Irish Rail, Alstom and the Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, unveiled the full-size model of DART+ carriage prototype at Inchicore Railway Works, west of Dublin city centre.
The prototype is located in Inchicore Works for final engagements with a range of customer focus groups, who have reviewed proposals throughout the design phase.
”It is great to see this preview of the new DART+ carriages, which customers have helped design and which will be available in the coming years. With dedicated wheelchair, family and bicycle areas, the new fleet will ensure accessiblity to a wide variety of passengers at different times of the day and week, providing comfort and independence for all users,” the Minister for Transport said.
The DART+ carriage prioritises independent access with low-height doorway thresholds equipped with an automatic retractable step and offering the potential for unassisted level access from suitable platforms. In addition, improved dedicated wheelchair spaces will be provided. Other key features of the coach include improved facilities for families and for cyclists, with dedicated family areas, and bike areas, comfortable individual seating, reflecting longer distances which the DART+ fleet will operate and an ergonomic design for drivers, with driver focus groups also being a key part of the design process.
The X’trapolis DART+ trains will be equipped with advanced CCTV system with cameras to enhance safety and security for customers and employees, charging facilities and enhanced customer information, with large, high-resolution onboard displays providing real-time updates, including information from other Irish public transport systems, and other features designed for the needs of sensory impaired customers. The displays include features such as indicators for customers on busier areas of the train, advance notice of which side to exit the train.
The new trains are being constructed at the Alstom’s factory near Katowice in Poland.
In December 2021, Irish Rail and Alstom signed a ten-year framework agreement for the supply of up to 750 new X’trapolis commuter rail cars for DART network. The firm orders include 37 five-car X’trapolis trains including a 15-year support services agreement. 31 of the ordered trains are battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) while six are electric multiple units. In December 2022, Ireland’s Cabinet approved the procurement of 18 five-car BEMUs totalling EUR 79 million.
The DART+ rolling stock is funded under the National Development Plan 2021 to 2030 by the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority. The acquisition is part of the DART+ investment programme which will more than double the commuter capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area rail network.
DART+ will facilitate sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in Dublin and its surrounding counties, through a series of fleet and infrastructure projects. The number of people living within 1km of a DART station will increase hugely from about 250,000 at present to 600,000 in future.
“These new carriages will be transformative, offering potential for independent access for all passengers, improved facilities for families and cyclists across the Dublin Metropolitan Area. The developments in the DART+ programme will see a significant increase in the number of passengers living close to a DART station giving more people the option to use our expanding sustainable public transport network,” Chief Executive of the NTA, Anne Graham said.