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Minister Brennan to work with West on Track

Press Release
December 15th 2003

The Minister for Transport, Mr. Séamus Brennan T.D. is to establish a joint working group between his Department and those campaigning for the re-opening of the Western Rail Corridor. He is also to visit the line in late January or early February, accompanied by Minister Éamon Ó Cuív, and local campaigners.

This was agreed at a meeting in the Department of Transport, Dublin on Monday evening last between the Minister and representatives of the West on Track Community Campaign and the Western Inter-County Rail Committee. The meeting was also attended by Deputy John Carty and Senator Mark McSharry.

Minister Brennan was presented with an advance copy of a specially commissioned consultant's report on the railway which included a detailed engineering and photographic survey of the line and costings for the entire project. In addition the report outlined the annual running costs of the line and projected passenger numbers. The Minister said he would study the report with great interest and added that it was clear that an enormous amount of work had gone into its preparation. The Report in full will be published by West on Track in January 2004 and details will not be publicly available until that time.

A spokesman for West on Track said that they had been very warmly received by the Minister and his officials and that the Minister had stated that he envisages the line being re-opened in stages. The time-frame for its re-opening and the order in which that will happen is expected to be among the matters to be studied by Department officials working with the new Joint Committee.

"It is further expected," said the spokesman, "that the terms of reference of the Committee will be agreed early in the New Year and that their work will commence immediately."

"Following the strong support for the Western Rail Corridor in the report of the Western Development Commission, launched earlier at Knock Airport, and the positive statement made by Minister Ó Cuív, it is increasingly clear that it is now a matter of when rather than if, the railway is re-opened."

He added that with the pace of progress being made in recent months, as a result of the huge public support for the project across the region, it would not be unreasonable to expect that the shape of the first phase of the renewal programme would soon become clearer, certainly by Spring of 2004.








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