Rail review considers improving connectivity to Shannon Airport

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan

A STRATEGIC Rail Review, which is now at an advanced stage, is considering improving rail connectivity to Shannon Airport.

That’s according to Transport Minster Eamon Ryan, who was responding to a call from Limerick Green Party TD Brian Leddin to outline plans for the further development of the rail connection from Limerick to Shannon Airport over the next five years.

Replying to Deputy Leddin’s question in the Dáil, Minister Ryan explained that the issue of a rail spur from Limerick to Shannon Airport has been considered in the context of the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS).

“In addition to the improved access to Shannon Airport proposed under BusConnects Limerick, LSMATS provides for the route identification and protection of a potential future rail line that would serve Shannon Airport.

“However, in the immediate term, the Strategy highlights that a bus-based connection between Colbert Station and Shannon Airport would have 84 per cent occupancy compared to 24 per cent for a rail link. To increase the viability of a potential rail link, the Strategy recommends a focused approach to land use to support rail-based transport-oriented development,” the Green Party leader said.

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The Minister then informed the Limerick politician that the Strategic Rail Review is also considering the future of the rail network with regard to, among other ambitions, improving rail connectivity to our international gateways, including Shannon Airport.

“Work on the Review is now at an advanced stage and it is expected that a draft will be published for the purposes of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) public consultation in July. Following the SEA process and finalisation of the report, it is expected that it will be submitted for the approval of the Minister for Transport and Government in the autumn, as well as to the Minister for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland,” Minister Ryan concluded.