40 new carriages for DART in 2005


Iarnrod Éireann has signed an €80 million contract for 40 new DART carriages that will come into service in 2005. The order represents an almost doubling of the size of the fleet over 2000 levels, which had remained at 80 carriages since 1984.

The new carriages are to be air-conditioned and will carry closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to enhance security.

They will enter service as Iarnród's Éireann's platform extensions on the DART line are due to be completed, allowing the company to run eight carriages together, creating trains worth €16 million each.

Given that the morning peak average fare from Dublin or Howth to the city centre is about €1.50 and an eight carriage train would have capacity for about 1,800 passengers, such a train would have an earning power of about €2,700 per journey.

"But you really can't look at it like that", Iarnród Éireann spokesman Mr Barry Kenny said yesterday, adding that "trains have other, social values in terms of keeping people out of cars and easing congestion and environmental pressures".

Mr Kenny also pointed out that the DART service accounts show the service "about breaks even" after its Government subvention.

Apart from the improved air conditioning and CCTV, the 40 new carriages are to be built to the same specifications as recent new orders and will bring the total DART fleet to 154. This represents a more than doubling of the original capacity of the 80 carriage fleet, said Mr Kenny.

From the launch of DART in 1994 up to 2000, the original 80 carriages operated the entire service during a time when passenger numbers increased from 35,000 daily to more than 80,000. Since 2000, 36 new carriages have entered service. More then 90,000 daily commuters now use the DART.

Iarnród Éireann now has a total of 187 carriages on order for its entire fleet, which includes suburban, Arrow, and inter-city trains, and further orders are planned. These include a €115 million order for 80 new carriages for suburban services in the greater Dublin area, which will enter service in mid-2003, and a €117 million order for 67 new inter-city carriages, which will enter service in 2005

The new inter-city trains will represent the first new carriages on the inter-city fleet for more than 20 years, with the exception of the Enterprise service to Belfast.