Iarnród Éireann has awarded leading Irish builder and contractor John Sisk & Son the contract for the first phase of works to reinstate the Limerick to Foynes rail line for freight services, with mobilisation and physical works set to commence in early February.The project for phase 1 of the works has been funded by the Department of Transport, and will focus on track and track bed works, vegetation clearance, fencing and works at bridges, level crossings and public road crossings. The 42km railway line between Limerick and Foynes originally opened in 1858 but closed to passenger traffic in 1963. Freight services continued until 2001. The line’s reinstatement is a key element of Iarnród Éireann’s Rail Freight 2040 Strategy to dramatically increase the levels of freight on Ireland’s rail network.Works being undertaken by John Sisk & Son as part of the GBP 65 million contracts for phase one of this project includeVegetation clearance and removal of existing trackReplacement of track formation and installation of a new ballast bed to current Iarnród Éireann standardsRehabilitation and / or renewal of bridges and culvertsInstallation of new rail and concrete sleepers along the entire routeRenewal of road infrastructure at public road level crossingsRenewal of accommodation level crossingsRenewal of lineside fencingInstallation of infrastructure to accommodate the next phase of the projectWith vegetation clearance already underway, the major physical works will begin in February 2023 and will be complete by late 2024.Phase two of the project will include provision of a signalling system for the route, CCTV level crossings, train communications system and track connections and upgrades at Limerick and in Foynes Yard. Subject to funding allocation for phase 2, it is anticipated that the route will open for freight services in 2025.