Mitchell calls for N11 study to more thoroughly study Rail & Bus alternatives

Transport Infrastructure Ireland are managing the study of the N11 enhancements and gave a presentation to the Council’s Transport Committee. Cllr. Derek Mitchell, Chairman of the committee said ‘I am disappointed that the study has not been redirected to study rail enhancements to reduce car usage. They are studying some bus lane issues but the rail line is virtually empty at rush hour. A proper study of these alternatives should show that the scale of N11 enhancement could be much reduced if more people used the bus & train.

Providing one extra longer peak period train from Arklow and a DART every 20 minutes from Greystones should remove 1,000 cars from the N11 A good express bus system, with bus lanes, should remove the same number of cars in addition.

I have sent them details of the objectives which I think they should study for a better rail & bus system. I will be lobbying the next Government to get this done.

A copy of the objectives can be seen below:

N11 Study & Public Transport

I am writing this following a presentation from TII to the Wicklow Strategic Policy Committee on Transport on the 20th January. I had understood that the study was being reoriented to establishing feasible public transport solutions (road & rail) in order to reduce car demand especially in the peak period and thus reduce the scale of N11 upgrade.

I now understand that it will consider some bus aspects but not rail at this stage. These will be tested against the NTAs transport model. However South of Bray this model had serious flaws and seriously underestimated even existing transport loads as detailed in my 2015 review of the draft Transport Strategy for the GDA (attached). I hope it has been corrected since then.

I consider the study should have the following objectives:


  • Find out from Bus Eireann re 133, Wexford Bus and Dublin Bus re 84x where the buses are being delayed by traffic:
  • Within study area
  • Within Co. Wicklow
  • Within Co Dublin.
  • Recommend Bus priority schemes in study area and possibly beyond. List problem areas in Co. Dublin.
  • Consider other bus routes along M50 & express routes.
  • Identify Park n’ Ride sites including Willow Grove, Glenview, Newtown & other places.
  • Consider if interim bus lane can be installed

Bus Eireann on 22nd March will increase bus services. Also will increase scheduled time at peak hour by 20 mins to allow for congestion.


Consider ways of getting more people to use the train at peak hours such as:

  • More trains from Wicklow to Dublin (every other GDA station has at least 3 trains in the peak, this line has only 2) per my study of 2018.
  • Longer peak hour trains, from 4 to 8 cars. This may need Selective Door Opening on some of the 600 carriages being ordered now, as used by foreign railways.
  • 20 min DART service from Greytones per Jacobs study 2019.
  • Closing level crossings in Sandymount per 2011 IR report South Eastern Rail Line Capacity.
  • Recommend a study of ways to speed up the trains slow average speed of 28kph to Bray.
  • Land could be available in Greystones for rail sidings, to replace some lost in Bray with track changes, but other uses are being discussed currently for this land. If needed it should be reserved now. Also land for extra Park n’ Ride

Strategies & Plans

The Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Region 2016-2035 states;

‘The capacity of the South East rail line will be enhanced…to enable faster & more frequent Intercity, Regional & DART services’.

The Regional Spatial & Economic Strategy for the GDA 2019-2031:

8.2 Rail Projects for Region. ‘provide an appropriate level of commuter service in the Midlands and SE.

The Ministers direction for changes to 8.2 states:

‘continuing to improve DART services on the SE line as far south as Greystones’.

Thus Government Strategies support the plans detailed above, The last DART investment, a 10 min service to Bray in 2019, slowed down services by 10% and reduced reliability. Greystones +5 min, Wicklow +9 min, Arklow +12 min. This is contrary to above Transport Strategy objective.

Train Usage and how it can reduce car traffic.

Daily boardings from Gorey to Kilcoole were 615 in 2018, an increase of 42% on 2016 (per rail census). Of the 615 at least 470 are likely to use the 2 peak hour trains. Adding 1 extra train and doubling the length of 2 of them will increase peak period capacity by 2.5 times. Likely to decrease the number of peak period cars on the N11 by 5/800. These figures are 2 years old so all are likely to be much higher now.

Greystones daily boardings were 2326 in 2018, an increase of 21% in 2 years. A 20 min DART service with expanded Park n’ Ride would likely take another 500 cars off the N11.

Transport Model errors South of Bray in Draft Transport Strategy for GDA.

The Draft figures assume a base demand from Greystones in 2011 only half the actual 2015 usage. Demand growth is much higher as the County Development Plan predicts a 49% population growth South of Bray whereas the Strategy only predicts a 26% increase in transport demand. The Strategy ignored most existing bus services leading to severe demand underestimation. Further details in my attached submission from 2015.

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