Irish Rail has informed me that it has increased the commuter capacity of the Kildare route by 130% since the new timetable was introduced on 14 December 2003. A number of the new diesel railcars, acquired by Irish Rail in 2003, were assigned to the route to lengthen the trains to eight-cars. New turn-back facilities at Hazelhatch and Sallins were installed to allow more efficient use of the available train paths into and out of Heuston in the peaks.
Irish Rail recently ordered a further 36 railcars identical to those recently placed into service. These new railcars will be used to boost capacity further on outer suburban routes serving Dublin.
Irish Rail is now proceeding with plans to quadruple a section of the route between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch, as part of the Kildare route project, which will enable the separation of inter-city and commuting traffic and increase the capacity of the line. I await the details of the project as part of the railway order process. My Department has provided over €600,000 to CIE to assist with the preparation of the railway order. The company is in the process of completing the draft order and I understand that the application will be submitted to me by the company in the middle of this year.