Dart+ West reaches "crucial milestone" on road to transforming Dublin rail network
The project could end up costing up to €1.1 billion.
The Dart+ West project, a key part of the Dart+ programme, has been given Government approval to enter the planning system, according to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.
The project will involve the construction of a new depot near Maynooth, the electrification of the current Maynooth Line and an upgrading of the infrastructure at both the Connolly and Docklands stations in the city centre.
Dart+ West is described as the "key enabler" of the wider Dart+ programme, for which the Government also approved its preliminary business case.
In a statement, the Department of Transport said the Dart+ programme will:
- Double passenger capacity per hour to 52,000 and treble the length of the Dart network to 150km
- Facilitate sustainable mobility and transport-orientated development in the capital and surrounding counties
- Provide clean and green electrified rail services in line with the targets set in the Climate Action Plan
Dart+ West is crucial to the entire programme as the new depot is to house the vastly extended Dart fleet, while the infrastructure improvements in the city centre will facilitate increased services across the network.
With the Government green light, the Dart+ West project can now apply to An Bord Pleanála for a Railway Order application, once all necessary planning and environmental documentation has been finalised by Iarnród Éireann.
"Iarnród Éireann is currently considering submissions received during the most recent round of non-statutory public consultation on Dart+ West and expect to apply to An Board Pleanála during Q2 2022," a statement on the Government's website reads.
While the final budget and delivery schedule for Dart+ West will not be set until later, the cost of the project is estimated to range from €969 million to €1.1 billion to be funded through the National Development Plan.
Meanwhile, construction is expected to last between three-and-a-half and four years.
The other projects in the Dart+ programme - Dart+ Coastal North, Dart+ Coastal South, Dart+ Fleet and Dart+ South West - are at different stages of development and will be separately brought for Government approval.
📢Dart+ West has been given government approval to enter the planning system
Government also approved preliminary business case for the wider DART+ Programme:
🚉 double capacity
🛤️ treble network
⚡️ electric rail
A milestone for sustainable transport in the Greater Dublin Area pic.twitter.com/D07GwUBPzg
— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) December 7, 2021
"The Dart was introduced about 40 years ago," Ryan said in a video shared on Twitter announcing the approvals.
"It's worked really well since but hasn't changed that much: same trains, same lines, same sort of capacity.
"That's about to change. Government has today agreed what's called a Dart+ programme.
"It's upgrading the lines, starting on the one to Maynooth, then to south-west on the Kildare line and then the coastal lines up north and south.
"Government agreed the first stage to go to Railway Order today. It's a good day for Dart and for Dublin."
Main image via Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie