Dart Underground on hold but line will be extended

Dart Underground is on hold
Dart Underground is on hold

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe has said that the tunnel will have to be redesigned but other measures to increase the reach of the DART will go ahead.

By 2022, the DART will be extended to Balbriggan but the tunnel for the underground DART, connecting Inchicore and Spencer Dock and including four underground stations, needs to be redesigned according to the Minister, so that project remains on hold.

It has been mooted since 2011 and the project is now on hold until the next capital spending programme is decided next year. It would be 2020 now before work would begin on any new DART Underground tunnel.

In a statement, Minister Donohue said: "As Government works to further stabilize the public finances, we must continue to seek the best value for taxpayers’ money in everything we do. A project of such magnitude - in the order of €4 billion - has to be designed and delivered in a way that best ensures cost effectiveness for the taxpayer and the State. The overall DART Expansion Programme has a key role to play in delivering an efficient transport system and I intend to progress key elements of the overall Programme but the NTA’s recommendations that the tunnel element can be delivered at a reduced cost to the taxpayer have to be accepted’.

“That is why I informed Government today that I endorsed the NTA’s recommendation and secured its approval for the tunnel element of the project to be redesigned.  I will seek, within the resources available in the next Capital Plan, to provide funds to progress the redesign and planning of the project. In the interest of advancing the development of our rail network so that it better meets the needs of commuters, I also informed Government that I intend to progress elements of the overall DART Expansion Programme which bring value in themselves, subject to appropriate business cases and the availability of funding.”

The DART Expansion Programme will go ahead, and that will include 

  • Electrification of the Northern Line to Drogheda;
  • Electrification of the Cork Line from Heuston to Hazelhatch and completion of 4 tracking from Park West to Inchicore;
  • Electrification of the Sligo Line from Connolly to Maynooth, together with removal of level crossings and re-signalling;

The Minister also confirmed that €40m had been spent on the project so far.