Dublin Suburban Rail

The Dublin Suburban Rail (Irish: Iarnród Bruachbhailteach Baile Átha Cliath) network, (now branded DART/Commuter), is a railway network that serves the city of Dublin, Ireland, most of the Greater Dublin Area and outlying towns. The system is made up of five lines:

Apart from the service to Newry, the lines are owned and operated by Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail). The Luas (light rail) system is not part of this network and is not operated by Irish Rail. As of 2016, the Luas Red Line between Connolly and Heuston Stations is the only one featured on DART network maps.

Since 2015, Iarnród Éireann has conducted an extensive crackdown on fare evaders by increasing ticket checks on all services in the Greater Dublin Area. These include members of staff checking tickets and smartcards both on-board its trains or at the stations. As of 2016, ticket checks on Western Commuter trains occur on a daily basis, at any time, more frequently than in any other Commuter line.

Service frequency

Northern Commuter

Belfast–Dublin line
one early-am
weekday trip
Northern Ireland
to Navan
(freight only)
Rush and Lusk
DART Howth Branch
Howth Junction
& Donaghmede
KilbarrackDublin Area Rapid Transit
RahenyDublin Area Rapid Transit
HarmonstownDublin Area Rapid Transit
KillesterDublin Area Rapid Transit
Clontarf RoadDublin Area Rapid Transit
The Royal Canal

Dublin Connolly Luas
Luas Red Line
to Dublin Heuston and Tallaght
Loopline Bridge
Tara Street
Dublin Pearse
Dublin-Rosslare line
to Bray and Rosslare Europort

South Eastern Commuter


Dublin Connolly Luas
Luas Red Line
to Dublin Heuston and Tallaght
Loopline Bridge
Tara Street
Dublin Pearse
Grand Canal DockDublin Area Rapid Transit
Lansdowne Road
SandymountDublin Area Rapid Transit
Sydney Parade
BooterstownDublin Area Rapid Transit
SeapointDublin Area Rapid Transit
Salthill and MonkstownDublin Area Rapid Transit
Dun Laoghaire
Sandycove and GlasthuleDublin Area Rapid Transit
GlenagearyDublin Area Rapid Transit
DalkeyDublin Area Rapid Transit
KillineyDublin Area Rapid Transit
ShankillDublin Area Rapid Transit
Dublin–Rosslare Line

Western Commuter

Dublin–Sligo Line
Leixlip Louisa Bridge
Leixlip Confey
M3 Parkway
Docklands branch
Navan Road Parkway
to Liffey Junction & Dublin Broadstone
closed 1937

The Royal Canal

Phoenix Park Tunnel
to Dublin Heuston

Docklands(Luas Spencer Dock)
The Royal Canal

Dublin Connolly Luas
Luas Red Line
to Dublin Heuston and Tallaght
Loopline Bridge
Tara Street
Dublin Pearse

South Western

Phoenix Park Tunnel
to Dublin Connolly
Luas Red Line
to Dublin Connolly or Point Depot

Dublin Heuston Luas
Luas Red Line
to Tallaght or Saggart


Park West and
Cherry Orchard
M50 motorway
Hazelhatch and Celbridge

The Grand Canal
Sallins and Naas

The Grand Canal
River Liffey
Dublin–Waterford Line
to Waterford

The Grand Canal
River Barrow
Dublin–Westport/Galway Line
to Westport or Galway

Permanent way depot
Conniberry Junction
Togher Inland Port (future)

Portlaoise Traincare Depot
M7 motorway
Dublin–Cork Line
to Cork

Services run from 05:30 to 00:42 from Monday to Saturday and 08:25 to 00:42 on Sunday. However, frequency varies by line, with the DART service being more frequent (every 15-20 minutes off peak, every few minutes peak) and services to outer stations being less frequent (maybe one every hour off peak). Less trains run on Sunday than any other day, and special timetables may be made for public holidays. There are no services on Christmas Day or St Stephen's Day.

