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Brennan Welcomes Rail Network Report

RTE News, 25 April 2003

The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan, has welcomed a new report on the national rail network, saying it is very realistic and anchored in common sense.

The review, which has been billed as the most comprehensive ever undertaken of the Irish rail network, recommends that nearly euro8.5 billion be spent by the State over the next twenty years.

The 267-page consultants' report, which was published in Dublin this morning, has advised the development take place in three phases.

The report says priority should be given to maximising the capacity of current routes.

The bulk of money to be spent between 2003 and 2008 would go on upgrading lines linking Dublin to Galway, Waterford, Rosslare, Westport and Ballina, Sligo and Cork.

It is also recommended that there should be enhancements and expansions of the DART, Dublin and Cork suburban services - as well as a new tunnel connecting Dublin's Heuston and Connolly stations and a new stop at Spencer Dock.

Rail campaigners in the West will be angered that the proposed Western Rail Corridor linking Sligo to Cork has not met with approval, nor has a proposed rail connection between Letterkenny and Derry.

Other plans not given priority include Limerick Junction to Rosslare and Connolly Station to Navan.

Despite his welcome for the report, Minister Brennan said he did not believe it was ambitious enough because there was no mention of high-speed trains in the 20-year strategy.

In a departure from the report's recommendations, Mr Brennan said he would like to see the Western Rail corridor happen and he would keep an open door for community groups to come back to him.

He added that the report was not a set of handcuffs and he could accept new proposals.

In another departure from the report, Mr Brennan said he would like to see the recommendations of the report implemented quicker.








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