I am delighted to see three lanes open in both directions on the M7. This will be a huge help to commuters who face lengthy journeys and congestion on the M7 every day. The M7 widening project is vital to improving journey times and I am glad to see it move closer towards completion. This represents a €110 million investment in the area and the last phase of this is the Sallins Bypass, completion of which is expected by Quarter 1 of 2020 and I am delighted to see these infrastructural improvements become reality having campaigned for them for a number of years.
The approval of 34 extra parking spaces for Maynooth Train Station is welcome news which will complement the 38 spaces approved earlier this year.
I discussed parking capacity issues at Maynooth and several other stations with Irish Rail officials earlier this year. The expansion will be welcome to commuters who struggle to find a safe parking space.
While it is a small improvement, Irish Rail’s efforts to improve facilities for commuters are welcome. I will continue to liaise with them on issues affecting the Maynooth line.
Improvements such as this are vital as Irish Rail plan to increase capacity on the Maynooth line. It is planned to extend the DART service with electrification of the line by 2027 and capacity for 2000 passengers.
On 14th November, 2018, the 8 Kildare Oireachtas Reps met with the National Transport Authority to discuss public transport services for County Kildare.
The key points, with responses, that I raised are as follows:
1) Capacity on Trains: I said there was nowhere near enough capacity on trains, that trains serving Sallins and Hazelhatch were full before even arriving at station many mornings, that additional carriages were badly needed. I also said that the LUAS was full when trains arrived into Heuston at peak morning times and that a shuttle service LUAS should be ran from Heuston into city centre at peak times.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to restore the LUAS shuttle service from Heuston into city centre at peak times. They said procuring additional carriages is very difficult for many reasons. International procurement is more difficult with Brexit. Irish trains are on a different guage to other countries. Older trains cost almost as much to refurbish as it does to buy new ones. They hope to place an order for additional carriages from UK and make the necessary modifications; this may take 12-18 months but they are working on it. They also suggested some plans to try stagger peak loads over a longer window (6-10) so as to spread demand across those times.
2) Sallins Rail Station Carpark: I pointed out the severe pressure on Sallins carpark in mornings at present and the near impossibility of getting a space after 7.30am. Project underway to provide additional 270 spaces but has to go through planning permission and possible zoning change of parish lands.
RESPONSE: Works are as per initial schedule however and planning, design and build should be complete by end of next year with extra parking provided onstream in 2020.
3) Extra rail services from city centre (Pearse/Tara/Grand Canal Dock) to Hazelhatch and Sallins in the evenings to be rolled out next month. Draft timetable in consultation. I said the new evening trains were welcome but the need to change train at Hazelhatch on the way back and the delays involved were unacceptable.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to see could they run more direct evening trains to Sallins through tunnel and/or could change waiting times be better aligned.
4) Kilcock train timetable: I said the station was hindered by the last train home leaving town approximately 7pm. Far more people would use it if could get home later.
RESPONSE: NTA agreed to consider as part of current timetable review.
5) Feeder Bus Network: I said much of the parking constraints at stations could be helped if the feeder bus system was expanded, e.g. from Clane to Sallins, Straffan to Hazelhatch on top of existing feeder bus routes.
RESPONSE: NTA will examine options on this in the medium-long term.
6) Bus Connects: I asked where the project was at following the consultation and public meetings during summer months.
RESPONSE: NTA are examining all feedback and hope to produce revised network proposals by Q2, 2019.
7) 139 Bus Service: I said the new bus service was very welcome but it made no sense that people could not get on and off between Naas-Sallins-Clane.
RESPONSE: NTA will consult with provider (JJ Kavanagh) with a view to improving both 139 and rapid town link and provide greater flexibility of options.
The National Transport Authority has confirmed to me that refurbished carriages will now not be ordered to increase capacity on trains serving Sallins/Hazelhatch and Maynooth and Leixlip.
It has now emerged that refurbished carriages are not a financially viable option to expand the rail fleet. This now leaves commuters stuck. The only short term option appeared to be these refurbished carriages which would have come as great relief to those in Maynooth, Kilcock, Sallins and Hazelhatch. Continue Reading →
Dublin Bus are overhauling their route network across the city and commuter belt. Changes will take place to routes serving Celbridge, Maynooth and Leixlip. These are all only draft proposals and it is important that you have your say. You can see the detailed plans on busconnects.ie website or come to my information meeting on September 27th in the Courtyard Hotel, Leixlip at 20.30 to learn more. Continue Reading →