Hi everone,

With regard to the Mail on Sunday item on the Navan to Dublin
railway. Please see items below copies from the Railusersireland


Best wishes





 their Navan campaign


Navan, in Co. Meath has boomed, like so many other similar towns in Ireland, due to the strong economy. But with every positive, there is a negative. Navan has paid the price for Dublin's housing crisis. Housing developments have shot up and the population of the town has exploded. Local business's have benefited, property developers have a robust market in which to do business and the town has been transformed in terms of services and facilities. But Navan can't be expected to provide jobs for all of it's citizens. We accept that people will commute to Dublin for work. It's not unreasonable to assume that Navan people have been doing this long before the economic boom and influx of people into the town looking for affordable property.

But there is one key difference now. As commuters have moved into the Navan area, the transport infrastructure has failed to keep up. So now, with lots of 'cash in the bank', our Governments offering to the traffic chaos for Navan commuters, is the M3 motorway. And this 'offering' is backed by Meath County Council. Rail Users Ireland aren't anti-road. We're not even in a position to offer opinion on the archaeological problems surrounding the M3 project. But we are qualified to say that it's a disgrace and an affront to the people of Navan, to spend hundreds of millions on a motorway, while a railway station in the centre of the town lies derelict without any real attempt by the powers that be to reopen it. It's time the people of Navan were told the truth. It's time the politicians choked on their false promises and hung their heads in shame.

While a recent study backed the opening of 4.7 miles between Clonsilla to Pace beyond Dunboyne, it is of little benefit for Navan residents. It means an 18 mile drive to Pace to access the park and ride facility. However the tollbooth on the M3 is positioned such that commuters must pay the toll to access the Park and Ride facility making it unattractive and in our opinion a farce. This is Meath County Councils vision for rail based public transport in Navan.

Meath Country Council and the NRA have knowingly plotted to destroy the Clonsilla Navan railway line, the M3 as planned cuts the line in two at Cannistown a fact hidden from the M3 plans. There are overbridges between Clonee and Pace to pass over the alignment but not at Cannistown. This shows Meath County Council have no interest in the line north of Pace. In fact there is no mention of the railway alignment on the aerial photographs, no mention in the planning documentation which accompany the M3 planning application. Failure to preserve the line is in clear breech of the Meath County Development Plan 2000. Thankfully An Bord Pleanala imposed a condition that a bridge be built in Cannistown.

2015 is too long to wait, Navan could have a respectable train service in 2007 (via Drogheda) and full service by 2011/12 if the will was there to prioritise Navan over other less important projects. Despite recent claims by the Minister for Transport sufficient capacity will exist from 2009 onwards to support Navan. There is no other reason other than lack of political will to make it happen sooner.

Obstructions to be overcome

A brief guide to the issues obstructing a reopening of the Clonsilla Navan line may be found in the results of our recent survey. Consilla - Navan It's No Certainty.

The Infamous Sewer Main

Read about how Meath County Council have blocked the alignment by laying a sewer main on it near Dunsany. Manholes and Railways Don't Mix.

Read the Rail Users Ireland response to the recent admission of Meath CC that they blocked alignment by laying a sewer pipe near Dunsany. Meath CC admit blocking alignment.

2015 To Long To Wait, Navan Dublin via Drogheda?

Navan could have a respectable rail service to Dublin in under 2 years and for €54 million euro or less. It requires no investment in Dublin to create capacity and could be up and running with no planning permission, no railway works order. Read more about Navan - Drogheda - Dublin

Further Information

Since its inception Rail Users Ireland has campaigned for a rail service to Navan. The Rail Users Ireland timeline campaigning for Navan

For more information and the hard facts concerning all the options to provide Navan with a rail service please read Rail Users Ireland's detailed report on a rail service for Navan, Rails To Navan


Navan - Meath CC admit blocking alignment

The following is the response of Rail Users Ireland to the admission
of Meath County Council that the recently laid sewer main along the
former Dublin and Meath railway at Dunsany bridge obstructs the
reopening of the Clonsilla Navan line.

The Sequence Of Events
In August 2005, members of Rail Users Ireland noticed pipe laying
works along the old Navan Railway alignment in the vicinity of
Dunsany, Co. Meath. Shortly afterwards we carried out a site visit to
ascertain exactly what was being done. Photographs were taken and
various features measured and recorded. Subsequent research revealed
that the works were part of the Skane Valley / Dunshaughlin sewerage
scheme. http://www.meath.ie/dunshaughlin_sewerage_scheme/home.html

As the reopening of the railway to Navan was proposed in the DTO's
Platform for Change document, we were concerned that these works were
contrary to Meath County Council's commitment to the reopening of the
line. Problems in relation to the M3 motorway had already highlighted
a lack of foresight in relation to opening the railway.

