Rail chiefs predicted today that 100 million passengers would be travelling on the train network when a new underground line through the heart of Dublin opens in 2015.
Iarnrod Eireann claimed the DART link will be the single most important infrastructure project in the next decade and key to getting people out of their cars and onto public transport.
The line will run from the Docklands on the north side, across the River Liffey to Pearse Street, on to St Stephen’s Green and out to Heuston Station.
“The Interconnector rail line, from Docklands to Heuston Station, will complete the quadrupling of the Greater Dublin area’s rail service capacity from 25 million passenger journeys annually now, to 100 million passenger journeys,” Iarnrod Eireann said in a statement.
“The Interconnector will be the single most important piece of infrastructure in the state to ensure a modal shift from private to public transport and free future generations from the gridlock which cripples the Greater Dublin area today.”
The company has advertised for specialists to assist in progressing the design, and construction work is due to start on the route in 2009.
Iarnrod Eireann said it will dramatically increase frequency and capacity for commuters on the DART, northern, Maynooth and Kildare lines – which serve the three fastest growing commuter belts in the country.
Part of the development also includes plans to extend the DART network to Maynooth, Hazelhatch and Balbriggan.
The interconnector is part of the Government’s ambitious Transport 21 plan and will link all rail modes in the city – Commuter and Intercity services, Luas and the proposed Metro.
The 5.2km underground line links with the Northern line Dart branching off at Clontarf Road and going underground at the proposed Docklands Station where the line will connect with the Red Luas.
It continues to Pearse, connecting with the proposed Maynooth to Greystones Dart line, and on to St Stephen’s Green, connecting with the Green Luas and the planned Metro to Dublin Airport.
It then continues to High Street at Christchurch, linking with the Red Luas at Heuston as well as the Intercity and Commuter services before merging above ground on upgraded lines to Hazelhatch.
Iarnrod Eireann said the line will improve the limited suburb-to-suburb travel with links between Balbriggan and Hazelhatch; and Maynooth and Greystones.
The company is already in discussion with the Rail Procurement Agency to develop plans for key interchanges such as St Stephen’s Green, where Luas and Metro services will be accessible.
New stations are also planned for upgraded rail lines from the west of the city at Adamstown, Kishogue, ParkWest, Fonthill Road, Grange Road, Pelletstown, Hansfield, Dunboyne, Pace M3 park’n’ride and Phoenix Park.