Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has secured an agreement from the Cabinet for Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) to order 90 new battery electric train carriages from Alstom before Christmas of this year, for delivery in 2026.
According to a statement published on Gov.ie, the carriages will facilitate the wider DART+ Programme, which is expanding the existing DART service from Dublin’s city centre to Drogheda, to the north, Maynooth/M3 Parkway, to the west, and Celbridge/Hazelhatch, to the south-west. The DART+ Programme will increase the number of people living within one kilometre of a DART station from approximately 250,000 to 600,000.
The adaptable nature of the carriages means that there is also potential to use them at some stage in the future between Greystones and Wicklow and/or for the Cork Area Commuter Rail, serving communities between Mallow, Cork, Cobh and Midleton, subject to available funding for the necessary infrastructure.
Using a procurement framework that is already in place, the government has approved IÉ to purchase 90 train carriages from Alstom over the coming weeks, to be delivered to the Irish rail system in 2026. The train order will consist of 18 modern five-carriage battery electric multiple units (BEMUs), funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA), at a total cost of approximately €179 million. This is in addition to 95 new electric and battery electric DART carriages that were approved by the government last December and will enter into service in 2025.
The BEMUs can operate in electric-only mode using overhead electric wires or, through the use of batteries, in battery electric operation in other parts of the rail network, helping to replace and decarbonise existing diesel fleet operations.
Statement By Minister Ryan
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Minister Ryan as saying, “I am delighted that the Cabinet agreed today to the purchase of 90 new battery electric train carriages for arrival in 2026. This comes on top of the 41 InterCity carriages currently arriving into Ireland, as well as the 95 carriages approved by government last year, for the DART+ Programme. This government is continuing to do more to transform our rail and public transport systems than any other in decades. We are doing this because the scale of change we need to make is beyond compare – to provide better, more frequent and more accessible transport choices to many more people and to meet our emissions targets.”
Statement By NTA CEO
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted NTA CEO Anne Graham as saying, “I have no doubt that the DART+, as a programme of projects, will prove to be transformative for the entire region, and work is already proceeding well on progressing the infrastructure schemes.
“The procurement of these battery electric carriages is indicative of the urgency that is being shown when it comes to providing sustainable, accessible transport alternatives for communities along these lines and beyond.
“In the draft GDA [Greater Dublin Area] Transport Strategy 2022-2042, we announced that Public Service Obligation bus and Commuter rail fleet in the Dublin Metropolitan Area will be 100% electric and zero emission by 2035. Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards that objective.”
Statement By Iarnród Éireann CEO
The statement published on Gov.ie quoted Iarnród Éireann CEO Jim Meade as saying, “The funding for 90 additional battery electric carriages for DART+ is hugely welcome, as it will enable us to bring capacity and emission benefits to current and future commuters in advance of electrification. Additionally, the benefits will be felt nationwide, as existing InterCity and Commuter carriages operating in the Greater Dublin Area are freed up for use around the national network for more frequent services and more capacity on a range of routes.”