Northern Ireland

Irish government to fund hourly train service from Dublin to Belfast - but journey to remain just as long

Irish Rail said it had seen "very high demand" particularly on the Enterprise service to Belfast
A new hourly train service from Dublin to Belfast is expected to be in place by the start of next year following a massive cross-border funding announcement from the Irish government.

AMONG Tuesday’s huge financial announcement from the Irish government, one of the key promises was for an hourly Dublin to Belfast train service.

The Enterprise service has been a constant link between the two cities since 1947 and, at present, a service leaves from either city around every two hours.

Covering a distance of 112 miles, journey times, depending on the service, are two hours and 5 minutes and two hours 15 minutes.

By comparison, in France the train service from Paris to Lyon takes the same amount of time despite covering over 240 miles.

As part of the €800m (683.8m) in Irish government funding, €12.5million (£10.68m) has been allocated for the hourly train service.

The Irish government said the hourly service would double the current frequency and “significantly enhance sustainable transport connectivity between the two largest cities on the island” and act as “a catalyst for economic and social connections” throughout the island.

With funding in place over an initial three-year period, the first hourly service is expected to be fully in place by the start of next year.

Sinn Féin’s North Belfast MP, John Finucane, called the promise of an hourly service from Dublin “fantastic news”.

“Sinn Féin have consistently called for improved connections between Ireland’s two main cities to support the growing needs of business, retail and tourism,” he said.

“This will create greater access for jobs and opportunities, help to tackle the climate emergency and will provide a boost to the thriving all-island economy.

“We must continue to invest in our rail network and improve connectivity across the island.”