A CONTRACT for phase one of the Dublin to Navan railway line – a 7.5km link between Clonsilla in north Dublin and Pace in Co Meath – is to be awarded in September, according to the Department of Transport.
The line is to have stations at Hansfield, Dunboyne and Pace, where the State’s largest park-and-ride facility with capacity for 1,200 cars is to be located, close to the M3 motorway.
The M3 and the rail line to Pace are due to open to traffic in 2010, although there is some expectation the M3 may open ahead of schedule in 2009. The rail journey time from Pace to Dublin is expected to be some 33 minutes, with trains leaving every 15 minutes at peak times, and every 30 minutes during the off-peak.
As well as bringing in commuters from the park-and-ride site it is intended the rail line will serve the new and expanding suburbs at Ongar and Dunboyne.
The planned route from Docklands station in Dublin follows the old Navan branch which operated from 1862, to 1963. It is 5km from Clonsilla to Dunboyne and a further 2.5km to Pace.
Since closure, the track was lifted and most of the land was sold by CIÉ. But the alignment is still intact and largely free of development.
The first official recommendation to reopen the line was contained in the Dublin transportation Office publication Platform for Change, published in March 2000.
Reopening the line is also an objective of the development plan compiled by Meath County Council even though the council spent €20 million laying a mains sewer along the alignment in the last five years.
According to the Government’s transport strategy, Transport 21, the route is to be the first section of the reopening of the entire 28.5km link between Dublin and Navan, Co Meath.
However, it is understood the remaining section of the route, which is not due for completion until 2015, is not well advanced in planning.
Moreover, there are fears work on the project may suffer from forthcoming Government cuts.
The Transport 21 website yesterday described the Navan section as being developed “subject to further studies”.
The Irish Times