The Deputy Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, Hugh Creegan, has moved to allay concerns arising from reports that the project to bring the DART to Drogheda has been downgraded
“I can assure you that this is not the case” Mr. Creegan told Deputy Fergus O’Dowd in response to a query on the issue, the provision of DART services to Drogheda remains a key priority within the overall DART+ Programme.
“The objective of the DART+ Programme remains unchanged – to extend the DART system to Drogheda on the Northern Line, to Maynooth on the Sligo Line, to Celbridge on the Kildare Line, and to increase the DART frequency to Greystones on the Southeastern Line” he said.
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In relation to the electrification of the line to Drogheda, Mr. Creegan said that tenders for the appointment of the design team have now been received by Irish Rail and he expects the contract for that design team to be awarded next month and that design work would start immediately after that.
He revealed that tenders have been sought for the provision of both conventional fully electric and hybrid electric-battery DART trains. The hybrid electric-battery fleet would operate using the overhead power line when available, but can also operate long distances on battery power only where the line is not electrified.
Tenders for both types of trains (which are intended to be identical vehicles other than the inclusion of battery packs below the vehicle floor in the hybrid model) have now been received and are being evaluated.
It is expected that the fleet contract will be awarded in early Quarter 2 of next year. At that stage we will be in a better position to advise on the manufacturing timeline for the new train vehicles (which will be a number of years) and the likely date of their introduction into service.
While final decisions on the purchase of new fleet has yet to be made, and will require a Government approval of the awarding of the fleet contract, the purchase of hybrid electric-battery fleet would mean that DART services to Drogheda could be introduced in advance of the full electrification of the line, depending on the timeline of the various elements of the DART+ Programme.
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