Navan Train Station planned for construction in 2031

Heuston railway station in downtown Dublin the capital of Ireland.

Eoin Ryan

Planning for Navan train station has been confirmed but will only begin construction in 2031 and its predicted completion is 2040 at the latest. Navan commuters will have to continue relying on buses as the only means of public transport available in their local area for the near future.

There will be “no significant increase in capacity for private car trips” on radial roads within the metropolitan area according to the National Transport Authority. It prioritises road schemes designed to “facilitate walking, cycling and public transport provision”. This means larger travel times and fuel costs due to traffic congestion for Meath residents commuting into the city until these public transport provisions are put in place. Other urban plans include speed limit reductions with variable limits introduced, along with car-free zones and a reduction in public city centre parking.

The cost of implementing the Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy for the next 20 years has more than doubled from €10.3 billion to €25 billion.

Dunshaughlin and Kilmessan will benefit from this as the existing rail network in the GDA will be extended by the provision of a new rail line from the M3 Parkway terminus station to Navan town, servicing them along its route.

Local Councillors and TD’s are glad there is confirmation Navan rail station is being planned but criticise how long it will take to complete.

“It is good news that Navan rail has been identified as a project for delivery, however I would not agree with the timelines indicated in this draft document,” Fine Gael TD Damien English said. “In total over 4,000 submissions were received by the NTA on this first draft of the strategy, predominantly from members of the public interested in getting the best public transport options available.  I am delighted that almost half of respondents gave County Meath as their place of residence which reflects the scale of the campaign to deliver a rail service to Navan,” Damien English continued.

Other major rail projects planned, such as Luas lines to Finglas, Lucan, Poolbeg and Bray, and the Dublin Metrolink are also delayed until 2031. Dart underground is excluded from the 20-year programme, making it almost 50 years since it was first proposed with no guarantee of its construction. 

It is now 23 years after the prospect of a Navan train linked to Dublin city was first mentioned in 1998. Its future construction is only possible due to massive public demand for the project during campaigns last September supported by local politicians. Both Sinn Fein and Green Party members running in the February election earlier this year promised voters a rail service in Dunshaughlin and Navan. Despite both parties and other councillors and TD’s campaigning for this, locals have to wait even longer and Dunshaughlin is still not guaranteed a station.

Sinn Fein TD Darren O’Rourke noted the current traffic issues in Navan which will not be fixed until public transportation is improved and the new train station is completed.

“The city is gridlocked with traffic and we desperately need new rail and tram connections to provide quality transport options for people,” Darren O’Rourke said.“I think the Government have missed a huge opportunity to invest in major projects now, that will deliver significant environmental, social and economic benefits over the next few decades.”

The Meath East branch of the Green Party has called on the National Transport Authority to prioritise the Navan Rail line to reduce carbon emissions in the area. Local motorists have already felt this year’s fuel price hikes which puts private car commuters in an awkward situation until better public transport is available.

“I struggle to see how we can deliver the modal shift required to halve our transport emissions over the next decade based on active travel and bus services alone.” Darren O’Rourke said.

Senator Shane Cassells applauded the decision saying “It is the first time ever that we have seen those words written down. We have made it onto an actual transport policy for the State.”

“The words are ‘will be’, not ‘may’, and not ‘sometime in the future’. It will be extended. It is such a huge thing for a county of 200,000 people.”

This is the first time construction of Navan train station has been guaranteed and will be operational by 2042 at the latest.

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