Transport ministers in Ireland and Northern Ireland have unveiled a new plan to potentially improve rail networks on the island of Ireland.

Irish Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Northern Ireland's Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon unveiled the "All-Ireland Strategic Rail Review". which seeks to explore how Ireland's rail network can be improved. 

Ireland's Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Northern Ireland's Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon unveiled the "All-Ireland Strategic Rail Review" on Wednesday, April 7. 

The project aims to examine how the island of Ireland can improve sustainable connectivity between major cities and enhance regional accessibility, particularly in the northwest of the island. It will also consider who Ireland and Northern Ireland can support balanced regional development through their rail networks.

The review will additionally investigate the feasibility of high-speed trains and whether Ireland's rail network could be used for freight. 

Eamon Ryan said in a statement that an improved rail network had the potential to support social and economic development whilst also improving the environmental sustainability of Ireland's transport network. 

This year is designated as the European Year of Rail and I’m delighted to launch this strategic review of rail here in Ireland," Ryan said in the statement. "I’m particularly pleased that we’ll undertake this review on an all-island basis, working with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive.

"The review will look at how rail can help better connect cities and regions across the island and will complement the investment we already plan in our commuter rail networks." 

Nichola Mallon, meanwhile, said that the Strategic Rail Review would explore opportunities to connect communities and improve local economies.

"Travel by rail is an issue I am very passionate about and I believe it has massive untapped potential to deliver multiple benefits across our island," she said. 

"The All-Island Strategic Rail Review will allow us to consider our network across this island to view how we can improve it for everyone." 

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