Enterprise train in Belfast

Multi-million pound transformation for Belfast-Dublin rail services

The PEACEPLUS Programme has invested £161.5 million to boost cross-border rail services between Belfast and Dublin.

The funding will support a transformational programme for the cross-border Enterprise train service, which will replace the existing trains with a new fleet by the end of the decade and create an hourly timetable and faster journeys between the two largest cities on the island of Ireland.

The Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said: “I am so pleased by the news of the fantastic investment that is going into the Enterprise Fleet Replacement Programme through the PEACEPLUS Programme.

“The transformation of cross-border rail services between Belfast and Dublin is going to create unique and exciting opportunities for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland alike.

“We should not underestimate the impact that this infrastructure will have on the economic growth of the region, by ensuring there are the right conditions in place to thrive, prosper and be the best place in the world to invest.”

Eamon Ryan statement

The PEACEPLUS Programme is a funding partnership between the UK government, the Irish government, the Northern Irish Executive and the European Union. It is designed to promote peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland.

The Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport in Ireland are also providing funding via the “Enterprise Fleet Replacement Programme”.

Department For Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said: “This is an exciting time for rail travel. The new fleet will pave the way for the Enterprise service to become the first electrified inter-city service on the island which will support our decarbonisation commitments.

“The investment will improve the experience of people travelling by train and encourage others to use these services. By doing so you will be playing your part in our shared journey to net zero as well as enjoying the many benefits to be gained by rail travel.”

This funding will finance the replacement of the current Enterprise fleet of four train-sets with eight new, modern and sustainable train-sets. Enterprise is jointly operated by Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann, and the new trains are designed to evolve as both jurisdictions work towards a fully electrified cross-border rail corridor over the coming decades.

The procurement process for the new train-sets is set to be completed in the coming year, with the fleet expected to be in operation by 2029. The trains will be designed initially to run on electric and battery power, with the possibility to be converted into fully electric operation in the future.

Image credit: iStock


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