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DART Coastal North

Iarnród Éireann says it will not cut off Howth during Dart extension despite local concerns

The DART+ Coastal North programme will cost an estimated €600 million and be completed in 2029 at the earliest.

IARNRÓD ÉIREANN OFFICIALS have told a public consultation on the Dart+ Coastal North programme that it’s unlikely a direct rail link from Howth to Dublin city centre will be cut off.

The last of three public consultations took place in Malahide this evening, where officials said more frequent Dart services will be provided if the proposal to extend the Dart from Malahide to Drogheda goes ahead.

Last week’s consultation in Howth saw members of the public accuse the rail company of sacrificing their direct train link to the city centre.

Part of the proposed changes to the Dart would allow for the possibility of passengers from Howth switching trains in Donaghmede to board a ‘shuttle train’ in order to go to the city centre.

Barry Kenny, Iarnród Éireann’s head of communications, said that introducing shuttle trains to the peninsula was being discussed, but it wouldn’t negatively impact upon Howth and Sutton residents.

“This project will help us build the infrastructure so that if we wanted to run shuttle services, as part of the overall timetable that would include direct services, that will be possible when we finished this.

“Those would be timetable decisions made based on demand when the project is finished and even then it would just be at the busiest time of the day,” he explained.

The benefits for Malahide, Drogheda and the communities in between will be significant, particularly as the population of commuter towns grow, Kenny said.

“We would see service from Malahide go from one train every 20 minutes to eight trains an hour, so a train every 7.5 minutes roughly.”

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

The Dart+ Coastal North programme will cost and estimated €600 million and be completed in 2029 at the earliest.

The 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.

The installation of overhead electrical line equipment for the Dart will mean that two bridges, a footbridge over the track at MacBride station and a private lane near the station, will be need to be reconstructed to increase the train’s overhead clearance.

185 new Dart carriages have been ordered to date, with delivery commencing in 2024 and carriages entering service from 2025.  

“The electrification all the way to Drogheda is part of the decarbonisation of public transport as well. While the diesel trains are currently a far more sustainable option than driving, the goal of everybody is to decarbonise transport,” Kenny added.

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