Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Contract signed on trains for NI

Northern Ireland Railways train
23 new trains arrived in Northern Ireland from Spain in 2004

A multi-million pound contract has been signed for 20 new Class 4000 trains from Spain for operation on the NI rail network.

The first of the new trains is scheduled to be delivered in 2011 and introduced to passenger service by the end of that year.

The final set will be in service by 2013.

Transport minister, Conor Murphy, described the contract as "a landmark occasion for railways in the north".

"The new trains will be used to increase capacity and frequency across the railways network and to replace all of the old trains still in operation on the network," he said.

"The success of the previous 23 new trains has been evident and passengers have experienced increased service reliability, improved accessibility and overall quality of the railways experience.

"I look forward to this experience continuing with the new trains. Northern Ireland Railways will similarly feel the benefit of having 20 more modern and efficient rolling stock to plan their services."

Mr Murphy, Translink and the Spanish rail manufacturer CAF officially signed the contract for the 20 new trains on Wednesday.

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