DART+ Upgrade and Public Consultation
After 15 of its first announcement, Plans for the €2.6 billion extensions of DART services from Dublin to Drogheda, Celbridge and Maynooth, have been published by the National Transport Authority.
The project will involve five main elements:
The electrification of services on the commuter lines (West, South West and Coastal North)
purchase of new Dart trains;
upgrade of the existing southern Dart line (Coastal South).
Why upgrade to the DART?
The DART Programme will increase the capacity of the lines and provide a quick, efficient and high-quality alternative to driving while reducing our carbon footprint. Improve the current line and modernize the existing network. It has also promised that it will integrate with the other public transport network project like BusConnects and MetroLink
Why do we need a DART programme?
The population of Dublin West is rapidly growing, and our current transport system is reaching is peak capacity. Roads like the M3 to M50 is becoming a choke point for traffic. By continually upgrading and expanding our motorways, we are inducing demand and creating a never-ending cycle that does not reduce congestion.
The current commuter line is at capacity, the train to Connolly Station and Maynooth at peak times is full. We must upgrade the frequency of trains along this route to ensure that we are keeping up with the demand.
Tackling Climate Breakdown is the biggest challenge we currently face. Our emissions from private transport can be offset by ensuring there is a high-quality alternative to the car; this programme will deliver that alternative.
The scope of the DART+ West project will include the electrification of approx. 40km of the Maynooth line, city centre enhancements at Connolly to increase its capacity to handle the increased trains per hour, potential relocation of the Docklands station to Spencer Dock Luas Stop for better integration to the Transport System.
The upgrade of the line will double the number of trains per hour from 7 to 15 and treble its capacity fro, 4,500 passengers to 13,750 passengers per hour. This improved enhancements will hopefully be seen by 2025. These upgrades require the closure of all the level crossing along the line.
DART+ Upgrade: Clonsilla Station
With the closure of the level crossing at Clonsilla Station, the National Transport Authority is proposing to build a walking and cycling bridge over the railway. They believe that traffic at the junction is not heavy enough to merit a specific vehicle bridge.
Their suggestion to redirect traffic coming from the Ongar area to the level crossing is to build a road from Ongar to the R149 and then back over the train line at Barberstown with a new bridge (see Photo 4). This will hopefully alleviate traffic coming from the Ongar area and reroute it away from the Clonsilla Station road.
For traffic coming from the opposite direction, The National Transport Authority is proposing a vehicle bridge near Coolmine station that will hopefully reduce congestion along the Clonsilla road. I am sceptical of this traffic alleviation proposal. I will work with Fingal to ensure that the right measures are taken to reduce traffic jams in the area.
Clonsilla Station to M3 Parkway
This line will be included in the upgrade! Like with the Maynooth line, this will increase the frequency of trains on this route and therefore increase capacity
Public Consultation: The Process
This upgrade is in its early phase and can be shaped by your submissions. The National Transport Authority believe that public participation in this design process is a crucial element to the delivery of significant infrastructure projects like the DART+ upgrade.
This project will have a two-stage non-statutory Public Consultation process. The two non-statutory Public Consultations will take place in Q3 and Q4 of 2020 and the Statutory Public Consultation as part of the railway order will take place in Q2 of 2021. Public feedback can be submitted at all stages through the project website, email, phone line or by post. See the photo below for more info.
My submission to the DART+ upgrade
Myself and my fellow councillors, Cllr. Pamela Conroy and Cllr. Darcy Lonergan will be submitting to all of the public consultations in this process. When we have completed this submission, I will post it on the website for viewing.
The full presentation I received from Irish rail is available below to download