Innovation and Networks Executive Agency

Priority Project 9 Priority Project 9

Railway axis Cork–Dublin–Belfast–Stranraer

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This project concerns the upgrade of the existing rail link between Ireland’s three largest cities - Cork and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, and Belfast in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, improved connections to the rest of Europe will be realised via the ferry link between Larne and Stranraer (in Scotland). The 502 km route upgrading serves both freight and 160 km/h passenger services. The scheme was designed to increase the speed and frequency of both passenger and freight services, contributing to the shift of traffic from the roads, especially for cross-border trips. With this axis substantially completed in 2001, further investments in both rail and road had been planned to develop higher capacity connections between Dublin and both Northern Ireland and Ireland, and to set up a driver information system to improve traffic management (see PP26).


The investment was completed successfully and brought significant benefits to both countries. It improved the mobility and connectivity between the Republic of Ireland, Northern IreIand and mainland Europe. It led to a significant increase in rail demand and to a significant modal shift from road to rail. The Project addressed peripherality directly and helped to stimulate cross-border linkages within the Single European Market.

Learn more about the active projects managed by the Agency that make up Priority Project 9:

As this website continues to be updated and enhanced, more project information will be added as it becomes available!