Celbridge Dart plan gets green light to move to planning application

Cabinet decision comes as An Bord Pleanála announces delay of up to nine months in Dart extension to Maynooth

Plans for a Dublin Dart extension to Celbridge are set to enter the planning system. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Government has approved plans for a proposed extension of Dublin’s Dart rail line to Celbridge, Co Kildare to enter the planning system.

The Dart+ South West project proposes a fully electrified Dart service on a 20km stretch of track from Dublin city centre to Hazelhatch and Celbridge station. It will see a new station built, Heuston West, at Islandbridge and the quadrupling of track between Park West and Heuston over a 5km section.

The project also includes the electrification of the Phoenix Park Tunnel, allowing Dart trains to operate between Hazelhatch/Celbridge and Connolly station and the existing east coast lines.

MetroLink and Dart+ will be significantly progressed from early 2024Opens in new window ]

Dart+ South West is one of four proposed new lines, the others being Dart+ Coastal North (to Drogheda), Dart+ Coastal South (to Greystones) and Dart+ West from Heuston Station to the M3 Parkway and Maynooth.


The announcement that the Cabinet had approved Dart+ South West to proceed in the planning system was made by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on Wednesday.

It came, however, as An Bord Pleanála announced a delay of up to nine months in the determination of a planning application for Dart+ West – the only one of the four routes for which an application has been lodged.

A planning application for a railway order – planning permission for a railway line – was submitted to An Bord Pleanála for the Dart+ West extension to Maynooth and the M3 Parkway near Dunboyne, Co Meath, last July and a decision was expected this month.

In a letter to the applicant CIE, the parent company of Irish Rail, however, the board said it “hereby serves notice that it would not be possible to determine the application within the period of 18 weeks, ie by the 2nd of March”.

An Bord Pleanála said it now intends to “to determine this application by before the 15th of December 2023″.

MetroLink could jeopardise the real missing link in Dublin’s transport plansOpens in new window ]

All routes remain “subject to planning permission and final funding arrangements”, the Department of Transport said.

According to the Dart+ project’s timetable, construction works for the West line are due to get under way next year. The department said construction for the South West line “could commence in 2025, with delivery of the infrastructure by the end of the decade”.

Mr Ryan said services to Drogheda could begin with the delivery of the first batch of 90 new battery-operated Dart carriages arriving from French manufacturer and Luas builder Alstom SA, next year. “This will see new Dart services between Drogheda and Dublin city from early 2025,″ he said.

The multibillion-euro Dart+ programme aims to treble the current network from 53km to 150km and the number of people living within one kilometre of a Dart station would increase from about 250,000 currently to 600,000 in future.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist