Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Questions (78)

Steven Matthews


78. Deputy Steven Matthews asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to matters in relation to the Barrow bridge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28437/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I can inform the Deputy that I am aware of the matter raised and indeed discussed the issue here in the House on the 6th October last and answered Parliamentary Question 167 yesterday in relation to the Wexford to Waterford line generally.

As previously stated, following the closure of the Wexford to Waterford railway line in November 2010, a maintenance agreement was established between the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Iarnód Éireann (IÉ). I am informed that the maintenance agreement was reviewed in 2019 and revised arrangements agreed last year between the NTA and IÉ which reflect the fact that no rail services have operated on the line for just over a decade. Among these revised arrangements is the decision to leave the Barrow Bridge in the ‘open’ position for marine traffic, reflective of the fact that while no rail services have operated on the line for over a decade, the Barrow itself remains open for marine traffic serving New Ross port.

I am informed that a specific mechanism has been designed which will allow the bridge to be safely held open and that the design of this mechanism is such that this can be easily reversed if rail services resume in the future. So while the bridge is being maintained open, this position can easily be reversed if the line is required to go back into service.

Separately, the Deputy is also aware that I am undertaking a Strategic Rail Review to examine the rail network on the island of Ireland in relation to improving sustainable connectivity between the major cities, enhancing regional accessibility, supporting balanced regional development and rail connectivity to our international gateways, with the latter also considering the role of rail freight. The Review will also consider the potential scope for improved rail services along the various existing, or future potential, corridors of the network and that scope will certainly include the potential afforded by disused and closed lines such as the one referred to by the Deputy.