Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D. was at Inchicore Railway Works today for a preview of the next generation of DART travel.
A life-size sample prototype of a new DART+ fleet carriage has been developed by manufacturers Alstom as part of the final phase of the design process. Throughout the process, from procurement to development phases, there has been ongoing customer and driver consultation using focus groups. In total, 185 of the new carriages have been ordered to date, with delivery commencing in 2024 and entering service from 2025.
Funded under the National Development Plan 2021 to 2030 by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority, the order for the DART+ Fleet is part of the DART+ Programme, an investment which will more than double the commuter capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area rail network. DART+ will facilitate sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in our capital and its surrounding counties, through a series of fleet and infrastructure projects. The number of people living within 1km of a DART station will increase hugely from about 250,000 at present to 600,000 in future.
Up to 750 carriages will be ordered over the next decade under a framework contract with leading manufacturer Alstom. They are being constructed at the company’s factory near Katowice in Poland.
The prototype is located in Inchicore Works for final engagements with a range of customer focus groups, who have reviewed proposals throughout the design phase. It demonstrates key features on the new fleet, including:
Speaking at the fleet preview in Inchicore, Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D. said ”It is great to see this preview of the new DART+ carriages today, which customers have helped design and which will be available in the coming years. The DART+ Programme will transform our commuter system, vastly increasing the number of passengers who will have access to a quality and reliable rail network. This new fleet will facilitate DART trips to and from Drogheda from 2025 and then beyond that to the West and South West. With dedicated wheelchair, family and bicycle areas, the new fleet will ensure accessiblity to a wide variety of passengers at different times of the day and week, providing comfort and independence for all users.”
Chief Executive of the NTA, Anne Graham said: “The framework for up to 750 electric/battery electric carriages, including 185 electric/battery electric carriages for DART, is a key part of the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy which we published recently. These new carriages will be transformative, offering potential for independent access for all passengers, improved facilities for families and cyclists across the Dublin Metropolitan Area. The developments in the DART+ programme will see a significant increase in the number of passengers living close to a DART station giving more people the option to use our expanding sustainable public transport network.
“The use of the fleet prototype to facilitate early engagement on the design and key features of the new trains is welcomed, as it provides opportunities for members of the transport public to provide input into the design process by interacting with the key features of the new fleet.”
Chief of Executive of Iarnród Éireann, Jim Meade said: “Thanks to input from our customers and drivers, and the work of the Iarnród Éireann and Alstom teams, we can now experience what the future of DART+ transport will be like. The sample carriage we see on display is modern, comfortable and customer centred and we look forward to having these carriages in use on our network serving new and existing communities for generations to come.”
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director Alstom UK and Ireland said: “We are delighted to be able to Iarnród Éireann and the Irish public their new DART+ train in the flesh. The trains demonstrate Iarnród Éireann’s intention to move quickly to decarbonise the commuter network in Greater Dublin, Ireland’s most populous suburban area. As a global leader in innovation and provider of green mobility solutions, Alstom is there to help Ireland bring transformative change to its citizens through sustainable rail transport.”
The initial 185 carriage DART+ fleet order comprises 30 electric and 155 battery-electric carriages, which have been ordered in two phases: 95 carriages (30 electric and 65 battery-electric) in December 2021 and a further 90 (all battery-electric) in December 2022. The carriages:
In addition to the fleet, Alstom will provide a range of supports, including a Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement for the first 15 years of the fleet’s operation, and provision of three train simulators to support driver training
DART+ is the transformative programme that will ensure train travel is at the heart of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. Funded under the National Development Plan by the National Transport Authority, DART+ is an investment that will double the capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area network, facilitating sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in our capital and its surrounding counties. The overall programme will provide electrification of lines on DART+ West to Maynooth/M3 Parkway, on DART+ South-West to Hazelhatch and DART+ Coastal North to Drogheda. DART+ Coastal South will also see key infrastructure works as far as Greystones to allow more trains to operate.