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Monday 16 July 2018

Ireland's newest train station could move because of major shortfall in passengers

Docklands Station, opened in 2007, may be relocated
Docklands Station, opened in 2007, may be relocated
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Transport bosses say they are considering relocating the country's newest train station to improve passenger numbers.

Latest figures show only 1,500 passengers a day use Docklands Station in Dublin, which opened in 2007, the Dail Transport Committee heard.

The station had been expected to cater for 2,500 passengers a day when it opened, rising to 10,000 over time.

National Transport authority deputy chief executive Hugh Cregan told the committee the station was not in the most "useful" location and was not serving the Docklands well.

The transfer to a site closer to the Luas stop at Spencer Dock could be done under the Dart Expansion programme, he said.

The new site - about 500 metres away - would form part of an expansion of services to Drogheda, Maynooth and Hazelhatch in Kildare.

"We'd like to move it closer to Spencer Dock and the Luas line. At the moment it's not serving the Docklands well. If we move it further south, it will connect," Mr Cregan said.

The possible site, owned by Irish Rail, was previously earmarked for an underground station for the Dart Underground project. But the tunnel element is currently shelved.

Separately, the committee also heard that investment in a €50m traffic monitoring system for Dublin's M50 will only result in "marginal improvements" to the congested motorway.

Congestion

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) boss Michael Nolan told committee members that unless multi-point tolling was introduced, an "intolerable level of congestion" would occur.

It comes after the Herald this week revealed that record traffic volumes are using the national road network.

Mr Nolan said volumes had risen by more than 30pc between 2012 and 2018.

"The increase has resulted in the return of traffic congestion to the M50, particularly during the morning and evening peaks," said Mr Nolan.

He added the increases had harmed the "safe and efficient operation" of the M50, because they had resulted in delays and an increase in collisions.

A new mandatory variable speed limit and lane control system on the M50 is expected to be introduced in late 2019, which will improve flows.

These measures will require legislation to take effect and will cost in the region of €50m to monitor, control and enforce.

"I stress that these measures will only marginally improve the carrying capacity of the M50. The primary benefit will be a safer and more reliable journey," said Mr Nolan.

He added that demand management measures, including the introduction of multi-point tolls, were needed to avoid an "intolerable level of congestion", but this was a matter for Government.

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