The Dart expansion programme plans to extend the Dart line to Maynooth and Celbridge, along with Drogheda in Co Louth. At present, the Dart runs on only one line, from Greystones in Co Wicklow to Malahide, Co Dublin.
The expansion programme is expected to cost €2.6 billion. Funding for this phase was secured under the EU's Connecting Europe Facility which aims to promote growth and jobs through infrastructure investment.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: “Dart Expansion is set to double the capacity of our rail network and will facilitate an important reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a shift towards a climate resilient society."
For the Kildare line, the project will facilitate more services, greater capacity and electrification, as well as enhancing the infrastructure into Heuston Station - one of the busiest rail corridors in the country.
The expansion programme is a cornerstone of the Government’s National Development Plan for 2018 to 2027, and also of its major capital programme, Project Ireland 2040. It is scheduled for completion by 2028.
Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the news, saying “the current rail system in Dublin is approaching capacity, and without investment, will leave the railway struggling to accommodate the population growth projected for the region.”
Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann Jim Meade said: “The support for this design phase continues the support we have seen over decades from the European Union for the development of rail infrastructure and services in Ireland.”