Expansion in Dundalk services, including extra morning peak express proposed
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe TD was at Connolly Station today, to launch a public consultation on a major DART service expansion planned for early 2016. The service enhancement in response to continuing passenger growth is the highlight of draft 2016 schedules for Connolly routes, now published for feedback from rail customers as part of a public consultation.
Draft schedule revisions for 2016 for Connolly routes (DART, Northern Commuter, Maynooth/M3 Commuter, Sligo/Dublin, Rosslare/Dublin and Belfast/Dublin) have now been posted online at www.irishrail.ie for customers to review and comment upon.
Major changes to Connolly services in response to increases in customer demand include:
- DART weekday 10-minute frequency: A major increase in weekday DART frequency from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes all day.
- DART weekday earlier start time: The first DART services are proposed to operate at 05.50 from Malahide (currently 06.30), 06.00 from Howth (currently 06.05), and 05.35 from Bray (currently 05.40)
- DART weekend frequency: A consistent schedule every 15 minutes on Saturday, and every 20 minutes on Sunday, eliminating some existing schedule gaps.
- Extra express morning peak service from Dundalk/Drogheda: as the existing morning Belfast Enterprise service will now serve Dundalk at the earlier time of 07.30hrs and Drogheda at 07.54hrs, a new express service is proposed to depart Dundalk at 07.55hrs, serving Drogheda at 08.20hrs.
- Increased frequency for Dundalk: This peak service is one of three new services in each direction daily for Dundalk on weekdays.
- Dublin/Belfast Enterprise changes: a revised Dublin/Belfast Enterprise schedule will see a more even interval between services, resulting in some significant changes to departure times.
- Departure time changes on all Connolly routes: while the above are the more significant changes, Iarnród Éireann advises all customers on all Connolly routes to view the draft schedules, as many services will see departure time changes, or changes to stopping patterns of individual trains which may affect their journeys.
The draft schedules have been developed with the National Transport Authority, and final changes arising from public consultation and implementation are subject to the approval of the Authority.
Passenger growth accelerating
The enhanced services proposed follow passenger growth over the past two years, with Iarnród Éireann passenger numbers building on growth which saw journeys increase from 36.7 million in 2013 to 37.8 million in 2014, with 5% growth recorded so far this year across all services. DART growth is greater still, up 8% so far in 2015.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “The new changes that are being proposed for Connolly routes will offer enhanced frequency on services into and out of that station, giving commuters more choice and better connectivity. This should help Iarnród Éireann to continue to build on the success they have had in recent years in growing passenger numbers. Proposed changes which will see DART services running every 10 minutes and for longer hours will be great news for customers as it should mean less congestion on carriages at peak times and enhanced reliability, both of which will be welcomed. The consultative process which Iarnród Éireann is undertaking in respect of Connolly plans puts customers – those who rely on the company – at the centre of the process, which is as it should be. The fact that workable proposals that cannot be accommodated for upcoming changes are to be retained in a database so that they might be incorporated in the future also demonstrates the seriousness with which Iarnród Éireann takes customers’ views. I look forward to the outcome of this process and to the changes being put in place in the New Year and to those that are to be announced in respect of Heuston Station in the coming months.”
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, said: “The Authority is responding to this growth in demand for travel by working with Iarnród Éireann to increase the frequency of DART and commuter services on the Northern line. We continue to work in close partnership with Iarnród Éireann’s team and we look forward to seeing how the public respond to these proposals. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in these plans to make their views known by December 8th, 2015”.
Jim Meade, Iarnród Éireann Director of Train Operations said of the proposed new schedules “we are delighted to be in a position to propose significant service enhancements for our existing customers and to enable more people switch to our services. In particular, our proposed 10-minute DART frequency will grow our daily service capacity by almost 25%, and make the DART on weekdays a ‘turn up and go’ service from first train in the morning til last at night. We’re also pleased to be in a position to enhance our Dundalk services to meet customer demand.”
The draft 2016 schedules are online for customers to review and give feedback to Iarnród Éireann as part of the timetable planning process, which is overseen by the National Transport Authority. The consultation period continues until Tuesday 8th December and draft timetables and feedback forms are online at www.irishrail.ie .
The public consultation process enables customers to express their opinions on changes proposed, or any other schedule issues they wish to see addressed. These are then examined before the final timetable is adopted. Iarnród Éireann is asking customers for their opinions on the proposed schedule, which can be submitted via an online form.
Comments and concerns will be examined to identify major issues and improvements suggested by customers. Iarnród Éireann will endeavour to implement customers’ suggestions where possible.
Suggested alterations which cannot be implemented at this timetable change will be retained in a database for consideration at future timetable reviews. It is then intended to implement the new schedule, incorporating customer feedback where possible and subject to the approval of the National Transport Authority, early in the New Year.
It is intended that the move to a DART service every 10 minutes at weekdays would be the first phase in a programme of DART service expansion which would also include further weekend service expansion.
Draft schedule revisions for Heuston routes will be published early in the New Year for implementation in Spring 2016.
Full information is available for customers at www.irishrail.ie