The National Transport Authority’s Integrated Implementation Plan published yesterday provides for the long-awaited improvements to the rail traffic bottleneck at Connolly Station. Getting these improvements in place allows for scheduled passenger trains to travel through the Phoenix Park tunnel outside of Heuston Station direct to Connolly. The Phoenix Park tunnel, which despite some media reports has never been closed as such will now allow Kildare line trains to run direct into the City Centre for the first time.
The report states:
The City Centre Re-signalling project will provide for significant capacity enhancement through this section by upgrading signalling and turn-back facilities to accommodate up to a potential 8 additional train paths per direction per hour (up from 12 at present) in the critical city centre area. It is a key project aimed at unlocking the existing major bottleneck in the city centre, which will have positive spin-off effects for DART, Commuter and Intercity passengers.
It will provide the necessary capacity through the city centre to cater for other projects within the greater Dublin area, including in particular, the Phoenix Park Tunnel Link.
Getting the extra train paths into Connolly will allow for Kildare line services to run to Connolly as soon as 2015 or 2016. It’s worth pointing out that this project is not a replacement for Dart Underground, but should provide the backbone needed to get Dart Underground going presuming funding is obtained for that project after 2016.
Significantly seven level crossings on the Maynooth line are earmarked for closure. This is very significant as these closures will remove speed restrictions and therefore speed up the journey time from Maynooth to the City Centre.