I propose to take Questions Nos. 110, 147, 152, 234, 236, 240 and 241 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, the Minister for Transport has responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in the Greater Dublin Area, including planning and implementation of the DART+ Programme.
The DART+ Programme is a cornerstone programme of projects for the development of rail in the Greater Dublin Area. The Programme comprises of DART fleet, as well as the DART+ West, DART+ South-West, DART+ Coastal (South) and DART+ Coastal (North) projects. Collectively these projects will extend and enhance the current DART system and services west to Maynooth and Celbridge/Hazelhatch, south to Greystones and north to Drogheda. The NTA in consultation with Iarnród Éireann is progressing the various projects which are at varying stages of planning and development.
I can confirm that my Department has received a Preliminary Business Case for the overall Programme and that PBC is under review as required by the Public Spending Code. With the required reviews almost complete, the PBC will presently be brought to Government for its approval as required under Decision Gate 1 under the Public Spending Code and, if approved, that will permit the purchase of additional DART fleet and will also permit the DART+ West project enter the statutory planning process, subject to the completion of the necessary planning and environmental documentation. It will also allow for further progression of the other elements of the Programme.
With regard to DART services beyond that planned, while further extensions may be considered in the future, these are outside of the current scope of the DART+ Programme. To avoid delaying the progression of the current proposals, it is considered that the type of further extension of DART service beyond Greystones, Maynooth and Hazelhatch would fall to be assessed and evaluated as potential follow-on projects at a later date.
As the Deputy may recall, in addition to the DART+ Fleet element which being hybrid battery-electric trains may allow for the introduction of DART services in advance of electrification of lines, Government's approval was previously announced for the NTA and Iarnród Éireann to proceed with the purchase of 41 additional InterCity Railcars. This additional stock, for which delivery is expected to commence in Q3 next year, will also allow for enhanced services across the GDA rail network when introduced into service in 2023.