Project Specific FAQs
Click on a logo below for the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to that DART+ project.
DART+ Coastal North
The scale of increase in services will vary across the extents of DART+ Coastal North and will be directly dependent on passenger demand over time. However, to provide the maximum level of service envisaged by the project, the following increase in services is currently expected to be delivered by the DART+ Coastal North project across the duration of 3-hour peak AM peak period for inbound / southbound services to Dublin City Centre:
- Drogheda to Malahide: 11 to 24 trains
- Malahide to Clongriffin: 20 to 30 trains
- Clongriffin to Howth Junction & Donaghmede: 20 to 36 trains
- Howth Branch: 9 to 18 trains
- Howth Junction & Donaghmede to Connolly: 29 to 36 trains
This overall increase is inclusive of DART, Commuter and Enterprise services. The AM and PM peak periods will be extended from 1 hour to 3 hour periods (i.e. 7-10 AM and 4-7 PM).
It is important to note that the proposed increases in services are not something that will come into effect immediately upon the delivery of the DART+ Coastal North project. There will be different phases of timetable development that will be gradually introduced as the project builds towards that maximum level of service. The operational detail behind each of these phases has not been worked through at this stage in the project planning and development. Any substantial timetable change will go through a Public Consultation process of its own organised by the NTA known as the Timetable Customer Consultation Process where members of the public will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed changes.
The commencement of construction is contingent on the timely securing of the Railway Order. DART+ Coastal North remains in the later stages of the concept phase; this will be followed by the preliminary design phase and statutory planning approval phases. When the necessary permissions have been granted, the detailed design and procurement phases will be undertaken. Pending further approvals, the contract award for the construction phase is anticipated to be in 2025/26.
The delivery of new stations is not included as part of the DART+ Coastal North project and will be progressed by Iarnród Éireann as separate projects. The ‘Preferred Option’ will not preclude any future development of any potential new stations, such as that proposed at Bettystown in the East Meath Local Area Plan, along the Northern Line. As a direct result of feedback received during Public Consultation No. 1, the DART+ Coastal North project will now deliver some signifcant station enhancements at Howth Junction & Donaghmede Station. These significant modification works are proposed to both improve the passenger experience generally, and to develop the station to better serve as an interchange station. The works will involve modifying the entrances to provide a more accessible, user friendly and customer focused station for all rail users, as well as improve the connection to the surrounding areas of Donaghmede and Kilbarrack. Upgrades will also take place to the footbridge and connections to the centre platforms, as well as the lighting, signage, and finishes throughout.
Given that the line between Connolly and Howth is already electrified, potential construction impacts (from limited interventions) will likely be minimal. Some site-specific interventions will be required between Howth Junction & Donaghmede and Drogheda stations, associated with increasing the rail capacity. Between Malahide and Drogheda, DART+ Coastal North will involve the erection of overhead line infrastructure to facilitate the running of electric trains. In order to maintain services for our customers during the day, the majority of the construction works along the railway line itself will take place at night. Works outside of the live railway corridor can progress during the day i.e. modifications to bridges, construction of substations, construction compounds. Every effort will be made to avoid, reduce, and/or mitigate negative impacts, however, there is likely to be some disturbance experienced for those near the railway line caused by noise, lighting or erected fencing/hoarding associated with the construction activities.
The types of construction work required at each specific location will determine the type of impact that may affect the area/your property. However, there will be general linear works required, such as:
- Overhead electrification equipment along the full extent of the railway line from Malahide to Drogheda. This will be similar in style to that currently used on the existing DART network.
- Modifications to the existing rail bridges such as modifications to the structure, track lowering or a combination of both.
- Substations will be required at intervals along the rail line to provide power to the network.
- Signalling upgrades and additional signalling will be required as part of the upgraded infrastructure.
- Interfaces with existing utilities, roads, boundary treatments, drainage works, vegetation management and other ancillary works will be required. Prior to the commencement of construction works, a dedicated Community Liaison Officer will be appointed to communicate details of all upcoming works and to oversee the implementation of all required mitigation measures, thereby minimising any potential disruption resulting from the works.
During the construction phase, residents living in close proximity to any planned works will receive ongoing communication in advance of significant works - i.e. piling or ground penetrating surveys.
During the operational phase, levels of greenhouse gas emissions are likely to reduce significantly, with a positive impact on climate change. The engine noise from an electric train is also significantly quieter than a diesel train. At certain locations, existing bridge parapets will be raised to prevent people from accidentally or otherwise falling onto Overhead Line Equipment. All likely significant effects during both the construction and operational phases will be identified and detailed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report. This will include a detailed schedule of mitigation measures identified to reduce those potential effects.
A specialist Environmental Impact Assessment team has been engaged as part of the overall Multi-Disciplinary Consultant contract. This team will collaborate with the engineering design team during the design development. The environmental team will contribute to assessing the various project options. Prior to the submission of the Railway Order Application, the design development will also be presented to the public at two public consultation events during the project, this is the first of these consultations. This will enable the general public to review and comment on the proposals and provide meaningful feedback on the project, including any environmental issues that they consider important. A comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment Report will be prepared based on the Preliminary Design. The project will also be subject to Appropriate Assessment consideration, as required under the Habitats Directive, which will assess any potential effects on the conservation objectives of European sites. Therefore, at Railway Order Application stage, the project will have assessed the impact of the project on the environment and will provide avoidance, remedy, and mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts during the construction and operational phases.
Additional parking facilities at stations are not included as part of DART+ Coastal North's project scope, which is focussed on the development of infrastructure to facilitate the increase in train frequency on both the Northern and Howth Branch lines. However, separately to the DART+ Coastal North project and outside the railway order, Iarnród Éireann are progressing a number of projects including the Multimodal Interchange Project, DART Station Enhancement Project and, Carparks Programme aimed at developing stations to support future needs.
The Multimodal Interchange Project will assess all stations throughout the network with a view of implementing its strategy at stations where there is need for modifications that will have an impact on multimodal travel and station access. The project will assess a variety of multimodal options at stations including but not limited to the provision of secure bicycle parking and shared mobility services. Iarnród Éireann are working to progress and finalise the Multimodal Interchange Strategy before the end of Q4 2023 with a view to developing an Implementation Plan subject to funding constraints.
Additionally, the DART Station Enhancements Project, currently out to tender for consultant support, will review the future requirements at DART stations and the first phase of this project (design principles guidelines and strategy and implementation plan) is scheduled for completion in Q2 2024. Further stages and roll out of the project will be subject to funding.