New Dart carriages revealed ahead of entering service in 2025

Move is part of the Dart+ programme, which will more than double capacity and treble electrification

A prototype of the new Dart carriages, set to come into service in 2025, was unveiled by Iarnród Éireann on Wednesday.

The new carriages have been developed by French manufacturers Alstom, which is in the final phase of the design process.

A total of 185 of the new carriages have been ordered to date, with delivery commencing in 2024 and the carriages entering service from 2025.

The order is part of the Dart+ programme, which will more than double the commuter capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area rail network.


The number of people living within 1km of a Dart station will increase from about 250,000 at present to 600,000 in future.

Up to 750 of the new carriages will be ordered over the next decade under a framework contract with Alstom. They are being constructed at the company’s factory near Katowice in Poland.

The prototype of the new carriage was unveiled at the Inchicore Railway Works in Dublin on Wednesday. It was a composite sample carriage, demonstrating key features which will be throughout the new trains.

The features include the prioritisation of independent access, with low-height doorway thresholds on all carriages equipped with an automatic retractable step.

Iarnród Éireann said it would offer the potential for unassisted level access from suitable platforms, aligned with platform enhancements. In addition, improved dedicated wheelchair spaces will be provided.

There will also be improved facilities for families and for cyclists, with dedicated family areas, and bike areas.

Furthermore, the company said the carriages will allow for enhanced customer information, with large, high-resolution on-board displays with the ability to provide real-time updates, including information from other public transport systems.

The displays include features such as indicators for customers on busier areas of the train, and advance notice of which side to exit the train.

There will also be charging facilities throughout for connected customers on the move, as well as an advanced CCTV system with cameras throughout every carriage to enhance safety and security for customers and employees.

Speaking at the unveiling, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the new carriages represent “the future of travel”.

“The future is electric – battery electric,” he said. “It’s accessible. When you design for accessibility it improves the service for everyone. It’s also a huge expansion of the Dart+ programme.

“The first trains will be running to Drogheda without wires but on batteries. We have plans right across the country for metropolitan rail in Cork, Limerick, extending other lines, southwest to south, out of Dublin. It is these trains that are going to do it.

“They are following in a proud tradition. The Dart carriages we have running today have served us well, a lot of them for 40 years. This is the next part of the century. It is the train of the future.

“It’s a signal of confidence in rail of being the centre of our transport system in the future.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter