John Sisk & Son has been awarded a €65 million contract by Iarnrod Eireann for the Limerick to Foynes freight rail line reinstation.
As part of Iarnród Éireann’s Rail Freight 2040 Strategy, the overall objective is to rehabilitate and renew the existing track and civil engineering infrastructure on the railway line.
Phase One of current plans will include earthworks, the installation of sleepers and rail (supplied by Irish Rail) and also the maintenance and renewal of bridges, culverts, fencing and the road infrastructure at public road level crossings.
Vegetation and existing track will also be removed and a new ballast-bed is required. Bridges along the route will also be made safe.
A further 13 level crossings along the route will also be renewed as well as boundary fencing and drainage.
The installation of service routes for future line signalling, telecoms infrastructure and level-crossing automation is also expected.
Phase One is expected to take 18 months, with initial vegetation removal work commenced by John Sisk & Son in November of last year.
Phase Two will then see the provision of a signalling system for the route, CCTV-level crossings, trains communications systems and track connections and upgrades at Limerick and Foynes yard.
This work is due to be completed by 2025.
“There is real momentum behind the Foynes line reinstatement project. With Exchequer funding having been confirmed in November, we are delighted to be able to announce the contract award to Sisk just weeks later,” said Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive Jim Meade.
“In partnership, we look forward to bringing this critical, sustainable infrastructure to fruition, as we contribute to the decarbonisation goals for transport in Ireland.
Paul Brown, CEO of John Sisk & Son, expressed the company’s delight in delivering “more vital rail infrastructure”.
“At Sisk we are active across our business in delivering sustainable infrastructure and this line, initially being brought back into service for freight, is part of Iarnród Éireann’s Rail Freight 2040 Strategy, and the recently launched strategic review of the Shannon Foynes Port Company Masterplan, Vision 2041.
“It will bring back the connection between rail and ship services and promote sustainable transport by strengthening freight transport via rail and sea. We look forward to delivering this project in partnership with Iarnród Éireann and our supply chain partners.”
Originally opening in 1858, the 42km line retired passenger traffic in 1963.
Freight services continued until 2001.