Phoenix Park Tunnel opens for Commuter services after €13.7 million investment
Newbridge/Hazelhatch to Grand Canal Dock trains begin via tunnel route
Commuters on the 06.14hrs train from Newbridge to Grand Canal Dock became the first to benefit from the new Phoenix Park Tunnel line, which began services today, Monday 21st November. The introduction of the new services follows an investment of €13.7 million in upgrading the Phoenix Park Tunnel route, funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority.
Phoenix Park Tunnel services
Seven new morning peak trains serving all stations from Newbridge/Hazelhatch to Grand Canal Dock (including Drumcondra, Connolly, Tara Street and Pearse), and eight new evening peak trains from Grand Canal Dock begin on Monday 21st November, with limited stop services in the opposite direction. Full details are available at www.irishrail.ie . They will not serve Heuston Station – customers for Heuston should use existing trains between Newbridge/Hazelhatch and Heuston Station.
Services will also ensure connections at Hazelhatch/Newbridge for customers travelling on longer distance commuter services to/from stations such as Kildare, Portlaoise and others.
The new services give a new direct public transport connection between stations in south-west Dublin and north Kildare and the central business district between Connolly and Grand Canal Dock. This is the first phase of services to operate via the tunnel. Iarnród Éireann and the National Transport Authority plan to expand services in the future to include off-peak and weekend services.
Welcoming the new service, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD said “I’m delighted to announce the opening of this key piece of our public transport service. The Phoenix Part tunnel line is a vital part of our rail infrastructure and I know that it will prove to be of immense benefit to the travelling public, as will other transport projects such as the Luas Cross City line which will open in 2017. As Minister for Transport I am very proud to be one of the first commuters to travel this line and I heartily encourage others to do so.”
Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority said “the NTA is delighted that services have now commenced through the Phoenix Park Tunnel, a project that the Authority promoted and funded. Together with city centre re-signalling, the new services ensure we will exploit the full potential of existing rail infrastructure at minimal cost and will offer more rail travel options for public transport customers.”
David Franks, Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive, said “we’re delighted to welcome new and existing customers to the new services launched today via the Phoenix Park Tunnel line. By offering direct connections from stations between Newbridge and Parkwest to the south city business district, which were not previously available by public transport, we will encourage more commuters to switch from our congested roads to a fast and efficient rail transport alternative.”
The €13.7 million investment in the tunnel route, funded by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority – together with recently completed resignalling works – have facilitated the new services.
The project included:
- Cutting stabilisation, drainage and vegetation clearance
- Tunnel upgrade – cleaning, masonry repairs, lighting, signage, telecoms
- Renewal of sections of track, points and crossings and components
- Signal relocation
- Station works – upgrade works at Drumcondra to include new ticket gates, and upgrade works at Tara St station to include new southbound lift shaft
- The Phoenix Park Tunnel is 757 yards long. The full line from Islandbridge to Glasnevin Junction is 2.75 miles long, and after the tunnel section continues through Cabra before joining the Maynooth line at Glasnevin Junction.
- The line and tunnel were opened in 1877.
- The line in recent years has been used for freight services, transfer of trains between maintenance depots, and special trains for events like matches, concerts and charters.
- Regular peak commuter services have never operated through the tunnel in the modern era due to capacity constraints at Connolly Station, which have been addressed by recent resignalling works.
- The line has occasionally been used for scheduled Intercity services, most recently two Sunday services from Limerick and Galway which operated between June 1998 and September.