Rolling stock

As of 2016, the majority of rolling stock used on the non-DART services are 29000 Class diesel multiple units, with 22000 Class DMUs also in use for some services on the Maynooth line. The 29000 Class DMUs are fitted with interior LEDs and automated information systems. 8100 Class electric multiple units form the backbone of the DART services, with 8500, 8510 and 8520 Classes also in use. Locomotive hauled services are no longer used on any DART/Commuter services, although these (typically Cravens trains) were a feature before the delivery of the 2800 Class DMUs in the year 2000. Currently, all Kildare Commuter services are operated by 22000 Class railcars.


Northern Commuter

Fleet: 29000 Class and 22000 Class DMUs.

Stations served - Dublin Pearse, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly, Howth Junction, Clongriffin, Portmarnock, Malahide, Donabate, Rush and Lusk, Skerries, Balbriggan, Gormanston, Laytown, Drogheda, Dundalk.

Dunleer and/or Dundalk South have been mooted as possible additional stations. The track is shared with the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise service, and DART services as far as Malahide. The bridge at Drogheda is single track which may hinder high frequency services in the long term. The halt at Mosney is no longer used due to the closure of the holiday camp there.

Iarnród Éireann envisages electrification as far as Drogheda by 2030, with the stations between Balbriggan and Malahide incorporated into a new DART service between Balbriggan and Hazelhatch by 2022 (see below).

South Eastern Commuter

Fleet: 29000 Class and 22000 Class DMUs. Stations served - Dublin Connolly, Tara Street, Dublin Pearse, Lansdowne Road, Sydney Parade, Blackrock, Dún Laoghaire, Bray, Greystones, Kilcoole, Wicklow, Rathdrum, Arklow, Gorey.

The services share track with the mainline service to Rosslare and the DART service as far as Greystones. The line is single track from Bray onwards. This is the least frequent DART/Commuter service, with only a handful of trains daily. Some services will only travel as far as Arklow.

South Western Commuter

Sometimes called the Portlaoise Commuter or the Portlaoise Commuter Line. Previously known as the Arrow service which served stations as far as Kildare. This service has been extended in recent years to include more of Ireland's fastest growing commuter towns including Portarlington and a new commuter terminus in Portlaoise.

Fleet: 22000 Class DMUs. Stations served - City branch: Dublin Heuston, Park West & Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin & Fonthill, Adamstown, Hazelhatch & Celbridge, Sallins & Naas, Newbridge, Kildare, Monasterevin, Portarlington and Portlaoise.

Grand Canal Dock branch: Grand Canal Dock, Dublin Pearse, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly, Drumcondra, Park West & Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin & Fonthill, Adamstown, Hazelhatch & Celbridge, Sallins & Naas and Newbridge.

This service is the newest Dublin DART/Commuter line. It was launched in 1994 as the Arrow service, shortly after the delivery of the then Arrow-branded 2600 Class railcars. Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin, Hazelhatch and Celbridge and Sallins and Naas stations were opened on the same day, although stations had previously existed on some of these sites. Newbridge station had previously been an InterCity station, though Commuter trains now mainly serve it. The stations on the line were at the time of launch all "Arrow" branded also, though this branding has now been removed. This line does not connect directly with the rest of the network, being operated out of Dublin Heuston, however it is connected by the Luas and Dublin Bus route 90. In 2013 due to increased demand from commuters in the North East Laois commuter zone the service was extended to Portlaoise with first trains departing Portlaoise at 5.40 and last train from Heuston 22:10 to Portlaoise with a later 23:10 serving to Kildare. Trains run every hour with extra trains on Monday-Friday in the mornings and in the evenings: 18:10, 18:25, 18:55.

A station used only occasionally for "special" trains also exists at the Curragh. The station at Cherry Orchard was relocated to Park West & Cherry Orchard in July 2008 and Clondalkin was located further west as Clondalkin & Fonthill on the Fonthill Road in October 2008. This work was part of the Kildare Route Project, which included quadruple-tracking the line between Le Fanu Road (east of the present Cherry Orchard station) to just beyond Hazelhatch. Another new station was built between Adamstown and Clondalkin at Kishogue, which is located adjacent to the Lucan Outer Ring Road. This station was completed in 2009, however no funding was available in order to construct an access road and adjacent car park. A decision on this matter will be made in the future.

