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Radical new DART+ Plan for Dublin Launched

Transformative DART+ Programme to bring sustainable, more frequent, higher capacity services to all GDA rail corridors 

DART+ West to extend DART to Maynooth and M3 Parkway, and treble capacity of lines

Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan TD, together with Iarnród Éireann and the National Transport Authority, today (26th August) launched the first phase of public consultation for DART+ West, the project which will treble capacity of the rail system from Maynooth/M3 Parkway to Dublin city centre, and see the DART extended to both lines.

DART+ West is the first phase of DART+ Programme (formerly DART Expansion), details of which were also unveiled today.  DART+ is a transformative programme of investment which will provide a sustainable, electrified, reliable, frequent rail service significantly increasing capacity on all the rail corridors serving the Greater Dublin Area, through investment in infrastructure and a fleet of new trains.

DART+ Programme

DART+ Programme is a programme of work whose constituent projects will create a full metropolitan DART network with all lines linked and connected, and frequency and capacity of services significantly enhanced.

The key aspects of the programme are:

  • New DART service to Maynooth/M3 Parkway on the Sligo Line.
  • New DART service to Hazelhatch & Celbridge on the Kildare Line.
  • Enhanced DART service to Bray / Greystones on the South-East Line.
  • New DART services between City Centre and Drogheda on the Northern Line.
  • Purchase of additional trains to support new and enhanced DART services.
  • Upgrade and reconfiguration of existing railway infrastructure in the city centre.
  • Elimination of a number of level crossings to reduce  rail/road conflict that limits train capacity.
  • All civil and bridge works as necessary to accommodate electrification, corridor widenings and increased service level.
  • Upgrades to signalling and communications infrastructure to improve safety and support increase frequency and reliability.
  • DART+ will deliver a range of benefits to communities, commuters and our economy and society, including:
  • A key deliverable under the Climate Action Plan to achieving Ireland’s targets for transport.
  • Passenger capacity and train service frequency will be significantly increased as a result of this project.
  • DART+ Programme will allow more people to make sustainable travel choices and will contribute to a reduction in emissions within Dublin while providing a reliable alternative to private cars.
  • In particular, DART+ will respond to network constraints and increases in demand by utilising existing infrastructure and developing additional interchanges with other public transport modes.
  • The population in Dublin and the surrounding areas is growing rapidly and the city is heavily choked with traffic. Investment is needed in public transport to sustain economic and population growth around the Greater Dublin Area.
  • DART+ Programme will enhance regional heavy rail access to and from the city centre supported by increased frequencies, especially during peak hours.

Speaking at today’s announcement, Minister Ryan said: “As Minister for Transport, I am committed to major investment in all forms of sustainable transport, and that is why I believe that these DART+ plans are so important. We know that when people are offered a sustainable alternative to commuting by car, people respond positively.  We know that when there is a public transport option that is frequent and reliable and that brings them where they want to go, they will grasp it with both hands. I believe that DART+ is a crucial part of providing more people with that option.

But we’re not just looking at DART+ plans in broad terms. The first phase, DART+ West will have a hugely positive impact, not just at its terminal points in Maynooth and Dunboyne, but in areas like Glasnevin, Broombridge, Pelletstown, Ashtown, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, and Leixlip, all of which will now be on an integrated, electrified, fast and reliable, rail network. If we are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions – and I know I am – this is precisely the kind of project that should be happening.”

Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann Jim Meade said: “DART has been one of the nation’s major public transport success stories and DART+, with DART+ West as its first phase, will bring, sustainable, fast and frequent train services to tens of thousands of new and existing customers. We encourage commuters, residents, communities and all stakeholders to participate in the public consultation to ensure we understand and incorporate their views in the ongoing design process.”

Hugh Creegan, Deputy Chief Executive and Director Transport Planning and Investment with the National Transport Authority said: “Under DART+, passenger capacity and service frequency will be vastly improved for people across the rail network in the Greater Dublin Area. DART+ will allow more people to make sustainable travel choices and will contribute to a reduction in emissions in the region by providing a reliable alternative to the private car.There is already progress to report, and the process of evaluating tenders for the purchase of up to 600 new battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) DART carriages is now under way.”

DART+ West

DART+ West is the first of the infrastructural projects of the DART+ Programme to be delivered, and will significantly increase rail capacity on the Maynooth / M3 Parkway Lines.

Once complete DART+ West will enable an increase in capacity of services from 7 to 15 per hour, subject to demand, increasing the current passenger capacity of 4,500 per hour to 13,750 per hour.

This will be achieved by investment in infrastructure, and changing to electrified, high capacity DART trains and increasing the frequency of trains, for communities in Maynooth, Leixlip, Clonsilla, Coolmine, Castleknock, Navan Road, Ashtown, Broombridge and Drumcondra on the Maynooth line, as well as Hansfield, Dunboyne and M3 Parkway on the M3 Parkway line.  New communities to be served by DART+ West will include Pelletstown (station opening in 2021), and Phibsborough/Glasnevin, which will see a new interchange station for MetroLink.  As well as more frequent and higher capacity, communities will also benefit from reduced noise and emissions from electrification of the route.

The planned infrastructure improvements include:

  • 40Km of electrification and re-signalling of the Maynooth and M3 Parkway lines to the city centre.
  • Capacity enhancements at Connolly Station.
  • Capacity enhancements at Docklands Station at current or an alternative site.
  • Closure of six level crossings & provision of replacements accesses for where required for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, to ensure increased service frequency does not result in road congestion at level crossings or impact on connectivity within communities.
  • Construction of a new DART depot facility west of Maynooth Station, to maintain the new DART fleet.
  • Development of a DART Metrolink interchange station (Phibsborough/Glasnevin)
  • All civil, bridge and ancillary works as necessary to accommodate the project.
  • New carriages for the DART+ Programme will be deployed on Maynooth / M3 Parkway services.

DART+ West public consultation – first phase

The first phase of public consultation is designed to present the emerging preferred option for provision of DART+ West to communities and stakeholders along the route. All are encouraged to review the full details at www.irishrail.ie/DARTMaynooth or contact the project team via phone or email.

The feedback will assist in further progressing the design process prior to another public consultation later this year, with the railway order (planning application) process due to take place mid-2021. Construction is expected to commence in early 2022 with completion expected in late 2024.

While significant elements of the programme will take place within the railway boundary, closure of level crossings will see some construction elements for alternative accesses outside the rail alignment.

As a result of increased frequency and service levels on DART+ West, existing level crossings will be replaced by a range of new local arrangements under these plans, particularly in areas such as Ashtown, Coolmine, Porterstown, Clonsilla and Barberstown.

For more information on the Emerging Preferred Route Option and details on how to give feedback, please visit www.irishrail.ie/DARTMaynooth