Check against Delivery
I am delighted to be here today to officially open this upgraded station. This is the first Transport 21 funded station to open this year following on from the opening of 3 new train stations last year. I’m also looking forward to officially opening more Transport 21 funded stations along the Cork-Midleton line and on the Western Rail Corridor in the coming months.
Turning to Hazelhatch and Celbridge station itself, Iarnród Éireann has upgraded this station to the highest standards to cater for those with mobility, visual and hearing impairments. The station complex also contains a 397-space Park and Ride facility offering an alternative transport mode for commuters in north Kildare and West Dublin.
The station is serviced by Kildare Commuter services with 25 services per day calling at the station. The delivery of the significantly enhanced station and enlarged parking facility is ahead of schedule offering commuters in the Hazelhatch and Celbridge area a frequent, reliable, speedy and environmentally friendly commute.
The upgrading of Hazelhatch and Celbridge station marks another milestone in the development of the Kildare Route Project which is on schedule to be completed early next year. This is the fourth station to open under Transport21 on this line following on from Adamstown, Park West/Cherry Orchard and Clondalkin/Fonthill stations.
Good progress continues to be made on Kishogue, the other new station on the Route, and it will open on schedule next January.
As you know the Kildare Route Project will include the upgrading of the track system, incorporating 2 additional tracks, to a 4-track system. This will enable the full separation of long-range intercity trains from short-stop local commuter trains, which will in turn facilitate a higher volume of local trains on the line with a resulting benefit in service for daily commuters to Dublin. I would also like to acknowledge the EU contribution towards the project.
While we are here today to mark the opening of Hazelhatch and Celbridge Station, good progress is continuing on many other Transport21 funded projects around the country. As I have already mentioned, work is almost complete on the re-opening of the Glounthaune to Midleton section of the Cork Commuter rail project and likewise the Western Rail Corridor is on target to re-open later in the year. Iarnród Éireann’s new fleet of Intercity Railcars continues to rollout across the Intercity network while work continues on the City-Centre Re-signalling project and the re-opening of the first phase of the Navan rail line. Meanwhile, on the DART Underground work continues preparing a Railway Order for submission to An Bord Pleanala later in the year.
The Public Enquiry in respect of Metro North got underway last month and good progress continues to be made on the 3 Luas extension’s to the Docklands, Citywest and Cherrywood respectively with services due to get underway to the Docklands early next year.
Two of our rail projects, DART Underground and Metro North are amongst the largest in Europe in financial terms. Both are particularly important investments as they form a core part of our planned integrated public transport network for the Greater Dublin Area envisaged by Transport 21.
The Transport 21 programme of investment remains a top priority for the Government.
In the current economic climate, the capital investment behind Transport 21 is essential in maintaining this country’s economic success both by facilitating existing business and in attracting new investment.
All of this investment in transport infrastructure reflects the commitment of the Government through Transport 21 to improve the quality and increase the capacity of both our road and public transport networks. This level of support shows that even in the current economic climate the Government is continuing to invest in public transport and future-proofing the rail network for when the economy recovers.
I will conclude by thanking the Chairman, Chief Executive and staff of Iarnród Éireann for their work in upgrading this station. I look forward to opening the Kildare Route project along this line early next year and in the meantime I wish all those who use Hazelhatch and Celbridge Station, and the services through it, a safe, pleasant and speedy journey.