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Written Answers. - Rail Services.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 157. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  asked the Minister for Transport Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  the date by which all Irish Rail services will be fully accessible by persons with disabilities; if money has been allocated for this purpose in his Department's estimates for 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23446/02]

Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan It is my policy that Irish Rail should provide the highest possible degree of accessibility for the mobility impaired within the overall resources available to the company. The DART and Arrow suburban rail services are wheelchair accessible over most of the network. The enterprise service on the Dublin-Belfast line and all inter-city services using Mark II and Mark III carriages are accessible.

There are a number of other rail carriages which are not fully accessible and most of these will be phased out over the next three years or so as new wheelchair accessible rolling stock comes on line. The new rolling stock, which will be designed to meet the most up to date accessibility standards, will begin to enter into service from early next summer. The Exchequer cost of these vehicles for 2003 is provided for in the Estimates for my Department. It is anticipated that more than 180 rail carriages for DART, Arrow suburban and intercity will be brought into service over the next few years at which point practically all CIE services will be accessible.

All station upgrades and new station developments take into account the needs of the mobility impaired. There is an ongoing programme in place to provide either ramps or lifts at stations to make platforms accessible and other accessibility improvements are also undertaken when stations are being refurbished.

Question No. 158 answered with Question No. 71.

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