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Long-term possibility for the DART on the Northside

  • 22-05-2020 11:54am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭

    This is an idea which has been floating around in my head (and doubtless most heads of those regular on the board) for several years now. I haven't seen it discussed as a possibility on, for example, the 'DART Expansion' thread, and it doesn't belong there, as that deals with a current plan.

    The current main problem on the Northern DART into/out of Connolly is fitting in the DART service, Arrow trains and the Enterprise on, for the most part, just two tracks, and slotting Maynooth/Dunboyne services into that system.

    The obvious solution is to four-track the Northern DART all the way to, say, Malahide. That would, however, involve large costs in terms of land take and station reconstruction.

    Thanks to the COVID-19 virus I doubt if I'm going to be back in Dublin this year to back any of this up, but it seems to me that extending the 4-track arrangement from Clontarf Road to the Howth Road should be relatively easy, without any significant land-take from neighbouring houses.

    Once you get a bit beyond that, heading northward, there would seem to be scope - possibly requiring a small realignment of the main DART/Arrow/Enterprise tracks - for development of a DART spur, broadly entering into a tunnel across the lands of Clontarf Golf Club. (Their land is owned by the City Council, but this would certainly involve impairments to the club's course for 2-3 years).

    Beyond the hurdle of splitting off from the Northern Line, this tunnel would be extended - gradually and probably by some cut-and-cover means - to a possible underground station beside the current Killester DART station?) and along Killester Avenue, Middle Third and Abbeyfield to another station at St. Brigid's Crescent (or Artane Roundabout), and then broadly along the Malahide Road, to Malahide - though, not necessarily, the current Malahide Station (Of course, once you get this tunnel out beyond, say, Darndale, the airport might also be a possibility).

    Once you get to the Malahide Road, there would seem, from what I remember of Dublin:(, to be scope for cut-and-cover tunnelling (it's quite wide) and elevated track.

    The advantages of doing something like this would broadly be:

    it would provide new areas of the city (Artane, Coolock, Darndale) with a rapid and direct connection with the city centre;
    it would free up space on the Northern DART line for Arrow services and the Enterprise; and
    it should be possible to bring it into service, serving areas like Artane and Coolock, before it reaches its intended destination which, to my mind, is 'Malahide'.

    There shouldn't be any reason why DART trains can't go into a tunnel: it does already, in Dalkey, and there was an earlier plan for those trains to also do so in the city centre.

    The disadvantages would primarily be:

    it would be expensive;
    it would be disruptive.

    On these problems, I would say that four-tracking the Northside DART line in its entirety, to, say, Malahide, would also be expensive, and very disruptive. The above idea would also be more expensive, and surely more disruptive - these cut-and-cover operations along streets usually last at least a couple of years.

    If this idea were in place, you could have a service into the city centre from 'Malahide' every few minutes (every 7-8?), You'd provide, maybe, a 15-minute service to all the current stations on the Northern DART, and you'd free up space for the Enterprise and Arrow trains.

    If there were also an inland DART route, through Artane, Coolock, etc, this would reduce pressure on the current DART/Arrow/Enterprise route. A lot of people in, say, Coolock, are migrating to the DART as their way into town. And, if there were an Inland DART route they wouldn't need to, thus reducing pressure on the current DART, and making their day - and the DART service on the northside - much more efficient.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,512 ✭✭✭strassenwo!f

    One other cost saving, probably relatively small in the context of such a scheme, might be that there should then be no need to electrify the DART beyond Malahide, as there would be slots for more Arrow trains. Of course, by the time any idea such as the above could be implemented, battery technology is likely to have moved way beyond what it is currently, and further electrification may not in any case be necessary.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,761 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek

    Closing thread as it is just strassenwolf talking to himself.

This discussion has been closed.