Minister Donohoe launches €13.7 million project to upgrade Phoenix Park Tunnel

18th August, 2015

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Tuesday) has launched the physical works to upgrade the Phoenix Park Tunnel line. The Minister was joined by Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority (NTA) and David Franks, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann.

The project which is funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport through theNational Transport Authority, will see commuters on the Kildare to Dublin Heuston line have the option of direct trains to Connolly, Tara St, Pearse and Grand Canal Dock Stations from late 2016, and will provide scope for expansion of services as the €13.7 million project to upgrade the Phoenix Park Tunnel line has commenced.

Together with ongoing resignalling works between Connolly and Grand Canal Dock, the project will allow regular commuter trains operate through the Phoenix Park Tunnel for the first time by upgrading the tunnel and route, and increasing the number of train services which can operate on the line between Connolly and Grand Canal Dock.

The project includes:

· Cutting stabilisation, drainage and vegetation clearance

· Tunnel upgrade – cleaning, masonry repairs, lighting, signage, telecoms

· Renewal of a section of track, points and crossings and components

· Signal relocation

· Station works – upgrade works at Drumcondra to include new ticket gates, and upgrade works at Tara St station to include new southbound lift shaft

Services on the Kildare commuter line will be a mix of Kildare to Dublin Heuston and Kildare to Grand Canal Dock services, offering new connections to commuters.  The new services will commence in Autumn 2016.

At today’s launch of the project in Heuston Station, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD said: ’I very much welcome this innovative new public transport project. For the first time, commuters on the popular Kildare suburban rail line will have frequent services directly into the heart of the city centre business district. This will provide an attractive alternative for private motorists who currently commute into the city along the congested N7 corridor. I would like to congratulate the NTA and Iarnród Éireann on their successful partnership in planning projects such as this, which seek to promote modal shift to more sustainable public transport options.’

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority said: ‘the NTA is delighted that the works are now commencing on the Phoenix Park Tunnel, a project that the Authority promoted and funded. Both the Phoenix Park tunnel and the on-going work on the city centre re-signalling will exploit the full potential of existing rail infrastructure at minimal cost and will offer more rail travel options for public transport customers.’

David Franks, Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive, said: ‘we look forward to giving improved connections to new and existing customers through the upgrade of the Phoenix Park Tunnel line.  They will be of particular benefit for those commuting between the Kildare line and the south city area served by Pearse and Grand Canal Dock, offering direct connections which are not currently available by public transport.’

Notes for Editors

  1. The Phoenix Park Tunnel is 757 yards long. The full line from Islandbridge to Glasnevin Junction is 2.75 miles long, and after the tunnel section continues through Cabra before joining the Maynooth line at Glasnevin Junction.
  2. The line and tunnel were opened in 1877.
  3. Currently the line is used for freight services, transfer of trains between maintenance depots, and special trains for events like matches, concerts and charters.
  4. Regular commuter services have never operated through the tunnel in the modern era due to capacity constraints at Connolly Station, which are being addressed by current resignalling works.
  5. The line has occasionally been used for scheduled Intercity services, most recently two Sunday services from Limerick and Galway which operated between June 1998 and September 2001.