Thursday 25 December 2014

Varadkar admits trains worth €44m are ‘surplus to requirement’

Lise Hand and Fiach Kelly

Published 25/01/2013 | 13:22

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar is admitting the 21 idle Irish Rail trains worth €44m are "surplus to requirement".

Mr Varadkar also said he told the cash-strapped semi-state to sell the carriages off or make use of them.

However, they cannot be sold because they have been altered to fit Irish traintracks.

Irish Rail is insisting the cars are used in rotation and “future proof” its network for a pickup in passengers.

“The situation is that the rail carriages were ordered back in 2008 under the Fianna Fail-Green government,” Mr Varadkar said.

“They are surplus to requirement. I was made aware of it a few months ago by Irish Rail and I told them at that stage to either sell them or make use of them.

“But it doesn't make sense to sell them, as they're narrow gauge. They're rolling stock that were designed for a narrow gauge railway and would need to be adapted before they're sold. So it doesn't make sense to sell them

“So what they do at the moment is make use of them for special events and they use them in rotation with the rest of the fleet, which then extends the length and value of that fleet.”

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