Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority (NTA) plan to extend the Dart electrified rail line to Maynooth and M3 Parkway as well as upgrade and expand existing Dart lines from Greystones to Drogheda. The work on the new line is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed by 2025.
Benefits and Costs
The proposals have been broadly welcomed by residents and political representatives, which will see an increase in passenger capacity and shorter commute times. According to Irish Rail, the Dart West+ expansion will see:
The DART+ West project will increase passenger capacity from approximately 5000 to 13200 passenger per hour by utilising new DART trains and lengthening existing diesel trains, operating at increased service frequency (i.e. 6 existing to 12 proposed trains per hour)
Reduction of carbon emissions and support growing communities, business and future development with high-quality integrated public transport service in line with Government policy including the National Planning Framework and Climate Action Plan
However, residents have also voiced concerns about the potential impact of a number of proposals that Irish Rail and the NTA say are necessary these include:
The closure of all level crossings from Connolly to Maynooth leading to redirected traffic through housing estates
The felling of mature trees, and loss of green space
What do residents want?
The Dart West Community Coalition was created to share information and promote dialogue around the Dart West+ project. Local residents have welcomed the announcement of the Dart West+ project and share Irish Rail’s and the NTA’s aim of improving rail services and protecting the environment. However, many residents have voiced concerns about the potential impact in implementing some of Irish Rail’s proposals. They have also raised concerns about the quality of information shared by Irish Rail/NTA and the timing of the consultation during a major health emergency.
Many of these concerns could be addressed as follows:
Engaging in multi-stakeholder dialogue with residents, Irish Rail, the NTA and public representatives
Providing accurate and independently-verified data on passenger data, level-crossing times, and traffic
By upgrading signalling along the Maynooth line and modernisation of the level crossing at Coolmine pending a capacity assessment