Iarnród Éireann has recently commenced the second round of public consultation (PC2) on DART+ South West, part of the DART+ Programme, which seeks to electrify existing rail lines between Hazelhatch & Celbridge and Heuston Stations, and also from Heuston Station to Glasnevin, via the Phoenix Park Tunnel Branch Line, and quadruple their capacity. Funded by the National Transport Authority under Project Ireland 2040, this rail improvement project will provide a sustainable, electrified, reliable and more frequent rail service to our customers, revolutionising capacity between Hazelhatch & Celbridge station and Dublin City Centre, whilst also increasing capacity and reducing journey times for non-electrified InterCity and Commuter services.
The project will
- Continue the four-tracking of the rail line from Park West & Cherry Orchard Station into Heuston, extending the works completed on the route in 2009.
- See track improvements and bridge modifications, where necessary, to facilitate electrified train services.
- See the Phoenix Park Tunnel upgraded to allow for significant extra services directly into the city centre.
- Include the construction of a new station at Heuston West.
The Preferred Option is also compatible with future stations at Kylemore and Cabra, although the construction of these stations is not part of this project. This current phase of public consultation follows on from previous public engagement which took place in Spring/Summer 2021. The project team has analysed and used the feedback received to inform the current design of the DART+ South West Preferred Option. Feedback on the Preferred Option is now invited during this period of public consultation. The knowledge and insight of customers, residents and businesses adjacent to the route, as well as other stakeholders, will inform the design and help Iarnród Éireann to improve the project plans, ensuring that it will be beneficial for customers and the communities it will serve.
Differences to the design being presented during this public consultation. Changes to the proposals arising from the first round of public consultation include:
- A new station is proposed at Heuston West to improve connectivity and futureproof the network.
- The locations for substations, construction compounds and other railway infrastructure is defined. This is presented as part of public consultation material.
- Other local issues raised during the first round of public consultations have been assessed and considered in the design development. Where possible the public feedback has been incorporated into the Preferred Option design.
The second phase of public consultation on this project is now live. It is designed to present the preferred option for provision of DART+ South West to communities and stakeholders along the route. All are encouraged to review the full details at www.dartplus.ie, which also features an interactive virtual room. Details of a dedicated phone line, email address and online feedback form are all available at dartplus.ie. Considering the ongoing Covid 19 public health risk, in person meetings of large groups will not take place. A series of webinars for those who would like to learn more about the project will commence over the coming days. Upon completion of this consultation, all submissions will be carefully considered by the project design team, and these will be used to inform the subsequent design development.
Once this design work is complete, a Railway Order Application will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in mid 2022. A statutory consultation period will take place after lodging of the application and it is expected that An Bord Pleanála will hold an oral hearing on the application, which will be open to all members of the public.
Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann Jim Meade said: “This is an exciting milestone in the progress and delivery of the DART+ Programme and another step towards building a more sustainable and accessible transport network. We have listened to the public feedback from the first round of consultation, addressed their concerns and we have a great Preferred Option to present to the public for this next round of consultation. I encourage everyone to engage with the consultation process and have your say in shaping this next stage of the transformative DART+ Programme.”
DART+ South West benefits include:
- Increase of train frequency from the current 12 trains per hour per direction to 23 trains per hour per direction on this corridor.
- Quadrupling of passenger capacity from 5,000 passengers per hour per direction to 20,000 per hour per direction, with higher capacity trains set to be ordered in the coming months.
- Enhanced public transport opportunities for communities along the route for work, education and leisure purposes.
- Facilitating the development and future growth of existing communities, which will greatly benefit from the connectivity that DART+ South West will deliver.
- Alleviation of road congestion.
- Building a sustainable and connected city region, supporting the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society.
- Facilitating people to make sustainable travel choices by encouraging a move away from private cars to a reliable, efficient and safer public transport network.
- Improve multimodal transport connectivity through interchange with the Luas at Heuston, Bus Connects and the proposed MetroLink.