Ireland is going for electric trains on a large scale. The Irish State Railway Iarnród Éireann just announced the launch of a tender for a total of up to 600 electrically driven wagons over the next ten years.
The electric trains should be supplied with electricity via overhead lines, but also battery-powered. For a quick response to meet record demand on Ireland’s railways, Iarnród Éireann and the NTA are also progressing shorter-term options.
The overall measure is called DART Expansion – a €2 billion investment under Project Ireland 2040. The investment should purchase 300 new carriages, with the electrification of lines to Maynooth, M3 Parkway, Hazelhatch and Drogheda, as well as key infrastructure works to allow more trains to operate in the Greater Dublin Area.
The ambitious tender for up to 600 carriages is supposed to allow for the planned fleet expansion, replacement of the original DART fleet and other carriages as well as ensuring that more carriages can be ordered in the case of further growth. Chief Executive Officer of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham said: “The procurement of this fleet is the first step in the delivery of Dart Expansion, a programme that will attract some €2b in NTA funding in the coming decades.”
To get things moving quickly, Iarnród Éireann and the NTA are also progressing shorter-term options to the above-mentioned demand on Ireland’s railways. For this purpose, negotiations are underway between Iarnród Éireann and its supplier seeking to agree an order for at least 41 extra Intercity railcar carriages, adding to an existing fleet of 234 vehicles, to enter service from late 2021
To cover all bases, the NTA have also started a tender process for the possible purchase or lease of pre-owned trains, which would involve modifications to fleet, particularly as Ireland’s track gauge differs from that of other railways.
Chief Executive of Iarnród Eireann, Jim Meade said the DART expansion project will “revolutionise public transport in the greater Dublin area, providing an even more frequent and environmentally sustainable commuting option for new and existing communities. It will also provide greater capacity for Intercity and regional commuter services as carriages currently utilised in the greater Dublin area will become available for other services.“
The tender was published yesterday Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) and is expected to attract the attention of most global train manufacturers. Full details at etenders here.