Ambitious project is key enabler for expansion of rail services
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., today announced Government approval of a new National Train Control Centre which will enable the planned expansion of rail services in the coming years.
The new National Train Control Centre will underpin both the planned and potential future expansion of rail services across the entire rail network and, in particular, will facilitate the planned expansion of DART services under the DART Expansion Programme. The project is being funded through existing allocations made available under Project Ireland 2040 and it is expected that the project will cost €135million.
Development of the new centre complements the increased funding already being made available to support an enhanced maintenance and renewal programme delivering improvements in track, signalling and communications infrastructure across the network.
Minister Ross stated: “I am delighted that Government has approved this hugely significant project which will deliver a new National Train Control Centre. This is a real statement of intent from Government as we set out to massively expand rail services in the coming years and look to encourage more people to make the switch to sustainable mobility.”
The project will be delivered by Iarnród Éireann and overseen by the National Transport Authority with funding provided as part of Project Ireland 2040.
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, welcomed the announcement and commented: “This is an exciting time as far as investment in public transport is concerned. Under the Climate Action Plan, there is a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector by 45-50%. A critical element of this is to ensure that our public transport services can meet the demands placed on them as we seek to provide an alternative to the car. The National Train Control Centre is a key piece of infrastructure from that point of view. In addition to housing the NTCC, it is also proposed that other control centres will be co-located there too. This includes An Garda Síochána's Dublin Traffic Control Centre and, at a future point, a regional traffic control centre, as part of an integrated facility.”
Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann, stated: “As we are set to transform the capacity of our rail services through the DART Expansion programme under Project Ireland 2040, not only will we deliver new, energy-efficient trains and an enhanced infrastructure for greater frequency of services, the National Train Control Centre will also ensure that this expanded rail service and any future expansions operate efficiently, and with improved customer information and punctuality. This will strengthen the appeal of rail services and public transport generally, as we seek to address the challenges of mobility, congestion and climate change for this and future generations”
The Government has approved funding for the project which is scheduled to commence construction later this year, with the new centre fully operational by 2024.
Note for Editors
The new National Train Control Centre will be located within the Heuston Station complex and will facilitate the co-location of Dublin City Council’s traffic control centre and An Garda Síochána’s metropolitan area traffic unit on the one site.
The new facility will replace the existing Central Traffic Control centre based at Connolly Station which will be repurposed as a back-up facility as part of the project. The existing centre is at capacity and its ICT systems are approaching obsolescence and it is therefore unable to facilitate planned and potential future expansion of rail services.
The new National Train Control Centre will act as an enabler of expanded rail services in the years ahead and will benefit passengers through improved train performance, better customer information services and will deliver travel time savings through the new traffic management system.
The preliminary design of the facility was undertaken in 2018 and the detailed design of the new NTCC is now complete, incorporating An Garda Síochána’s and Dublin City Council’s requirements.
The procurement process to appoint a contractor will now commence. The building will be constructed to comply with Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standards. It is planned that the construction of the facility will be complete by the end of 2021.
Fit out and commissioning of the ICT systems will then commence by Iarnród Éireann, An Garda Síochána and Dublin City Council. It is anticipated that the design, development, fabrication, installation, testing and commissioning and safety approvals for the main system at Heuston will be completed in 2024, with the development of the back-up centre following.