Ireland secures €8.8m EU grant for Dart commuter rail expansion

The grant will be used for the design phase of the upgrade of the Kildare rail line

People in a crowded Dart train in Dublin. File photograph: Joe St Leger

People in a crowded Dart train in Dublin. File photograph: Joe St Leger


The European Commission has awarded Ireland an €8.8 million grant for part of the Government’s Dart expansion programme which seeks to upgrade the main commuter rail lines into Dublin.

The grant will be used for the design phase of the Kildare rail line upgrade and was secured under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a programme which seeks to develop a “resilient transport system”.

The €2.6 billion Dart expansion programme is one of the Government’s key transport projects and involves the provision of electrified rail services from Drogheda, Maynooth and Celbridge to Dublin city centre as well as upgraded signalling systems and junctions. The Kildare upgrade is part of the programme.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said he was “delighted” that the project is being supported by the EU.

“Dart expansion is set to double the capacity of our rail network and will facilitate an important reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a shift towards a climate resilient society,” he said.

“ For the Kildare line, the project will facilitate more services, greater capacity and electrification, as well as enhancing the infrastructure into Heuston Station - one of the busiest rail corridors in the country. ”

Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton also welcomed the news, adding that the “current rail system in Dublin is struggling” and without financial backing, the railway would be left “struggling to accommodate the population growth projected for the region”.

Jim Meade, chief executive of Iarnród Éireann, said: “The Dart expansion project will ensure the communities we serve - both on the Kildare line and nationally - will gain from better rail services, and a more sustainable future.

“The support for this design phase continues the support we have seen over decades from the European Union for the development of rail infrastructure and services in Ireland.”

The CEF is a key EU funding instrument that aims to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment across the bloc.

It supports the development of a “high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European transport network”.

A statement by the European Commission announcing the grant awards, said the EU is “supporting the economic recovery in all member states” by injecting almost € 2.2 billion into 140 key transport projects across the union.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said their contribution to this “crucial transport infrastructure will help kick-start the recovery, and we expect it to generate € 5 billion in investments”.