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Alstom to provide the most sustainable fleet of trains in Irish transport history

French giant Alstom will provide Iarnród Éireann with a new Dart fleet, beginning with a €318 million deal for 95 carriages, in what is a record contract for the State rail company.

The National Development Plan proposes expanding Dublin’s Dart network, boosting its reach from 50km to 150km.

Alstom will supply up to 750 carriages to Iarnród Éireann over 10 years for the extended network in a deal that the pair announced on Monday.

The French locomotive manufacturer will supply an initial 95 carriages for €318 million under the agreement’s terms.

According to Iarnród Éireann, the agreement is the biggest of its kind in the history of Irish public transport.

Iarnród Éireann will use the carriages on the proposed Drogheda to Dublin northern commuter service and on the existing Malahide-Howth and Bray-Greystones Dart lines.

The State company notes that the new carriages will free up others for use on other commuter services and inter-city routes.

Alstom is one of the world’s biggest locomotive manufacturers. It already supplies Dublin’s Luas trams, but is best known as the company behind France’s high-speed TGV inter-city trains.

The expansion plan, Dubbed Dart+, consists of five projects. The west element will provide more frequent services between Dublin and Maynooth and the M3 Parkway.

Following two public consultations, Iarnród Éireann intends to double frequencies to 12 trains an hour and increase passenger capacity to 13,200 from 5,000.

Consultation is under way on the southwest element from Dublin to Hazelhatch and Celbridge.

This will increase services to 23 trains an hour from 12, quadrupling potential passenger numbers to 20,000. That plan includes proposals to increase space on existing commuter and inter-city services on the route.

Between them, coastal north and south will extend the service from Greystones to Drogheda from the existing termination point at Malahide.

Iarnród Éireann will begin seeking the public’s views on this midway through next year.

Initial deal

The Dart+ fleet programme involves adding 750 battery- and electric-powered carriages to the service over a decade to cover demand on the extended and newly created routes.

The initial deal agreed with Alstom includes six five-carriage conventional electric trains and 13 five-carriage battery-electric locomotives.

According to Iarnród Éireann, the initial €318 million bill includes a once-off design cost, which will not apply to subsequent deliveries.

Alstom will also maintain the trains for 15 years and provide three simulators for training drivers.

Government has approved the €318 million spend, which the National Transport Authority will provide under the 2021-2030 development plan.

The five-carriage trains will be as long as the current four-car locomotives now used on the Dart, but wider.

The plan allows for two to be joined to create 10-carriage trains, which will be able to transport at least 1,100 passengers.

Iarnród Éireann says the carriages will have better security, including closed-circuit TV.

New facilities will include better and clearer passenger information, mobile phone chargers and space for bikes.

Important market

Jim Meade, Iarnród Éireann’s chief executive, said the agreement and the associated boost to the Dart’s network would allow the company to achieve its ambition of “being the backbone of Ireland’s sustainable transport network”.

Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s Ireland and UK managing director, said the Republic was an important market to the company.

“This order reinforces Alstom’s position as the world’s leading innovator and supplier of green mobility technologies,” he added.

Anne Graham, NTA chief executive, said the deal was a signal of progress in plans to develop public transport service in the Dublin region that would meet and exceed demands for decades to come.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said “expanding and improving public transport is key to reaching our climate goals”.

 

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