Capacity on the Dart’s northern commuter line from Dublin city through Fingal and onto surrounding regions must be increased with more carriages secured, a Fine Gael TD has said.
A crucial milestone was reached today in the delivery of the DART+ as the Government approved the programme’s Programme Preliminary Business Case.
Dublin Fingal TD Deputy Alan Farrell said, “DART+ is the largest ever investment in our rail network. It will double the passenger capacity of the DART network, from 26,000 passengers per hour per direction to 52,000 during peak hours, and treble the network’s length, from 50km to 150km.
“The programme consists of five complementary projects, including DART+ Coastal North which will see the electrification of the Northern Line as far as Drogheda. The emerging preferred option is currently being developed for this project.
“With 325 additional units planned for DART+, under the DART+ Fleet project, we need to see the capacity on the DART’s northern commuter line increase significantly.
“Thousands of commuters rely on the DART line from the city centre through Fingal and surrounding areas on a daily basis. We need to see a commitment within the DART+ programme that the northern line will receive additional carriages in order to increase capacity.
“Today’s announcement is an example of the Government’s prioritisation of investing in our public transport infrastructure. Under the National Development Plan (NDP), which funds DART+, we are funding new public transport ahead of new roads with a 2:1 spending ratio in favour of public transport projects.
“This programme will provide us with clean, green rail. It will have a huge impact on the lives of people in Dublin Fingal, but in order for it to work for our workers and families, capacity on the northern line must increase as soon as possible,” Deputy Farrell said.
The DART+ West project is also a key component of the programme as it will result in the construction of a new DART depot near Maynooth. This depot will house the significantly expanded fleet of trains.
The current Maynooth line will also be electrified, while both Connolly and Docklands stations in the city centre will receive upgrades.
While the final budget for DART+ West has not yet been set, the cost of the project is estimated to range from €969 million to €1.1 billion (including VAT, escalation and contingency). Construction is expected to last between three and a half to four years.