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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Alamy Stock Photo A DART train on Howth peninsula
DART Coastal North

Irish Rail proposes using 'shuttle' DART trains to Howth and Sutton

Irish Rail is proposing that trains from Howth could run as shuttle services to Howth Junction with passengers changing trains to continue into Dublin.

IRISH RAIL WILL hold a second public consultation on proposed changes to the DART route which would extend the line from Malahide to Drogheda and require passengers to switch trains if they are travelling to Dublin city centre from Howth.

Residents of Howth and Sutton were critical of the proposed change at the first public consultation last night, while a second consultation will be held tomorrow in the D Hotel, Drogheda.

The changes were proposed as part of the DART+ Coastal North programme and would see an extension of the electrified train line from Malahide to Drogheda MacBride Station, as well as more frequent DART services.

Under the new proposal the number of trains from Drogheda to Dublin city centre would increase from 11 to 24, with an increase in capacity for commuters from 12,500 to 26,600. 

There would also be a 50% increase in service and capacity from Malahide to Dublin city centre through an increase from 20 trains to 30.

This would mean an increase in capacity from 23,300 to 33,800 passengers, but commuters would be required to change train at Howth Junction.

Local residents were critical of the proposal at last night’s consultation in Sutton, with some people fearing that their direct access to the DART was being “sacrificed” to benefit Drogheda.

“We have had direct train services from Howth for 179 years,” one woman said, according to the Irish Times.

“The reason we are being subject to this is because they are extending the service to Drogheda and there are going to be lots of extra trains on the line, but our direct service will be cut off – we are being sacrificed for Drogheda.”

“I think these consultation things are a done deal before you even get here.”

Some residents raised fears that switching trains would make them subject to anti-social behaviour at Howth Junction & Donaghmede station, where a teen boy pushed a girl off the train platform in 2021.

The DART+ Coastal North plan would also include the construction of a new platform at Drogheda MacBride station and modifications to existing depots at Drogheda and Fairview to support the new train fleet.

Welcoming the launch of the public consultation, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the DART+ Coastal North programme would increase the accessibility of “fast, frequent and low-carbon public transport”.

“Battery-electric trains will be serving this demand from 2025 and the future rollout of DART+ Coastal North will further enhance rail transport options along the Northern Line,” he said.

“This Government is committed to providing quality, frequent and accessible transport so that people can choose to leave the car at home more often.”

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