Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (30, 221)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

30. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the rail carriages in storage will be brought into service; the manner in which this is likely to benefit commuters in north County Kildare and throughout the greater Dublin region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48139/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

221. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when rail carriages currently in storage will be redeployed to alleviate current overcrowding on the commuter rail service from Kilcock, Maynooth, Leixlip, Confey, Celbridge and Sallins with particular reference to identifying the most serious deficiencies in this regard with a view to early solution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48505/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 221 together.

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding of public transport.  The procurement and or refurbishment of rolling stock is a matter for Iarnród Éireann in the first instance who, in consultation with the National Transport Authority (NTA), continue to examine how best to source additional rolling stock as efficiently and effectively as possible and ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

In this regard and as the Deputy is aware, an option considered by Iarnród Éireann / NTA to increase fleet capacity 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 did not represent value for money.

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

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.