Radical overhaul of current rail network needed if West is to prosper – Rabbitte

Published on: 08 May 2019

Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East and European Parliament candidate for Midland-North-West Anne Rabbitte has said a radical overhaul of the country’s rail network, including high speed rail, could bolster prosperity in the West and North West.

Deputy Rabbitte commented “We need to start thinking outside the box and our current rail network is one area that we could look at overhauling. If we were to set out a multi-year investment programme, sourcing funds from the European Investment Bank, for example, we could create a new vision for Ireland’s transport and one that would completely modernise our rail network. The goal here is a high-speed point to point rail service.

“Why does it take two and a half hours to travel from Galway to Dublin on the train when there’s technology that could shorten it to an hour? It would then be a reasonable proposition that someone could live in Galway and work in Dublin. Connectivity is key.

“Expanding on the idea, if we targeted a number of key urban areas across the north west – Castlebar, Sligo, and Roscommon for example – and connected them with larger hubs, it would completely change how our transport network operates. At a minimum, we need to initiate a feasibility study so we can see what options are on the table. This would also afford us the opportunity to investigate the potential to reduce carbon emissions in our transport systems.

“There is a disproportionate focus on Dublin and it’s going to damage the country’s competitiveness. The government simply rehashes the same ideas without much substance. Figures revealed to Fianna Fáil have shown that no new rail carriages have been bought since 2016. This is while trains are full to dangerous levels.

“An upgrade of the rail network to offer high speed services is bold idea but as we face into the future, we need to make sure the country is positioning itself such that we can demonstrate how we’ve continued to modernise and adapt to the needs of both people and business. This would attract jobs and, hopefully, see a fairer approach to the country’s transportation networks,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.

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