Irish Railway Record Society
Irish Railway News - Journal 157
Navan-Dublin commuting by road has grown significantly in recent years with very bad traffic congestion and poor journey times. There is a campaign to re-open the line all the way to Navan in conjunction with an upgrade of main roads. Campaigners claim that the line will save €36m to the region annually in terms of reduced traffic congestion and pollution, reduction in lorry movements and new opportunities for sustainable growth and pay for itself in ten years. They suggest there would be 'a huge return from freight carriage'.
In February, the feasibility study into re-opening the section from Clonsilla to a new Park+Ride station at the proposed M3 motor-way interchange in the townland of Pace beyond Dunboyne was published. The study was undertaken by IÉ with the support of Meath and Fingal County Councils and the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO).
Following closure in 1963, the land and buildings were sold. The overbridges were transferred into the ownership of the relevant county councils. The alignment is still largely intact although heavily overgrown.
DTO Platform for Change Report September 2000, included the Clonsilla to Navan
in its recommended strategy and proposed a two-phased opening – Clonsilla to
Dunboyne initially and then Dunboyne to Navan. The
Strategic Rail Review (Booz, Allen, Hamilton 2003) examined the feasibility for
re-opening the entire route from Clonsilla to Navan and concluded that there was
no economic case for re-opening the entire line to Navan. They did not consider
the section between Clonsilla and Dunboyne as a discrete project. In October
2003, Meath County Council commiss-ioned Farrell Grant Sparks to undertake a
pre-feasibility study of the Clonsilla-Navan line and they recommended that a
detailed feasibility study should be undertaken for the section between
Clonsilla and the M3 Interchange.
The proposed line is 7.5km in length. Three stations are proposed at Hansfield, Dunboyne and the major Park+Ride station at the M3 Interchange. A 15-minute peak hour service is proposed, with a thirty minute off peak service.
The population of Dunboyne is forecast to grow from 5,300 to 10,000 by 2011. Hansfield, at 1.2km from Clonsilla, is to grow to 7,000. The population within a 10km zone around the potential catchment corridor of the Pace P+R could grow to 150,000 by 2011. The DTO estimates hourly boarding by 2016 at:
The study identified capacity constraints on the existing rail network as a major problem and noted ‘The capacity of the city centre corridor (Connolly-Pearse) is at its limit and without a resolution no additional services, including this proposed service from M3 Interchange at Pace, would be feasible. The resolution of this issue is outside the scope of this project but will be a determining factor on if and when the project could proceed’.
At Dunboyne, the station building is now a private residence. A surface water and sewer pipe has been laid along the rail route beside Millfarm housing estate in Dunboyne. These will require relocation. The Millfarm housing estate encroaches on the old track alignment, which will force the alignment to slew eastwards, causing additional earthworks.
surface water/hydrology study was commissioned by IÉ. This was deemed necessary
because of the risk of flooding in the area between Dunboyne and Pace and due to
its close proximity to the
The following structures are required.
options regarding track configuration were evaluated:
following criteria were considered - safety, track capacity, reliability,
maintenance, future proofing, costs and journey time. Option 1 was chosen as the
preferred option. ‘This allows for a robust and
reliable service, which does not eliminate the ability of a further extension in
the future. Safety and future maintenance were also considerations that lead to
this decision. The scheme allows for ease of connection to the Maynooth line at
Clonsilla Station and sufficient allowance for the turning and holding of trains
The study notes that the ‘location of the toll plaza [on the M3] 2-km before the Pace interchange exit is unfortunate as it may discourage prospective rail passengers who will not exit the motorway and use the Park + Ride facility after paying the motorway toll’.
Twenty-four diesel railcar vehicles costing €2m per vehicle (including VAT) will be required for the new service.
February, the Cork County Manager told
The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 157, published June 2005.
Copyright © 2005 by Irish
Railway Record Society Limited