Dublin Area Rapid Transit
|Dublin Area Rapid Transit
|Transit type||Rapid transit, Heavy Rail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||31|
|System length||53 km (33 mi) approx|
|Track gauge||Irish Broad Gauge|
The Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is part of the suburban railway network in Ireland, running along the coastline of Dublin Bay on the Trans-Dublin route, from Greystones in County Wicklow through Dublin to Howth and Malahide in County Dublin.
Trains are powered by 1500V DC overhead catenary. The national rail operator, Iarnród Éireann (IE), administers the DART system. On its inception in 1984, the DART was operated by Coras Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), of which IE is now a subsidiary. Part of the DART route, from the city centre to Dún Laoghaire, was the first railway in Ireland, opening as the Dublin and Kingstown Railway on 17 December 1834.
Development and redevelopment of the DART
The original DART service ran from Howth north-east of Dublin, through the city centre stations of Connolly, Tara Street, and Pearse, and south to Bray in County Wicklow. This remained the route for some 15 years, until the extension by one stop further south to the town of Greystones, and north from Howth Junction & Donaghmede by two stops further along the Belfast main line to Portmarnock and Malahide.
Through south Dublin, from Pearse Station to Dun Laoghaire, the DART runs over Ireland's oldest railway, dating from 1834. For most of its route south of the city centre, the DART hugs the coast closely, and the scenic views over Dublin bay make it a popular tourist attraction.
Prior to the start of the electrified DART service in 1984, the line was previously operated by CIÉ 2600 Class diesel railcars dating from the early 1950s, which had been converted in the early 1970s to push-pull operation with a CIE 201 Class diesel locomotive at one end of the train and a driving trailer carriage at the other. The service was notoriously uncomfortable, unreliable, frequently overcrowded and in urgent need of upgrading. By the late 1960s, the 2600 Class diesel railcars were in a poor condition, with spare parts becoming increasing hard to obtain. The conversion to push-pull operation was a temporary expediency until an adequate replacement (i.e. the DART service) could be introduced.
In the early 1980s, in preparation for electrification, two new stations were added. Sandymount station at Sandymount Avenue was opened on the site where a station had previously stood, and Salthill was built near the site of the original Kingstown railway terminus, between Seapoint and Dún Laoghaire. At the time of the electrification work from 1981–82, the former branch to Dun Laoghaire pier used by ferry passengers was disconnected as the main track would have had to have been lowered in order to fit the overhead power cables under road bridges in Dun Laoghaire; some ten years later a new passenger ferry terminal was built immediately adjacent to the main Dun Laoghaire station. Its busiest day was 4 July , 1996, when 250,000 people went to Dun Laoghaire to visit the US aircraft carrier, USS John F Kennedy.
A mixed fleet of electric multiple-unit trains provides the service:
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|8100 Class||Electric Multiple Unit||100||62||38||Greystones-Malahide/Howth||1984|
|8500 Class||Electric Multiple Unit||110||68||4||Greystones-Malahide/Howth||2000|
|8510 Class||Electric Multiple Unit||110||68||3||Greystones-Malahide/Howth||2002|
|8520 Class||Electric Multiple Unit||110||68||10||Greystones-Malahide/Howth||2004|
As of 2010, DARTs run at a frequency of every 15 minutes between Howth Junction and Bray off peak, with an extension to Greystones every half hour, and a reduced frequency on Sundays. Extra trains run at peak times to the city centre. Trains north of Howth Junction split unevenly between Malahide and Howth, with Malahide DARTs being supplemented by Northern Commuter trains, however there is not a regular service pattern on either branch from one hour to the next.
Trains normally run coupled as six- or eight-car trains in the peak periods, typically between 07:00-09:30 and 17:00-18:30, and as four-car trains at other times. The four car sets typically operate with an 8200 Class unit to make a six-car train. Work is currently under way to allow the original 8100 Class sets to work in tandem with the newer sets. Forty two-car units were purchased initially – two were subsequently lost in a depot fire in 2001. The DART now carries more than 80,000 passengers daily. During 2003-5, development works were undertaken to lengthen platforms and improve disabled access at suburban stations and to upgrade the power grid. This enabled the lengthening of most peak time trains from 6 to 8 cars to reduce overcrowding.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|8200 Class||Electric Multiple Unit||100||62||5||Greystones-Malahide/Howth||1999|
A single person drives each train from a cab in the leading carriage. All trains have automatic sliding doors under the control of the driver. All trains in the Dublin suburban area including the DART are monitored and regulated by a Central Traffic Control (CTC) facility based in Connolly Station, known as Suburban CTC. Passenger information in the form of electronic information displays on each platform is updated in real time based on the progress of trains. Automatic PA announcements are made in case of delays - these announcements are tailored to each station. Due to extensive computer automation the main control room only needs a staff of four people: two signallers, one with responsibility for level crossings, an electrical control officer (ECO), who supervises the electrical power supply equipment and an overall supervisor. Normally only the main CTC control room is staffed, but back-up local control rooms are also provided, allowing services to continue in the event of serious technical problems.
