Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) has initiated the process to procure up to 600 electric / battery-electric powered carriages.

The Irish rail operator, supported by the National Transport Authority (NTA), has sought expressions of interest from rolling stock manufacturers to deliver the rail carriages.

The overall procurement will support fleet expansion, replacement of the older fleet and help to allocate additional carriages to support future growth.

It is aligned with the €2bn DART Expansion programme, which includes several projects to transform transportation in the Greater Dublin Area.

Iarnród Eireann chief executive Jim Meade said: “The commencement of the tender process for our new fleet is the first major step in the DART expansion project, which will revolutionise public transport in the greater Dublin area, providing an even more frequent and environmentally sustainable commuting option for new and existing communities.

“It will also provide greater capacity for Intercity and regional commuter services as carriages currently utilised in the greater Dublin area will become available for other services.”

According to Irish Rail, electricity-powered trains are expected to make up the majority of the orders.

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However, the latest tender initially aims to procure a fleet of battery-electric hybrid trains. It will help to deploy trains following the completion of the electrification of the first lines.

The deployment of electric and battery-powered trains will also help to reduce emissions and generate significant cost savings in train operations.

Irish Rail is engaged in talks with a supplier to procure at least 41 extra Intercity railcar carriages to meet growing demand in the near future.

NTA has also floated another tender to acquire or lease pre-owned trains with some modifications to make them suitable for Irish rail tracks.