Dart Underground permission sought


CIE, on behalf of Irish Rail, are due today to apply for a railway order for the planned Dart Underground under Dublin City Centre.

A railway order – the equivalent of a planning permission – is lodged with An Bord Pleanala rather than the local planning authority.

The project include two twin 7.6km tunnels from East Wall in the Docklands to Inchicore. Underground Dart stations are planned at Spencer Dock, Pearse, St Stephen’s Green, Christchurch and Heuston Station, as well as a new surface station at Inchicore.

Irish Rail said up to 7,000 jobs could be created during each year of construction.

The company said the underground line is to be built to allow for up to 20 trains each direction per hour, allowing up to 64,000 commuters to use the line hourly.

The new timescale for the delayed project – if the railway order is granted – has construction starting in 2012 and the system operational in 2018.

“Today marks an important stepping stone in our efforts to increase and improve public transport in Ireland. The submission of the railway order for the Dart Underground brings closer the vision of a mass transit system outlined in Transport 21, and in tandem with Metro North will transform public transportation in the Greater Dublin Area,” said Noel Dempsey, Minister for Transport, in a statement.

Dempsey added: “I particularly welcome the fact that this project will strengthen Iarnród Éireann’s routes in the Greater Dublin Area into a network by the introduction of a second Dart line.”

Funding

The project – expected to cost around €2.5 billion – is to be funded using public private partnership, the procurement process for tenders started in May. The bidders for the contract are expected to design, build, finance and maintain the underground section of line for 25-30 years. This leaves the State with annual payments rather than paying the cost of the project up front.

Further funding is expected from the European Commission’s Ten-T Executive Agency.

Unlike Metro North, any needed Dart trains will be tendered for separately, and Irish Rail will control the operation of the line and any trains using it.

International transport planning and economics consultancy, Colin Buchanan & Partners, have forecasts Dart Underground will generate 2.4 times more benefit than it will cost to build.

Expanding the Dart

The Dart Underground is planned to be key in wider Dart expansion plans, which have gained less attention than the Metro North project.

It will massively change the Dublin suburban rail network. According to the semi-State company, the Dublin rail network’s capacity will increase from 33 million journeys per year to over 100 million journeys.

The plans envisage current Northern Dart line services bypassing Connolly Station and continue on underground at the Docklands. Once past Heuston Station, it will resurface again and connect with the Kildare line. Meanwhile, current Southern Dart line will be linked with the Maynooth line. The expanded Dart network will have lines crossing the city like an x-shape.

Althought not covered by this railway order, lines are expected to be electrified between Maynooth and the city centre and, on the Kildare line, between Hazelhatch and Inchicore. It is also planned that the Northern Line will be electrified further north, with Darts serving as far as Balbriggan.

The section of the line between Hazelhatch and Inchicore is currently undergoing ‘four-tracking’ under the Kildare Route Project, this will allow trains to exit the Dart Underground and travel uncongested to Hazelhatch. Essentially the country’s highest capacity railway line will run from Hazelhatch to the Docklands.

Dart Underground will meet the Luas Red at Spencer Dock in the Docklands, the newly planned Maynooth-Graystones Dart line at Pearse Station, the proposed Metro North and the Luas at St Stephen’s Green, and the Luas Red Line and commuter and intercity services at Heuston Station.

Plans on display form July 7

From July 7 to August 18 the plans will go on display at An Bord Pleanála offices at 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1;  Dublin City Council offices at Wood Quay, at  Heuston and Pearse stations, and at the CIE Railway works at Inchicore Works. Documents will also be available on www.dartundergroundrailwayorder.ie.

A statement said: “The railway order process ensures that all interested parties can make their submissions for consideration by An Bord Pleanala.  While there has been extensive public consultation to date, we would encourage all residents, businesses, commuters or other interested individuals or groups to take the time to examine our proposals on display or online.”

Irish Rail noted that there is a potential for more than 75% of construction spoil to be removed by rail, reducing traffic impacts during construction.

A number of groups representing residents at Inchicore have complained about the plans for tunnel portal works near houses.

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1 Comment for “Dart Underground permission sought”

  1. […] DublinObserver.com reported this morning that Irish Rail are seeking permission for a Dart line under the city centre. […]

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