Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has secured an agreement from the Cabinet for the DART+ South West rail project to enter the planning system.
According to a statement published on Gov.ie, this major public transport project will extend DART trains from Dublin city centre to Hazelhatch and Celbridge in Co. Kildare, as part of a wider expansion of DART services in the coming years.
The project will provide DART services to communities along the route at Islandbridge, Park West and Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin, Adamstown, and Celbridge and Hazelhatch.
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Following government approval, a railway order (planning application) for DART+ South West, covering 20 kilometres of new electrified rail infrastructure, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by the end of this month. Subject to planning permission and final funding arrangements, construction works for DART + South West could commence in 2025, with delivery of the infrastructure by the end of this decade.
In general, train services along the route will at least double in frequency, with up to 11 trains each way per hour at peak times serving stations upon completion of the project. This will increase the number of passengers that can travel to and from Dublin city along the route from approximately 5,000 each way per hour at present to 20,000 in future.
As part of the project, a new station, Heuston West, at Islandbridge, will be constructed, and the rail track between Park West and Heuston will be quadrupled. The project involves the electrification of the Phoenix Park Tunnel along with the wider route, allowing DART trains to operate between Hazelhatch/Celbridge and Connolly station, and beyond, as well as Heuston station.
DART+ South West is part of the multi-billion euro DART+ Programme that will treble the current DART rail network from 53 kilometres to 150 kilometres, extending the DART to Drogheda to the north, Maynooth and M3 Parkway to the west, and Hazelhatch and Celbridge to the south-west. The number of people living within one kilometre of a DART station will increase from approximately 250,000 at present to 600,000 in the future.
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Minister Ryan as saying, "The government's approval of DART+ South West today highlights our commitment to invest in high-quality public transport and decarbonise Ireland’s transport system. This rail project will transform the lives of people living in communities along the route, giving them a fast, reliable and frequent train service into Dublin. It also means that we can move ahead with good, transport led planning, facilitating vital affordable new housing along the route. I look forward to the DART+ Programme rolling-out further in the coming years. We’ll start this with the delivery of the first batch of 90 new DART carriages arriving next year. This will see new DART services between Drogheda and Dublin city from early 2025, before then expanding to other areas including Hazelhatch and Celbridge."
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted NTA CEO Anne Graham as saying, "The DART+ South West project is a key deliverable in the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy and will provide a major upgrade to rail services for passengers living along the rail corridor. This project will be particularly beneficial to commuters, as many of the DART trains will operate to and from Dublin city centre through the Phoenix Park tunnel to Connolly and Grand Canal Dock stations."
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Iarnród Éireann CEO Jim Meade as saying, "We welcome this decision from the government which shows clear progress in the roll-out of the ambitious DART+ Programme. DART+ South West will have a major beneficial impact on the quality of the service that we can provide on the Kildare rail line, increasing frequency, reliability and comfort for our passengers."
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