€1bn rail network deal signed to improve reliability and punctuality of trains

A new five-year contract has been signed that will see €1bn invested in the country's rail infrastructure.

The funding, that will cover 2020 to 2024, will be used to improve service reliability and punctuality as well as improved journey times.

The funding, which is approved by the Government, is being provided through the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC) which will be entered into by Minister Ross and Iarnród Éireann for the years 2020 to 2024.

The investment will be made in rail civil engineering programmes, including track relaying, signalling improvements and safety initiatives.

Barry Kenny, Corporate Communications Manager at Iarnrod Eireann, said: "This is about renewal of essential infrastructure, such as rails, bridges, level-crossings.

"The investment that is going to see more trains is funded separately under the NDP, so that is happening as well and that will mean we will be investing in facilities at Connolly, at Heuston, at Docklands to allow more trains to operate in those key hubs and that allows more trains to operate anywhere around the network."

Barry Kenny
Barry Kenny

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross announced the five-year investment programme today saying it was “a significant step forward” for funding the rail system.

He said this tranche of money marked an almost 40% increase on the level of funding provided between 2014 and 2018.

He said: “This level of investment means that the rail network is now being funded at the ‘steady state’ level required to ensure optimal maintenance, renewal and improvement of our rail infrastructure.”

Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade said: “The very welcome agreement of the contract for 2020 to 2024 enables our Infrastructure team to continue to maintain and enhance the safe provision of our physical network over this five-year period.”

The rail network currently extends to around 2,400 km of operational track, including 144 stations, 4,440 bridges and 970 level crossings.

It includes main line, Dublin suburban and commuter passenger routes, as well as freight-only routes.

Funding for IMMAC 2020 to 2024 will be provided through allocations made under Project Ireland 2040.

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