Enterprise is the cross-border inter-city train service between Dublin Connolly in the Republic of Ireland and Belfast Central in Northern Ireland, jointly operated by Iarnród Éireann (IE) and NI Railways (NIR). It operates on the Belfast–Dublin railway line.


Current fleet

Each Push-pull trainset consists of seven coaches and a 201 Class locomotive. The 28 coaches were delivered as four sets of seven but entered service as three sets of eight, with two locomotives from each operator. The coaches were manufactured by De Dietrich Ferroviaire, while the locomotives are from GM-EMD; ownership of the rolling stock is shared between both operators, with coach maintenance by NIR and locomotives maintained by IE. The coaching stock is based on the Class 373 EMU stock used by Eurostar, with the interiors identical. The EMU stock is articulated and permanently coupled, but the Enterprise is ordinary coaching stock.

The service has suffered from a lack of reliability of the locomotives, which provide head end power to the train. Unlike IÉ's Dublin-Cork services, which operate with the locomotive operating with a generator control car that provides power for lighting and heating the train, the Enterprise fleet is equipped with an ordinary control car, which has no power generating capability. This means that the locomotive has to provide all the power for the train, both motive and generating. Extended operation in this mode causes damage, so four further locomotives were allocated to Enterprise from the IÉ fleet. However, this still required locomotives to be used in HEP mode, so in May 2009 the Minister for Regional Development in Northern Ireland requested an estimate for the provision of generator functions for the existing rolling stock so that head-end power mode would no longer be needed.

On 10 September 2012 a modified Mk 3 Generator van, former 7604, was introduced.

If an Enterprise set is unavailable, either NIR's "Gatwick" stock rake of coaches or an IÉ set can be used. Both NIR and IÉ have equipped six each of their newest DMUs (C3K, C4K, 22000, and 29000 ) to each other's specifications so they may be used in the event of a breakdown.
In November 2007 the cross-border IBEC-CBI Joint Business Council, in a submission to the North/South Ministerial Council, stated that Enterprise was falling behind compared to the improvements of other international rail providers, with delays "often up to an hour" and serious reliability problems and an uncompetitive journey time against making the journey by road.

After years of saying the opposite, NIR has recently admitted that the train is so frequently broken down that it is no longer fit for purpose and requires £500 million investment to bring it up to an acceptable standard. Its average speed of 43 mph (69 km/h) makes it one of the slowest intercity connections in Western Europe. With the faster road journey to Dublin and the Enterprise's unreliability and infrequency, it has been running at a loss as passengers switch to much cheaper and faster alternatives.

I visit Belfast at least once every year and I usually travel by Enterprise but the train broke down during my last three trips to Belfast,
17 January 2015

A major upgrade of the Belfast to Dublin ‘Enterprise’ Carriages is currently taking place.

The Enterprise service has long been considered a relaxing way to travel between Dublin and Belfast, whether you’re travelling on business or for leisure. Operating eight services in each direction, Monday to Saturday and five journeys in each direction on Sundays, it offers a high quality, value for money service which is convenient, comfortable and a safe travel option.

As part of our commitment to maintaining our high standards of quality and comfort on board, a refurbishment program is underway to deliver the following enhancements:

A significant overhaul of the train’s mechanical systems,
Modern attractive new interiors/seating,
New 21st Century livery,
Replacement of the Passenger Information System,
A new electronic passenger reservation system,
New CCTV system.
This mid-life refurbishment is designed to make rail transport between Ireland’s two largest cities even more comfortable and attractive for our existing and prospective customers.

The scheme which is financed through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with support from the Department for Regional Development, is due to be completed by the end of 2015.

To enable refurbishment works to these carriages, the regular Enterprise Train will be replaced by Irish Rail Intercity Diesel Railcars (ICR) on the following services from 17th November 2014;

07:35hrs Connolly Belfast
10:35hrs Belfast Connolly
13:20hrs Connolly Belfast
16:05hrs Belfast Connolly
19:00 Connolly Belfast
21:35 Belfast Connolly

The 20:05hrs service from Belfast to Dublin Connolly will be deferred until 21:35hrs until further notice.

There will also be a new 10:30hrs service from Belfast to Connolly on Saturdays only in the run up to the Christmas period.

These services will have reduced 1st Plus and Enterprise capacity. More information is available at , who are undertaking the refurbishment project on behalf of both companies.

A revised Sunday timetable will also come into effect on Enterprise services from Sunday 16th November to better match customer demand, click for full information on these changes.