Irish Rail puts €2bn DART plan back on track
THE underground DART is back on track as Irish Rail gets set to proceed with the €2bn project.
Irish Rail has begun issuing letters to 5,000 home and business owners in Dublin city centre about acquiring land under compulsory purchase orders for the project.
A recent High Court decision has given the green light for the plan, which had been shelved along with the Metro North line in 2011.
The affected homes and businesses are positioned above the proposed underground works from Inchicore to the Docklands.
Irish Rail said that the 7.6km underground DART line will run from Docklands to Inchicore, trebling the rail service from a capacity for 33 million passengers a year to 100 million annually.
A spokesman from Irish Rail said: "DART Underground will be the single most important piece of infrastructure in the State" and the "benefits will be inarguable".
Last night, the Department of Transport said that DART Underground is being assessed to see if there will be enough money to fund it in next year's Budget.
"Dart Underground will be reviewed in advance of the next capital plan in 2015, but remains a key integration project," stated the spokesman.
But he also said that the "delivery of this project remains subject to sufficient Exchequer finances being available".
Thousands of property and business owners around the St Stephen's Green area of Dublin received letters about land that CIE can acquire as part of the plan last week.
An Bord Pleanala made what is known as a Railway Order – the equivalent of a planning application – in November 2011.
This order was then reviewed by the High Court, with a decision granting the planning several weeks ago.
The Railway Order gives CIE express permission to construct, operate and maintain the DART Underground.
CIE will permanently acquire the north-west corner of St Stephen's Green and proposes to acquire a significant amount of below ground level and along King Street South, St Stephen's Green North and down as far as George's Street as part of phase one of the project.
In total, 5,000 property and business owners will be impacted by the plans.
The project has already cost the taxpayer €44m in consultants, design and staff costs but Irish Rail estimates that the entire cost will be put at €2bn.