Irish Rail have published their proposals to upgrade the commuter train lines around Dublin to DART standard. Included in this is an upgrade of the Maynooth and Dunboyne/M3 Parkway lines.
Obviously, this will have a major positive impact for commuters in Dublin West. They estimate that by 2025, the number of trains going along the line per hour will increase from the current 7 to 15 and the number of passangers who can be carried will go up from 4,500 to 13,750.
Clearly, the plan to close level crossings and in particular, some of the proposals around alternative ways of crossing the railway and the Royal Canal will have major impacts on local communities.
While I have always campaigned for the Maynooth line to be upgraded to DART, I have also always argued that widespread public consultation was necessary.
Irish Rail have indicated that there will be three opportunities for the public to make submissions on the project as it develops:
- Emerging Preferred Option (non-statutory)
- Preferred Option (non-statutory)
- Statutory Consultation on the Railway Order (An Bord Pleanala)
A non-statutory consultation is one that is not required under legislation. The fact that there are two non-statutory consultations in this process is a good thing, as it gives people an opportunity to feed into the process and helps shape the final proposal before it goes to An Bord Pleanala.
The current consultation, on the Emerging Preferred Option, is non-statutory. It runs till 23 September. Because this is the first stage in the public consultation and it important to get as much input as possible at this early stage, I have written to the CE of Irish Rail, Jim Meade, and asked that he extend this by four weeks.