It depends on what you mean by improvements?
If you mean faster journey times, then no, I don't see any major improvements in that area without significant investment in quad tracking, passing loops, etc. and even then there is only so much you can do before you run into platform/station capacity constraints.
If you mean improvements in capacity? Then yes, more can be done with the existing network.
More DART carriages, so all DART trains are 8 carriage trains would go a long way to helping ease the overcrowding we are seeing.
More commuter carriages and trains are badly needed.
Commuter trains being hybird eletric-diesel, so that they can act more like DARTs along the electrified sections of track, stopping more frequently at stations, would help better balance capacity between services (e.g. where people are seeing half empty commuter trains pass by jam packed DARTs).
There are things to be done infrastructure wise that can help. Closing level crossings would be a major one. But to be honest I wouldn't expect big journey time improvements from them, I suspect time gains will get eaten up by increased capacity, more trains, more frequency, more stations, more stopping.
Honestly I'd say the best to hope for is journey times remain relatively static, while capacity grows greatly.
I'm looking forward to see what they come up with for the DART expansion plan.
They're not additional services, they are existing services having extra stops added.
This 1653 from Connolly is a nonsense. Sitting in the siding at Clongriffin every day now. It's become a thirty minute train journey now for what used to be 13 minutes.
It's to allow a commuter train to overtake as Clongriffin is one of the very few places that is possible thanks to having a passing loop.
I know why it's doing it.
But it's not much consolation really
This is what I'm talking about: focus on your bit of the jigsaw and forget about the rest. If we need to massively compensate the people who own the buildings and the residents fine, spend the money, but GET MOVING. If we need to go as far as a constitutional ammendment to make CPO / eminent domain easier we should go that far. How many more of these kind of objections are going to throw a spanner in the works? I was in a schoolkid when these proposals were announced and they are still not being built.
The pattern is always the same:
1. Announce it
2. Arse around for years with objections and consultations
3. Cancel it to instead buy an election or stave off a total massacre by the electorate during a recession by bribing them
4. New govt elected, faffs around thinking over new plans
5. New govt announces totally new plan that has to do through the same consultation process all over again...and by the time that's finished....
6. Years have passed, the boom.bust cycle has turned again, were in recession once again, and once again saving AIB is more important than national infrastructure....
7. The people who objected because it would mean moving a pitch or changing apt are totally baffled as to why the same trains are delayed going through COnnoly every single day, confused as to why it takes them forever to get to and from work, don't understand why they can never get a seat on the train etc they don't connect the dots at all. The bribe with their own tax money which they barely notice satisfies them in the short term, telling the politicos that's what you do to get the mob to put down their torches, not treat them like adults and make an argument for a longer term plan that leaves them much better off - bribe them in the short term.