Iarnród Éireann to spend €500m boosting rail freight services by 2040

State rail company to seek cash from Government and EU to fund plan

State rail company Iarnród Éireann will spend €500 million boosting freight services and connecting ports including Cork and Foynes to its network by 2040.

The company plans to add more than 100 new weekly services as part of a plan that will multiply overall freight journeys on its network by five.

Dubbed Rail Freight 2040, the plan will cost an estimated €500 million and involve 25 different initiatives.

These will include reconnecting ports including Cork and Foynes to the network.


The company will build terminals designed to ease the movement of goods between road and rail at different points on its network, including west Dublin and Limerick Junction.

Iarnród Éireann will buy more freight wagons and locomotives to allow it to increase services.

The company pointed out that modern trains cut wear and tear on rails while travelling at higher speeds.

Iarnród Éireann said it would seek cash from the Government and the European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency to help pay for the venture.

“Given the commission’s focus on climate action and decarbonisation, Iarnród Éireann is well positioned to apply for support funding,” the company said.

Iarnród Éireann maintains that the plan could cut 25,000 tonnes of transport carbon emissions every year and cut the number of articulated truck journeys on Irish roads by 140,000.

Interested parties

The company spoke to 50 different interested parties when it was drafting the plan.

Its report on the project notes that Rail Freight 2040’s success will rely heavily on “stakeholders’” co-operation.

Jim Meade, Iarnród Éireann chief executive, said the company aimed to make its service a key part of the freight network.

“Our 2040 strategy sets out a clear path to make this happen,” he added.

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for International Transport and Logistics, noted that the plan complemented the all-Ireland strategic rail review, now the subject of public consultation.

“It will shape and develop the rail network with further opportunities to grow rail freight operations into the future,” she predicted.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas