This from Paul Murphy in the Meath Chronicle:
A CLAIM that Navan’s case for a rail link with Dublin has been harmed by the development of villages like Ratoath into towns at the expense of Dunshaughlin was made this week by the Meath on Track lobby group.
The organisation says that demand for the rail line will be calculated by potential users on foot and within a short drivi8ng distance of a Dunshaughlin station.
Meanwhile, local TD and Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey has welcomed the invitation to people in Meath to express their views on the route of the proposed rail line between Dublin and the county. Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee said that good progress was being made on the Dublin to Dunboyne rail link.
Two separate public meetings on the Dublin-Navan project were held in the county last week but were not well attended.
In a statement following the consultation, Meath on Track said that a failure to develop Dunshaughlin as part of the land use strategy would undermine the project. Spokesman Proinsias MacFhearghusa said: “There will be no capacity allocated to trains from Navan in the Docklands station. This will be allocated now to Maynooth and Dunboyne. Fifteen minute interval capacity for Navan will now be contingent on the proposed e1 billion DART inter-connector tunnel which will run underground from the Docklands station via Dublin’s southside on to Heuston Station.
“Minister Martin Cullen stated clearly when he turned the sod on the Docklands station that it would provide city centre capacity for Navan trains,” he said.
The campaign group said that the consultants’ likely location for Navan station would be off the Trim Road on the old alignment. “They are not interested in a
northerly progression as the level crossing gates close to the hospital are a problem, supposedly, although not for the highly busy Sandymount gates in Dublin which takes a train every five minutes.
“I pointed out at the consultation meeting that Navan is notoriously difficult to get through because of traffic, and Kells and north Meath commuters will add to that problem unless there is a northern park-and-ride facility near the former Navan Carpets site to cater for them,” Mr MacFhearghusa said.
He added that a consultant had stated at the meeting that there used to be level crossing gates on the Trim Road which would have to be reinstated, “but I corrected him to state that there used be a bridge at that point which could be reinstated.”
MOT said that the present consultants for the project had not used the Ove Arup recommendation from the 2002 report for a park and ride at Bective to tie in with the proposed M3 interchange at Cannistown, but would now consider it.
Minister Dempsey said this week that Iarnrod Eireann and Meath County Council were seeking local views on the proposed rail line and he urged people to participate fully in the process. “The consultation is a step forward in the process and a step closer to seeing the rail line realised,” the Minister said, adding that he had fought to have a specific inclusion in the new National Development Plan on the delivery of the Navan rail line.
“It is Meath residents and commuters who will benefit from the proposed line and, therefore, any decision that is made will affect them directly. It is only right that they be included in the decision-making process,” he said.
Suggestions and proposals can be made to Navan Scoping Study Team, Iarnrod Eireann, New Works, Track and Signals HQ, Inchicore, Dublin 8, or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org