroduction of older train sets back into service. This option was ruled out following market consultations which returned costs far in excess of those originally expected and which meant the option would not represent value for money.

However, as the Deputy is also aware, the Government recently approved a proposal submitted by the NTA to proceed with the proposed purchase by Iarnród Éireann of 41 additional InterCity Railcars to increase capacity on the rail network particularly for the Greater Dublin Area. This additional stock will increase capacity by around 34% on the Northern, Maynooth and Kildare lines in the morning peak time and is expected to commence entry into service by late 2021.

The Deputy may also recall that, in May this year, the NTA and Iarnród Éireann commenced the pre-qualifying stage on 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 the further electrification of rail lines in the GDA and I expect to receive a business case in relation to the overall programme next year.