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On your bike

Leinster Rugby fans warned to find alternative transport as stretch of Dart line closes for works

The line is closed from today until Monday between Grand Canal Dock and Bray, coinciding with the Leinster Rugby semi-final in Croke Park.

DART TRAINS WILL not run along most of the southern half of the line this weekend as Irish Rail carry out significant works.

The line is closed from today until Monday between Grand Canal Dock and Bray, coinciding with the Leinster Rugby semi-final in Croke Park this afternoon.

Politicians have criticised the disruption to services as thousands of people travel to the match but Irish Rail has said the works were scheduled before the event and that deferring them would cost more than half a million euro.

Alternative options

Irish Rail is advising customers that Dublin Bus and Go Ahead Ireland will accept rail tickets to and from affected areas while the portion of the Dart line is closed, adding that there will be “strengthened capacity in place” on Saturday afternoon and evening around the time of the semi-final.

For DART passengers, there will also be “limited supplementary bus services” operating from Bray and Dun Laoghaire stations to Grand Canal Dock before the match and in the opposite direction after the match.

For passengers wanting to travel from Dublin Connolly to Rosslare Europort, bus transfers will operate between Connolly and Bray for all services in both directions.

Dublin Bus confirmed that it will be be operating additional services of the route 7 and route 155 buses to try to meet the increase in demand due to the closure of the line. The additional services are planned for today, tomorrow and Monday. 

The 45A route between Bray and Dun Laoghaire stations, operated by Go Ahead, is also set to operate extra services.

Works on the line

The works are taking place over the weekend include a new safety system, track renewal, and overhead line renewal.

Irish Rail has said the works were scheduled in December 2023 as part of its programme of works for 2024.

“In planning our works programme, we examine all major events, and the May weekend at the time of planning (and up to just over two weeks ago) had no major sporting fixture / concert taking place,” the railway operator has said.

“There is a very significant number of events throughout the summer, including Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Pink concerts, Malahide Castle / St Anne’s events, All-Ireland series, Bloom and others that mean we do very few disruptive works throughout the summer.

“Unfortunately, when the Leinster rugby was scheduled, to defer works at that time would result in a cost significantly over €500,000 as both we and contractors have a range of commitments. More critically, the train protection system project is on a critical path, and losing time on this would impact the testing programme.

“While the vast majority of our works take place overnight without causing disruption, certain major works do unavoidably involve service impacts, in this instance with track being replaced, overhead lines being replaced, and new TPS systems being installed.”

‘There has to be a better way’

Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews was among politicians to raise concerns about the affects the closure will have on movement over the weekend.

Andrews said the disruption “severely restricts thousands of rugby fans due to attend the sell-out Champions Cup final between Leinster and Northampton at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon”. 

“This happens far too frequently. People are wondering why Irish Rail seems to specifically picks busy bank holiday weekends for extensive closures and disruption,” Andrews said in a media statement.

“There has to be a better and more timely way of carrying out maintenance on the DART line. Irish Rail needs to consult with relevant stakeholders, including Fáilte Ireland, national sporting bodies and the Dublin local authorities before planning widespread shut-downs.”

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