A €1 billion investment programme in the country’s rail network has been announced.
The funding is set to be allocated towards improving service reliability and punctuality and journey times, as well as to ensure the continued safety of services.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross announced the five-year investment programme today.
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.
Minister Ross said 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.