Thursday 13 December 2018

'Enterprise' seeks funding for fast-track

The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train. Photo: Tourism Northern Ireland
The Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train. Photo: Tourism Northern Ireland

Margaret Canning

The Enterprise train between Belfast and Dublin could run every hour, with journey times cut to less than two hours under new plans requiring £239m (e271m)in investment.

Translink and Republic of Ireland counterpart Iarnród Éireann have launched a plan for what they hope to achieve over the next five years.

At the moment there are eight links a day taking around two hours and 10 minutes.

The carriers are seeking to introduce a new fleet to allow for an hourly frequency between the two cities at a cost of £44m. And with £195m additional investment in infrastructure and line improvements, it sets out the ambition to reduce the average journey time to under two hours.

The long-term aim is to introduce electrification on the line and new rolling stock - a process costing £630m - which would cut the journey time between the cities to an hour and a half or less.

"Developing the Enterprise service will be essential to further strengthening economic links and is key to building competitiveness and increasing close communication links between our two capital cities," said Translink chairman Frank Hewitt.

And Iarnród Éireann chairman Frank Allen said: "The next steps are to secure funding to take this project forward. Translink and Iarnród Éireann are keen that approval is granted to start procurement of a new Enterprise fleet and to fund a project to undertake a detailed technical and feasibility study to further assess the journey time improvement options."

Irish Independent

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