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Rail Network

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (170, 231)

Rose Conway-Walsh


170. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Transport the reason the Western Rail Corridor was excluded from the National Development Plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53694/21]

View answer

Mairéad Farrell


231. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Transport the status of the progress of the western rail corridor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53835/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 231 together.

As reiterated in the National Development Plan, a Strategic Rail Review is being undertaken to provide a strategy for the development of inter-urban and inter-regional rail on the Island of Ireland over the coming decades. Work has commenced on the Review and, for the information of the Deputies, a consultation exercise will form part of the review and is expected to launch shortly.

The Strategic Rail Review will consider the potential scope for improved rail services along the various existing, or future potential, corridors of the network. That scope will also include the potential afforded by disused and closed lines such as the potential of the Western Rail Corridor. Indeed I would note that the National Development Plan specifically refers to that fact.

For the Deputies' information, overall this Review will review the rail network with regard to the following ambitions: improving sustainable connectivity between the major cities (including the potential for high-/higher speed(s)), enhancing regional accessibility and supporting balanced regional development and improving rail connectivity to our international gateways including consideration of the role of rail freight.

This will be one of the most significant reviews of the rail network on the island in many years and will provide a framework to develop a much-improved rail network in the years ahead. I expect the Review will be completed within 12 months.

Question No. 171 answered with Question No. 159.