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Iarnród Éireann urged to reopen tunnel

March 22nd 2007

Rail Users Ireland since its foundation has supported and campaigned for the use of the Phoenix Park tunnel route for passenger services. Despite promises made on record by Iarnród Éireann it seems we are no closer to seeing passenger services on this route. For more: http://www.railusersireland.org/campaigns/phoenix_tunnel/

The promise was given before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport

Mr. Meagher: I will try to take the questions raised, and if I leave anything out committee members can come back to me. The first related to the Phoenix Park tunnel, and perhaps I did not explain myself well. We certainly intend to use the Phoenix Park tunnel in the short term to bring trains from the Kildare-Newbridge area into Spencer Dock because there is a demand for that.

Following the opening of Docklands station last week the question is now being asked why Iarnród Éireann have not followed through with the promises they made. The following article by Tim O'Brien appeared in Irish Times page 8 on March 22nd 2007

Iarnród Éireann has reneged on a promise to reopen Dublin's Phoenix Park Tunnel to passenger services from Kildare to the new Docklands station in the financial services centre.

The twin-track route from west of Heuston station passes under the Wellington Monument, and the Garda Depot before emerging near the North Circular Road and serving Cabra, Glasnevin, and Phibsboro on its way to the docklands.

A spur runs into Connolly Station providing access for trains to Tara and Pearse stations. Iarnród Éireann had proposed to reopen passenger services on the route as part of its plans to integrate city centre stations.

Former managing director of Iarnród Éireann Joe Meagher told the Oireachtas Committee on Transport as far back as early 2004 that passenger services would resume following the opening of Docklands station.

However, Minister for Transport Martin Cullen who recently travelled the route with Iarnród Éireann executives said he had been told the route was now considered secondary to the proposed Heuston, Pearse, Docklands interconnector which is not due until 2015.

While Mr Meagher had initially proposed to run services as early as 2006, Mr Cullen said he was now being told the route was longer than the interconnector and that capacity was still an issue in relation to accessing Connolly Station and the new station in the Docklands.

A spokeswoman for Iarnród Éireann confirmed the company view that the link was Iess desirable than the route through Pearse Station.

But the campaign group Rail Users Ireland said the issues was never supposed to be a choice between the Phoenix Park tunnel or the Heuston/Pearse route.

Labour Party spokeswoman on transport Roisin Shortall called on Iarnród Éireannn to resolve the issue and to immediately open the route to passengers "as promised".

Fine Gael transport spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell also said the route should be opened in the short term as the other interconnector was not due until 2015.

Last Updated: October 16 2007 22:40:16
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