On 21 November 2016 the first trains ran from Grand Canal Dock through the Phoenix Park Tunnel serving Newbridge.

The National Transport Authority envisages electrification as far as Hazelhatch by 2022. Under IÉ's DART Underground project, upon electrification of this line and opening of the DART Underground, the existing Kildare line service, as far as Hazelhatch & Celbridge would be replaced by one of two DART lines, running via the DART Underground from Hazelhatch to Balbriggan/Howth. The service would also be directly connected to the rest of the DART/Commuter network at Dublin Pearse. On 22 September 2015, the DART Underground project was cancelled. However, the electrification of the line will go ahead.

Western Commuter

Fleet: 29000 Class and 22000 Class DMUs. Stations served - City branch: Dublin Pearse, Tara Street, Dublin Connolly, Drumcondra, Broombridge, Ashtown, Navan Road Parkway, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Leixlip Confey, Leixlip Louisa Bridge, Maynooth, then continuing onto Kilcock, Enfield, Mullingar, Edgeworthstown and Longford.

Docklands branch: Docklands, Broombridge, Ashtown, Navan Road Parkway, Castleknock, Coolmine, Clonsilla, Hansfield, Dunboyne, and M3 Parkway.

This service had been operated as a limited service from November 1981 until 1990, serving Ashtown (opened January 1982), Clonsilla, Leixlip (now Leixlip Louisa Bridge) and Maynooth. In 1990, new stations were opened at Broombridge, Castleknock, Coolmine and Leixlip Confey. Another station at Drumcondra was re-opened in March 1998. Most of the station buildings on this line were a mixture of small block built booking offices and converted steel cabins and there was still a limited service owing to the single track between Clonsilla and Maynooth.

In 2001 a major upgrade project took place, with the upgrading of the line between Clonsilla and Maynooth to double track, the entire line being upgraded to continuous welded rail, the building of permanent station buildings at all stations except Broombridge, the replacement of the semaphore signalling with computerised traffic control, and the provision of real time information displays at stations. These however, apart from the ones at Drumcondra, were not in use until February 2012.

From 12 March 2007, several additional weekday services operate on the Maynooth line. However these only operated from Clonsilla, serving the existing stations to Broombridge, and then terminate at the new Docklands railway station. These did not serve either Drumcondra or the central Dublin stations, or the stations beyond Clonsilla.

On 3 September 2010 the first trains ran from Docklands onto the Dunboyne branch serving Dunboyne and M3 Parkway.[1] In June 2013 another station opened on this branch called Hansfield serving Ongar and Clonee areas. It is planned that these services will run eventually to Navan, becoming the proposed Meath Commuter.

On 21 January 2008, Phoenix Park railway station opened. This station is located beside the N3 dual carriageway in Ashtown, and despite its name is not located in the Phoenix Park, but has rather been built to serve the Phoenix Park Racecourse Apartments constructed on grounds of the former racecourse adjacent to the park. To avoid confusion, this station has since been renamed Navan Road Parkway [2]

The National Transport Authority envisages electrification as far as Maynooth by 2030. Under IÉ's DART Underground project, upon electrification of this line and opening of the DART Underground, the existing Maynooth line service would be replaced by one of two DART lines, running from Maynooth to Bray.

In February 2014, Iarnród Éireann announced a massive improvement programme for the Western Commuter line, which includes the removal of level crossings at Ashtown, Coolmine, Porterstown and two crossings at Clonsilla. The level crossing on the Ratoath Road has been replaced by an overbridge which was completed in February 2015. It also includes a full resignalling of the line between Maynooth and Dublin Connolly. However, this project will not begin until 2018 at the earliest.

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART)

See separate Dublin Area Rapid Transit article.

See also


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