Strategic Rail Review

Inside the Process

Inside the Strategic Rail Review consultation process

In April 2021, the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D., and the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland, Nichola Mallon MLA, announced the launch of an all-island Strategic Rail Review (the ‘Review’).

This Review will consider how the rail network on the island of Ireland can improve to promote sustainable connectivity into, and between, the major cities, enhance regional accessibility and support balanced regional development.

The Review will look at how the railways are used, how they could be used in future and how the network can evolve to serve the people on the island of Ireland and achieve policy goals.

In addition, the Review will consider the feasibility of high (above 200km/h¹) / higher (up to 200km/h) speeds on the network and whether there is potential to increase use of the network for freight.

The Review’s focus is not on commuter rail services within the major cities, but it will consider the interactions between proposed improvements to inter-urban rail and existing, or proposed, commuter rail services.

Today’s rail network across the island of Ireland covers around 2,300 kilometers. This review will look at the network’s current conditions and connectivity and identify ways that it can support wider policy objectives.

A Steering Group has been established to support this Review, chaired by the Department of Transport and composed of Department of Transport and Department for Infrastructure representatives, the Rail Operators and other key stakeholders.

The Review’s focus is not on commuter rail services within the major cities, but it will consider the interactions between proposed improvements to inter-urban rail and existing, or proposed, commuter rail services.

The phases of the review

The Review aims to use a data-driven, evidence-based approach to transparently show trade-offs between different objectives and identify viable options for the future of rail across the island of Ireland. The Review will be delivered over three phases:

Phase 1: Review of the current context and role of rail through policy review, data analysis, environmental considerations, development of rail case studies, and consultation to gauge stakeholder and public priorities
Phase 2: Identification of different service and connectivity concepts to address issues and opportunities for rail, applying the insights from Phase 1 to inform the selection of potential options
i
Phase 3: Final appraisal of the developed concepts

Get involved

A key element of the Review will be gaining insights from all stakeholders, which will add significant value to the Review. The purpose of this Consultation Paper is to provide information about how we are going about this Review, its purpose, and give everyone an opportunity to provide information that will inform the consideration of options.

To facilitate this, we ask the public to share their view on the future of rail, framed by the proposed high-level goals and objectives set out in this paper. Alongside this, we will invite key rail stakeholders on the island of Ireland, to share informed insights that could aid the Review.

Further information on how you can contribute to the Review is outlined at the end of this Consultation Paper.