Thursday, 29 March 2018

Questions (362)

Eamon Ryan

Question:

362. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason that the DART underground is not included in the National Development Plan; and if the reports on which the decision was made not to include it will be provided. [14592/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the National Transport Authority's (NTA) 'Transport Strategy for the GDA 2016-2035' proposes implementation of the overall DART Expansion Programme.  As outlined in the recently published 'National Development Plan 2018-2027: Project Ireland 2040' (NDP), the DART Expansion Programme is a series of projects that will create a full metropolitan area DART Network? for Dublin with all of the lines linked and connected over the period of the plan. 

The initial sequencing of investment under the NDP will focus on delivery of non-underground tunnel elements of the Programme using the recently opened rail link and existing connector tunnel under the Phoenix Park (which has provided the option for Kildare commuters to access the city centre stations of Connolly, Tara Street and Pearse).  This sequencing and focus includes buying additional fleet for the DART network and measures such as re-signalling, junction and station changes to provide expanded services.  The next step will be to provide fast, high-frequency electrified services to Drogheda on the Northern Line, Celbridge/Hazelhatch on the Kildare Line, Maynooth and M3 Parkway on the Maynooth/Sligo Line, while continuing to provide DART services on the South-Eastern Line as far south as Greystones.  It will also include new stations to provide interchange with bus, LUAS and Metro networks.

The significant benefit to using the recently opened rail link and existing connector tunnel under the Phoenix Park and the proposed sequence of investment, is that it will enable additional passenger services to be put in place much earlier using existing infrastructure with some enhancements.  This integrated rail network will provide a core, high-capacity transit system for the region and will deliver a very substantial increase in peak-hour capacity on all lines from Maynooth and Celbridge/Hazelhatch as well as Drogheda and Greystones.  The route for the remaining element of the overall DART Expansion Programme, the DART Undeground Tunnel, will be established and protected to allow for its future delivery.

In light of the NTA's responsibility in this area, I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the Authority for further information on the issues raised.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.