Tipperary rail group welcomes commitment to upgrade line and talk of new service
The commitment to complete the upgrade of the Limerick to Ballybrophy line in 2022 and reports that additional services are being considered by the NTA is good news, according to campaign group North Tipperary Community Rail Partnership.
NTCRP has welcomed comments by the National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham in a reply to Deputy Alan Kelly on February 15, confirming that the introduction of an additional middle of the day service on the Limerick to Ballybrophy line, which we have campaigned for, is being considered as part of a timetable review undertaken by both the NTA and Iarnród Eireann (IÉ).
They noted that Minister Ryan told the Oireachtas Transport Committee on January 26 that there was a need to invest in the line and he was of the view that strategic use needs to be made rather than “let them just chug along at bare minimum use or do we want to make strategic use of them? I think we should make strategic use of them. I think we should build new stations along that line.”
In a statement, NTCRP agrees with the Minister and welcomes Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) CEO Jim Meade’s comments to the committee on Thursday, answering a question from Deputy Michael Lowry, that the IÉ is awaiting confirmation for additional funding of €6.5m by Ministers Ryan’s department to allow the completion of the upgrade of the line with CWR by the end of 2022. The renewal of four miles is already funded in this year’s budget and this will allow the remaining eight miles of old track to be upgraded.
Ms Graham’s reply to Deputy Kelly noted that there was no additional funding provided in the PSO for the line for additional services in 2022.
NTCRP said that they will work with Deputy Kelly and all political stakeholders to ensure that Minister Ryan’s department provides additional funding in the 2023 PSO for more services to be introduced on the line.
Virginia O’Dowd, chair of the NTCRP said: “This is good news. We believe that IÉ should be able to introduce the transformational middle of the day service in early 2023, when this funding is provided.
"We know the train to provide the service is available, and with the upgrade now planned to be completed by the end of 2022, it’s a realistic target to allow the third service to be introduced in early 2023, if Minister Ryan’s Department provides additional funding.”
Ms O’Dowd added: “It allows sufficient time for IÉ to ensure the additional driver resource needed to operate this service, is put in place. We ask all our Deputies and Senators to lobby the Minister to ensure this funding is put in place to deliver this as soon as possible.”
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