Dublin Area Rapid Transit

Dublin, Ireland | C.1984

Photo Credit: Carolyn Barr

The Dublin Area Rapid Transit system (DART) is an electrified rapid transit railway network serving the coastline and city centre of Dublin, the capital city of Ireland. This service makes up the core of Dublin’s suburban railway network, stretching from Greystones, County Wicklow at its southernmost terminus to Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin.

The track bed on which DART services currently run was originally laid out by the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, Ireland’s first railway line, which opened in December 1834 and ran from Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) to Dublin city centre. The northern and southern extensions to this line are parts of the Belfast and Rosslare main lines respectively.

Prior to electrification, this line was operated using 1950s era CIE 2600 Class rail cars, which had been converted in the early 1970s to push-pull operation. These diesel trains were powered on one end by a CIE 201 Class locomotive and a driving trailer carriage on the other. This service was notoriously uncomfortable, unreliable and overcrowded.

Since 1984, the DART system has operated as an electrified railway, established by Coras Iompair Eireann to replace the aging fleet of diesel-powered locomotives. With the disbanding of CIE, the service was taken over in 1987 by Iarnord Eireann, Ireland’s national rail operator.

Today, DART is operated by a mixed fleet of electric multiple-unit trains serving 31 stations along 53 kilometers of track, and transports ~16 million passengers each year. As of 2019, the trains run every 10 minutes on weekdays with a reduced service on weekends. Services run all year except for Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day.

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