MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has announced a €1 billion investment in Ireland’s heavy rail infrastructure over the next five years.
The investment in civil engineering programmes for the network will include track relaying, signalling improvements and safety-related initiatives from 2020 to 2024.
The funding is a 40% increase on the previous five-year investment programme from 2014 to 2018, and will be provided through the Infrastructure Manager Multi-Annual Contract (IMMAC).
The funding will be separate to funding provided for other rail-related projects, such as the National Train Control Centre, the expansion of the Greater Dublin Area Commuter Rail Fleet and planned investment under the DART Expansion Programme.
Delivery of the investment will be monitored by the independent monitoring body the Commission for Rail Regulation (CRR).
Speaking about the new funding, Ross described the investment as a “significant step forward” for Ireland’s rail network.
“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,” he said.
Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade said the funding would allow the company to maintain and enhance its network over the next five years.
“We thank the minister and his officials for their ongoing commitment to the sustainable funding of the national asset which our rail network represents,” he said.
“We are also grateful for the contribution of the CRR who, together with Department officials, engaged in reviewing previous contracts to inform the future works programme and key indicators for monitoring.”