Ireland’s national railway operator Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) has announced a new contract with French rail firm Alstom for train-charging infrastructure at Drogheda, with a contract value of €28m ($30.5m).

The project, funded by the National Transport Authority as part of the DART+ Programme, will oversee the electrification of three lines at Drogheda as well as supporting infrastructure at a new sub-station at Marsh Road.

With planning permission obtained from the Louth County Council, preparatory works are set to go ahead in late 2023.

The charging station contract follows an initial order of 95 DART+ carriages, which will begin operation in 2025, including 65 battery-electric carriages and 30 electric carriages.

The rolling stock will be capable of operating journeys up to 80km on battery power alone, ensuring efficient and sustainable travel for Drogheda citizens.

Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade emphasised the railway network’s expansion plans for the future and how this will benefit commuters coming in and out of Drogheda: “This investment will allow us to accelerate the benefits of DART+ to customers on the Drogheda commuter route, with a brand new fleet and extra capacity to be provided in just two years time. 

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“Furthermore, we are currently undertaking the second round of public consultation for full electrification and capacity improvements for the Drogheda line under DART+ Coastal North. DART+ Coastal North will double the number of commuters who can travel on this route and dramatically increase service frequency.”

This partnership forms part of the third of the infrastructural projects of the DART+ Programme, which features an extension of the existing electrified rail network from the Malahide to Drogheda MacBride stations.

Alstom Ireland managing director Piers Wood said: “Projects such as this will deliver social and economic benefits to Iarnród Éireann passengers and Alstom is proud to be playing a part in enabling these benefits.”

According to Alstom’s 2023 Economic Impact Report, the French manufacturer has supported a contribution of nearly £1bn to the UK and Ireland’s GDP in the financial year 2022–23.

Furthermore, this project follows Irish Rail and the French manufacturer showcasing the 1:1 scale mock-up carriage for DART+ to the Irish public in March 2023.

As previously reported, the company claims that the new trains will have more capacity and offer decarbonisation benefits to the local community of Greater Dublin.