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Improved links to Derry to be explored in new joint-government review of rail network in Ireland

Irish and British government launch study of current railway system throughout the island

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A new joint-government initiative is to study how the rail network in Derry and the north west can be improved.

The North's Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and the Republic's Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan today announced the launch of an all-island Strategic Rail Review.

The review will consider how the rail network on the island of Ireland can improve sustainable connectivity between major cities, enhance regional accessibility including to the north west and support balanced regional development.

In addition, the review will consider the feasibility of high-higher speeds on the network and whether there is a potential to increase use of the network for freight.

Ms Mallon said the review will explore the opportunities to better connect communities and 'open up opportunities for our island economy'.

“Travel by rail is an issue I am very passionate about and I believe it has massive untapped potential to deliver multiple benefits across our island,” she said.

“Since coming into office, I have been clear that it is my priority to address regional imbalance, tackle the climate crisis and better connect communities across Ireland.  

"The all island Strategic Rail Review will allow us to consider our network across this island to view how we can improve it for everyone.

“Building on our commitments in New Decade New Approach to progress a spine of connectivity, this ambitious review, in partnership, will look at opportunities to enhance rail across our island.

“Now, more than ever our citizens deserve ambition in government and we need to take this chance for change to build back better for all peoples across Ireland.

“This is an ambitious piece of work that will help inform our decision making and investment in our rail network for years to come. It’s an exciting start of a journey, many have been waiting for.”

Mr Ryan said he was a 'firm believer' in the potential of rail in supporting social and economic development .

“This year is designated as the European Year of Rail and I’m delighted to launch this strategic review of rail here in Ireland.

“I’m particularly pleased that we’ll undertake this review on an all-island basis, working with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive.

“The review will look at how rail can help better connect cities and regions across the island and will complement the investment we already plan in our commuter rail networks.”

The two ministers said that the Strategic Rail Review will be delivered by external consultants and overseen by the Department of Transport in co-operation with the Department for Infrastructure, supported by key stakeholders including the Commission for Rail Regulation, the National Transport Authority, Iarnród Éireann and Translink.

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