Cross-border rail projects don’t often feature in the British Isles, but now two are on the cards as the European Union is investing £17.16 million (€21.45 million) through the INTERREG IVA Programme.

A major upgrade of the Belfast to Dublin ‘Enterprise’ service has been allocated £12.2 million. Involving a significant overhaul of the train’s mechanical systems, new interiors, new livery, replacement of the Passenger Information System and a completely new electronic passenger reservation system and CCTV system; the project is expected to contribute to delivering increased passenger numbers.

Meanwhile, over €6 million has also been awarded to a major refurbishment of the Drogheda Viaduct. Originally built in 1885, the viaduct supports the main Dublin-Belfast railway line and is in need of urgent investment to ensure its long-term efficient operation.

These include steel repairs and full re-painting, renewal of track work over the viaduct, waterproofing of the deck, and installation of a new drainage system.

Match-funding for the projects has been supplied by the Department for Regional Development (DRD) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) in Ireland. Translink will act as lead partner for the Enterprise project with Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) leading on the Drogheda Viaduct refurbishment.