Transport | North Kildare passenger commute capacity facilities plan
To ask the Minister for Transport the extent to which passenger capacity is being or can be improved on the north Kildare commuter lines such as Naas-Sallins, Hazelhatch, Kilcock, Maynooth, Leixlip and Confey; if park-and-ride facilities are likely to be provided or extended on these very busy routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy nay be aware, the DART+ Programme is a cornerstone programme of projects for the development of rail in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). The programme will extend and enhance the current DART system and services west to Maynooth and Celbridge/Hazelhatch, south to Greystones and north to Drogheda. Once complete, the programme will deliver a doubling of existing DART capacity.
The Government decision on DART+ from December 2021 included specific approvals to purchase additional DART fleet for the DART+ West project to enter the statutory planning process. In respect of new DART+ fleet, a down payment was made for 95 new electric and battery-electric units at the end last year, with these units expected to enter service in 2025. In respect of DART+ West, a Railway Order application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Iarnród Éireann on 29 July and the consultation period is now open.
Further extensions to DART services in the years ahead are being considered as part of the NTA’s review of the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area. The revised draft Strategy includes proposals to extend DART services beyond Maynooth and Cellbridge/Hazelhatch. However, any such extensions are separate projects to DART+ West and DART+ South West and would require their own approvals.
The Deputy may recall, in addition to the DART+ Fleet project, the Government has previously approved the purchase of 41 additional intercity railcars. These additional carriages, the first of which arrived in Ireland in recent weeks, will allow for enhanced services in the GDA upon entry into service in 2023.
In relation to park and ride facilities, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure in our cities, including park and ride facilities through the Park and Ride Development Office. Noting the NTA’s responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.
I am writing to you concerning the matters you raised in Parliamentary Question No. 39 of 22 September last, which have been referred to the National Transport Authority (NTA) for reply. I apologise for the delay in responding.
The NTA established a Park and Ride Development Office (PRDO) in February 2020. The function of the Park and Ride Development Office is to enable the delivery of key Park & Ride sites by the NTA in collaboration with all Local Authorities and transport agencies such as Iarnród Éireann across all regions providing full time specialist resources on these projects.
The Park and Ride Development Office published a Park and Ride Strategy for the region as part of the Draft Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). The Strategy sets out the vision and objectives for Park & Ride and identified the zones for rail based strategic Park and Ride sites in County Kildare.
The Park and Ride Strategy recommends a 1000 (500 initially) space Park and Ride car park at either a new station at Collinstown or the proposed Maynooth Depot. It also recommends a 1000 space Park and Ride car park at a new station to the west of Sallins.
The PRDO has identified several sites within the recommended zones and is currently assessing these sites with respect to engineering, land use, planning and public transport aspects. From this it will identify the preferred site options and undertake multi-criteria analysis. The Collinstown zone is emerging as the preferred option. In conjunction with key stakeholders, including the Local Authority and Iarnród Éireann the projects will be prioritised and progressed through to planning.
In addition to this work, the Park & Ride Development Office is working with Irish Rail to deliver increased parking at existing rail stations nationally. Kildare and Athy railway stations have been identified in the initial priority list for increased car parking in the Irish Rail Car Park programme. Hazelhatch & Celbridge, Leixlip Louisa Bridge and Newbridge will be considered in the medium term. Furthermore, the lease of the recently opened 200 additional spaces at Sallins Rail Station is being funded by NTA and 200 spaces have been provided under a recent upgrade at Maynooth Railway Station.
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