DART+ Coastal to boost capacity Drogheda to Greystones

All elements of DART+ now underway

Iarnród Éireann has appointed Arup as multi-disciplinary design consultants for the DART+ Coastal route, from Drogheda in the north to Greystones in the south (approx. 86km), as part of the DART+ Programme, funded by the National Transport Authority under Project Ireland 2040.

DART+ Coastal will see the extension of electrification of the line from Malahide to Drogheda, and improvements along the existing DART line from Malahide/Howth to Greystones to increase passenger-carrying capacity along the Eastern Commuter Corridor from 17,980 to 26,680 per hour each way, an increase of almost 50%.

Improvements that DART+ Coastal will bring include:

  • Electrification from Malahide to Drogheda (approx. 37km)
  • Upgrade of infrastructure from Drogheda to Greystones to enable an increase in frequency of train services, including:
    • Upgrade of junctions and station turn-back facilities.
    • Identify solutions to remove level crossings, reducing constraints on both rail and road traffic.
    • Modifications to bridges and structures.
    • Provision of train stabling.
    • Upgrade of signalling, telecoms and power supplies.
  • Modifications to the existing depots at Drogheda and Fairview to support the new fleet.

Benefits of DART+ Coastal include:

  • Increasing passenger capacity from 17,980 to 26,680 passengers per hour per direction and increased train frequency (subject to demand) along the Eastern Commuter Corridor – facilitating fast and reliable transport to communities along the lines served by DART+ Coastal.
  • Easier travel opportunities for work, education, or leisure purposes.
  • Facilitating the development and future growth of existing and new communities that will greatly benefit from the connectivity that DART+ will deliver along that line.
  • Building a sustainable and connected City Region.
  • Supporting the transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society.
  • Facilitating people to make sustainable travel choices by encouraging a move away from private cars to reliable, efficient and safer public transport network.
  • Improve journey time reliability.

Arup will be working closely with the Iarnród Éireann’s DART+ Delivery Team to create a design for the electrification extension and associated works, along with the design of modifications on the existing DART line to provide for the required increase in service levels. The project will eliminate level crossings between the city centre and Merrion Gates and develop traffic management and infrastructure plans to facilitate continued vehicular pedestrian and cyclist across to areas adjacent to the existing DART line.

Permissions for the necessary works will be subject to a Railway Order being approved. The Railway Order processes will include extensive public consultation with communities and individuals along the route. Subject to the Railway Order being granted it is expected that construction will commence on DART+ Coastal from the beginning of 2024 with works scheduled for completion in 2027.

The commencement of detailed design of DART+ Coastal means that all aspects of the DART+ Programme are now live. They comprise:

  • DART+ West (Maynooth / M3 Parkway line, and new DART depot proposed west of Maynooth) will commence its second round of public consultation during Q2 of this year.
  • DART+ South West (Heuston to Hazelhatch) will commence its first round of public consultation also in Q2 of this year.
  • Work is also ongoing for the tender of new DART carriages for the new routes and an order is expected to be placed later this year.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said: “This is another important step in delivering the overall DART+ Programme which will be the single biggest investment in the rail network ever. Improving our rail infrastructure between Drogheda and Greystones forms an important part of this transformative programme of investment in rail across the Greater Dublin Area. DART+ supports a shift to greener and cleaner transport and can also play an important role in enabling transport-led development across the network.”

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority said Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the NTA said: “I very much welcome the appointment of design contractors for DART+ Coastal, and this development is a clear indication real progress is being made across all elements of the DART+ Programme. Thanks to DART+, passenger capacity and service frequency will be vastly improved for people across the rail network in the Greater Dublin Area in the coming years. DART+ will allow more people to make sustainable travel choices and will contribute to reducing our emissions by providing a reliable alternative to the private car. NTA looks forward to continuing to work with Iarnród Éireann in making DART+ a reality.”

Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann said: “The start of DART+ Coastal is a very significant milestone for our organisation. It means all aspects of the DART+ programme, which will revolutionise public transport in the Greater Dublin Area, are now underway. It will facilitate a modal shift to sustainable, frequent and reliable train travel to new and existing communities along all the existing and proposed DART routes.”

Peter Adams, Ireland Rail Leader at Arup said: “The DART+ Coastal Line expansion unlocks the transformative potential of rail, creating a fully integrated rail system that will improve the passenger experience and enable the greater Dublin region to flourish. Arup’s multidisciplinary team is proud to partner with Iarnród Éireann to create a more resilient public transport network that will ultimately support Ireland’s move towards sustainable mobility.”