Murphy addresses International Rail Forum in Spain
Sinn Féin Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, today addressed the 7th International Rail Forum in Spain.
Speaking at the Forum, the Minister said: “I welcome the opportunity to be in Valencia to speak about railway policy in the North of Ireland and how developing public transport can help to achieve economic recovery on a cross-border basis at this time.”
The Minister explained that investment in railway services had increased considerably since the devolution of powers to local politicians here, saying: “Over the past six years, funding of over £200m has been invested for capital projects across the railways network and over the same period revenue funding of some £130m to meet public service obligation requirements. Future investment includes the purchase of another 20 new trains at a cost of some £105m, with some £37m earmarked to fund a new train maintenance facility and a series of platform extensions. A major track relay is also planned for Coleraine to Derry with work due to commence in 2012.”
Speaking about the improving railway service in the North the Minister said: “There has been a transformation in the quality, comfort and reliability of the railway services. Passenger numbers are increasing rapidly and there is great encouragement for more people to use train services rather than the private car. Through continued investment in public transport services, public transport now delivers over 79million passenger journeys each year across the bus and rail network- a rise of seven million in the last four years and evidence that more people are choosing sustainable transport options.”
On his commitment to sustainable transport, the Minister commented: “I have established a new capability within my department last year with a specific priority of developing more sustainable travel and transport arrangements and recently I hosted a seminar in Brussels on transport as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week. I am committed to providing a modern, sustainable, safe transportation system which benefits Irish society, our economy and the environment, and which actively contributes to social inclusion and quality of life on the Island."