Journeys require a ticket to be purchased before starting. As of 2012, a one-way adult ticket costs between €1.50-1.80 and €4.30, depending on distance traveled. To gain access to the platform passengers must pass through a turnstile that requires a valid ticket — the underside of the ticket is automatically printed with the date, time and a 3-digit code representing the station in which the ticket was validated. Ticket checks on the trains themselves are relatively rare and mainly occur off-peak. Generally, a member of staff checks tickets on arrival at each destination. Exit validation equipment that requires a valid ticket to open the exit gate exists at stations between Connolly and Lansdowne Road. The main form of fraud prevention remains the initial validation.
DART Services can also be paid for using a Leap Card - Dublin's Travel Smart Card. These offer commuters cheaper fares, and can be used on DART, LUAS, Commuter Rail, Dublin Bus and some private operators. To pay using a Leap Card, users simply have to scan their card over the Smart Card reader on top of the turnstile when entering the station, and then again when the exit, and the appropriate fare is deducted. The Leap card system replaced Irish Rail's own smart card which was in operation until the integrated smart card system was launched.
DART services begin at 05:40 and finish at 00:25 from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday they begin at 08:53 and finish at 00:19. No DART services run on Christmas Day or the following day, St. Stephen's Day.
|DART Line 1|
|DART Line 2|
Iarnród Éireann operates a rail monopoly. The only other company to operate on lines in the Republic of Ireland is Northern Ireland Railways, which operates a joint railway service between Dublin and Belfast named Enterprise.
A number of other transport modes are available in Dublin. Apart from the two most popular modes of transport, walking and private vehicle, the CIÉ-owned Dublin Bus is virtually ubiquitous, running all over the city. As such, it has many routes that run parallel to DART for stretches. However, it does not have any scheduled routes that traverse the entire length of the DART line. As in the rest of Ireland, integration of bus and rail services is very limited though there are some "feeder bus" routes for which it is possible to buy a through ticket valid for both the rail and bus section of the journey. Travel passes and integrated ticketing (Leap cards) for DART, Luas and Dublin Bus services were introduced in 2011.
Under the Irish Government's Transport 21 investment programme, the DART is to be extended with a new tunnel under the city from Heuston Station to the new Docklands station in Spencer Dock. This tunnel, known as the Interconnector or DART Underground, will allow DART services to run from Celbridge/Hazelhatch to Heuston Station to St. Stephen's Green to Spencer Dock and on to Balbriggan. The existing DART line will be modified to run from Bray to Maynooth. These two lines will have an interchange at Pearse Station.
The Irish Government has ambitious plans to significantly expand the DART service to the west of the city under Transport 21 so as to provide a far superior transport system for Dublin. A crucial part of this plan is the Interconnector rail tunnel under Dublin City, which will provide for the electrification of the remainder of the commuter rail network. It will also significantly expand the DART service to the west of the city which will involve carving the existing north-south line into two different services, each running to the west from the city centre. The Interconnector rail project, by tunnelling through the heart of Dublin will allow for a much more effective integration with other elements of Dublin's transport system once complete.
DART Line 1
The southern portion of the existing DART line would branch west after Connolly Station to run onto the Western Commuter line, which will be electrified as far as Maynooth. The branch to Navan will also be electrifed as far as Dunboyne, which
will provide an intensive commuter service to these destinations.
DART Line 2
The northern portion of the DART line (North of Connolly Station) will be linked using the Interconnector to the Kildare line via Docklands station at Spencer Dock and Heuston Station. This strategic tunnel would link the DART directly with existing LUAS light rail lines, hundreds of bus routes, planned Metro lines and extend the high frequency DART service to the Kildare commuter line. A DART service originating from the Northside (i.e. Howth) would divert to the Docklands and from there through a tunnel to Heuston station in order to continue service on the Kildare line. In April 2009, it was announced that an electrification project would extend the DART as far as Drogheda.
In October 2008, Iarnród Éireann announced plans for a massive expansion of the DART fleet, with a €900 million order for a total of 432 individual EMU cars for delivery between 2011-12. Due to the economic downturn this delivery was put on hold until the future. 
One of the best-known stations is at Lansdowne Road, the home of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and the venue for Irish rugby and soccer international matches. Further south, the train stops at Sydney Parade, a street of some Georgian and many Edwardian and Victorian redbrick houses in the Dublin embassy belt.
List of DART stations
North of Howth Junction
Northeast of Howth Junction
South of Howth Junction
South of the River Liffey
- Tara Street, Pearse, Grand Canal Dock, Lansdowne Road, Sandymount, Sydney Parade, Booterstown, Blackrock, Seapoint, Salthill & Monkstown, Dún Laoghaire, Sandycove & Glasthule, Glenageary, Dalkey, Killiney, Shankill, Bray, Greystones
Plans for the Interconnector and expansion of DART service
- Leap card offers cheaper fares for public transport - Irish Examiner, 13/12/2011
- Welcome to Transport 21
- Dart line to connect Drogheda with Dublin under Transport 21 - Sunday Tribune, 14/04/09
- Iarnród Éireann to order 432 DART cars - Railway Gazette International, 30/10/08