IRELAND: A 20-year vision for the development of the transport network in Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare is set out in the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-35 which has been published by the National Transport Authority.
The proposed rail enhancements aim to produce an interlinked network with a ‘very substantial increase’ in peak capacity across the metropolitan area. The projects are:
- reopening the Phoenix Park Tunnel for passenger services linking the Kildare line to the city centre;
- completing the city centre resignalling programme which will provide additional train paths through the busiest section of the network;
- implementing the DART Expansion Programme to extend the network of electric suburban services to Drogheda, Maynooth, M3 Parkway and Hazelhatch, including the DART Underground tunnel through the city centre;
- a new network control centre;
- new stations in developing areas where there is sufficient demand, with likely locations including Pelletstown and Woodbrook;
- a programme of station appearance, quality, accessibility and security upgrades;
- renewal of ticketing systems;
- protecting the corridor identified for a rail link to Navan, pending a re-evaluation of likely usage which would take into account future development.
The majority of the existing DART EMU fleet would be replaced or refurbished, with additional rolling stock needed for the expanded network which would have services in the city centre running every 5 min in the peaks. Increased capacity would be provided on the South East Rail Line through the provision of shuttle commuter train services operating south of an interchange with DART at Greystones.
A number of light rail projects are proposed, although these would be subject to further comparative analysis against buses:
- Luas Cross City line from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge, which is under construction for opening in 2017;
- Luas Cross City extension from Broombridge to Finglas and a large park-and-ride site;
- Metro North construction of a high-frequency and capacity line from the south of the city centre to Dublin Airport and Swords;
- Luas Green Line tram capacity enhancement between St Stephen’s Green and Bride’s Glen, allowing trams of 50 m or more to be introduced ahead of the Metro South project;
- Metro South upgrading of the Luas Green Line from tram to metro standards, with a tunnel linking Metro North to the Green Line in the Ranelagh area to provide a north–south corridor across the metropolitan area;
- Luas Green Line/Metro South extension to Bray. The alignment is still to be selected, but is likely to run to Bray DART station via Shankill and the former golf club lands. Metro services would run from Bray to the Airport and Swords, while Luas services would run between Bray, Broombridge and Finglas;
- east–west Luas line from the city centre to Ballyfermot, Liffey Valley and Lucan;
- Luas Red Line extension from the north Docklands via a bridge over the River Liffey to the Poolbeg development area.
A network of strategic rail-based park and ride facilities would be developed where rail services intersect with the national road network adjacent to or outside the M50 motorway at Swords, Finglas, Dunboyne, Liffey Valley, Naas Road, Carrickmines, Woodbrook and Greystones.
The strategy notes that the movement of freight by rail ‘will continue to be supported and encouraged’, however the small size of Ireland and the proximity of Dublin Port means that most freight movement will be by road.