Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) has said it hopes to begin installing a new advanced train protection system on its network by the end of the year.
The announcement was made in Irish Rail’s 2016 safety report – the first annual safety report ever published by the operator.
In a section about the risk posed by a signal passed at danger (SPAD), the operator said testing of a new system was “well advanced” and that it was in discussions with the regulator to gain the necessary approvals.
Funding for the project has now been confirmed by the government, said Irish Rail, and installation is due to begin before the end of 2017.
There are also plans to open a new National Train Control Centre (NTCC) which will provide “A modern, modular, fully integrated Traffic Management System (TMS)”.
The report showed an improved safety performance in many areas. One aspect that didn’t improve was customer safety, with 261 recorded incidents in 2016 compared to 202 in 2015. Irish Rail said the figure was comparable with the UK rail network when taking into account the 8 per cent increase in passenger numbers.
Writing in the report’s introduction, chairman Phil Gaffney said: “Safety expertise at board level in Iarnród Éireann has been considerably strengthened in recent years and at executive level, senior leadership training in strategic safety management has provided further support to ensure progress is sustained.
“All combined, rail travel remains the safest form of land-based transport in Ireland.”