By Dan Walsh
Senator Malcolm Byrne has called for an urgent plan of investment in the Dublin to Rosslare railway line following a report from Irish Rail that warned that parts of the line are at long term risk of falling into the sea as a result of coastal erosion and flooding.
The Irish Rail report states that due to the increase in storm incidences linked to climate change, action to protect the line is needed over the next decade to ensure that trains can continue to run on the coastal route.
“This is a vital transport link between Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford. We need to encourage greater use of trains. It is critical that we protect the rail infrastructure.” Senator Byrne told WexfordLocal.com and he added; “Climate change and rising sea levels have serious consequences. We are now seeing the direct impact. We will be spending a lot more on mitigating measures in the near future.”
The Irish Times reports that infrastructure works costing at least €230 million are required to protect parts of the South Dublin Dart line between the Merrion Gates and Greystones in Co Wicklow from collapsing into the sea, according to Irish Rail assessments.
The East Coast Railway Infrastructure Protection Projects scheme is designed to defend the Dublin to Rosslare coastal rail line, which carries Dart and mainline services, from erosion and flooding for the next 50 to 100 years.
Incidences of “track washout” where the sea has eroded the land under the rail line, and wave “overtopping” on to the tracks, have increased in the last 20 years, Irish Rail said. “These instances have had significant performance impacts and safety consequences as well as major losses of land and habitats.”
Some of the most vulnerable sections of the line are around Dalkey and Killiney, as well as sections between the Merrion Gates and Dún Laoghaire Harbour, and Bray Head and Greystones.
From Enniscorthy to Wexford the line runs beside the River Slaney while the Wexford to Rosslare portion of the track is coastal and is vulnerable to flooding and serious storm damage.