Extension of DART services on Maynooth line could prompt level crossing closures

Proposals to extend services could benefit Kildare passengers

Kim O'Leary


Kim O'Leary



Maynooth DART extension delayed

(File photo)

Plans for a €2 billion expansion of the DART commuter train network from Dublin may result in the permanent closure of several level crossings in Maynooth.

The proposed plan is expected to extend DART services to Celbridge, Maynooth, Drogheda and Dunboyne.

The Maynooth line could see the permanent closure of six level crossings to facilitate the expansion of DART services, with a possibility of new bridges needing to be built to accommodate pedestrians and vehicles, according to a report in the Irish Times.

The Dart expansion programme is a cornerstone of the Government’s National Development Plan for 2018 to 2027, and also of its major capital programme, Project Ireland 2040.

It proposes new electrified DART services to Drogheda on the Northern line, to Celbridge on the Kildare line, to Maynooth and Dunboyne on the Sligo line as well as an enhanced service on the southeastern line.

The multi-disciplinary consultancy team contract as part of the project to extend DART services in Maynooth and Leixlip was awarded in December 2019. Labour’s Emmet Stagg said the team will play a pivotal role in developing the design and tender preparation for the project. 

In addition to providing DART to Maynooth and Leixlip, the project involves development and enhancements to city centre stations and network, and re-signalling from Maynooth to Connolly/Dockland. Mr Stagg said the project is “vital” in delivering DART to Maynooth and Leixlip.

At present, the DART runs only on one line, from Greystones in Co Wicklow to Malahide, Co Dublin. An interim measure on some lines pre-electrification would see Dart stock being powered by hybrid engines using diesel and battery packs.

It is estimated that the Dart Expansion, when completed, would allow peak commuter capacity increase from the present 26,000 passengers per hour at peak times to 60,000. Should the Dart underground tunnel become operational, it is estimated the capacity would increase to 80,000 at peak hours.