Therefore our concern urged us to contact Meath County Council in
relation to the laying of a sewer main along a section of the old
Clonsilla to Navan railway line. We are of the opinion that the
laying of a sewer main along part of the alignment demonstrated a
lack of commitment to reopening the line from Meath County Council
and that it would inhibit the full reopening of the said line. These
points were raised in a letter to Meath County Council in November
2005. Previous inquiries had drew a blank. The main thrust of our
query was the following;

The location of manholes and a sewer main in the area around Dunsany
Bridge would necessitate their removal in order to facilitate a new

Our concerns were based on Irish Rail and RPA engineering standards
in relation to the Kildare Route Project and Luas utility diversion
works, which clearly state where sewers are buried at a substantial
distance below the track bed they will not be relocated, however
manhole access will need to be relocated away from the track bed.

The Response

Meath County Council had ample opportunity to address the issue,
there delay in a response is inexplicable.

A letter was sent by Rail Users Ireland on November 24th 2005
This letter was acknowledged promptly on the 28th November 2005
A response was finally received on February 15th, dated February 14th
No reason was given for the delay

Throughout this period Meath County Council continued to insist the
sewer did not obstruct the alignment, even going as far as stating
they was no sewer at all!

"I'm sick of hearing about some supposed sewer pipe on the Navan rail

"The pipe line was built to facilitate the reopening of the rail

Mr Tom Dowling, Meath County Manager, at a public meeting in Navan
2nd February 2006

With respect to the overall preservation of the alignment
The An Bord Peanala decision concerning the M3 at Cannistown
stipulated a requirement for a bridge capable to accommodating a 2
track electrified railway.

This was not on the plans submitted by Meath CC and the NRA to An
Bord Pleanala. No reference can be found in the EIS and accompanying
documents to the severance of the line at Cannistown, but Pace is
clearly identified even though it is a link road to the M3 not the M3
itself which required a bridge. As such we have formed a very
reasonable opinion backed by solid fact that Meath CC knowingly
failed to prevent obstruction of the alignment. Owing to the unique
features of the Cannistown site later reconstruction of the motorway
to allow for a railway would be all but impossible. An Bord Pleanala
based there opinion based on the 2000 development plan and Dublin
strategic planning guidelines.

With respect to the preservation of the alignment at Dunsany
Meath County Councils response clearly indicates that the pipe will
require modifications near Dunsany bridge

3. The construction of the sewer line did involve measures so as not
to compromise the re-instatement of the rail-line on its original
alignment, apart from a short section (approx. 100m) at Dunsany
Bridge. The pipeline inclusive of manholes is constructed on the side
of the former alignment.... Any modification to the access to the
manholes and in particular the ones in the vicinity of Dunsany Bridge
can be easily engineered to satisfy future requirements of the Rail
Authority as part of the detailed design of the rail-line and
necessary railway order.

Prior to this response Meath CC held top the claim the pipe did not
obstruct the alignment, that is not the case. This is a complete
contradiction of the previous quotes from Mr Tom Dowling, Meath
County Manager. Rail Users Ireland have photographic evidence and on
site experience that the sewer main and manholes actually pass
through the centre point of the alignment in the immediate area of
Dunsany bridge.

With respect to the specific details of the alignment at Dunsany
It is assumed that the Clonsilla Navan line will be rebuilt to take
two tracks as it was designed to do so in the 1850's. Until the
feasibility study is complete the optimum track configuration will
not be known, as such the construction of anything on or below any
land within 10 meters of the centre line of the existing alignment is
in our opinion an encroachment on the alignment and thus would in our
opinion be in breech of the aims of the development plan.

The details of Transport 21 released November 2nd 2005 indicated that
the line to Navan will be electrified this will require increase in
clearance at bridges to achieve the nominal 4.8m required. This will
either require bridges to be raised, trackbed to be dropped or a
combination of both. If the trackbed is dropped it may reduce the
depth to which the sewer is laid. It has been standard practice of
Iarnród Éireann since the DART project that all new and replaced
bridges be tall enough for later electrification, this requirement
would be satisfied regardless of the option chosen for Navan and is
not new information.

It is assumed that if the line justifies electrification it would be
a two track line, again the an Bord Pleanala judgement on the M3
issue allows for this, but Meath CC's actions at Dunsany do not.

Manholes are provided for a reason, for access, where there is a
sharp bend or where there is a junction. There is one manhole 150m
north of Dunsany bridge where the sewer does a 90 degree bend, this
manhole is on the centre of the alignment. The positioning of both
manholes at Dunsany Bridge is most awkward as are the two further
manholes roughly 75 metres ether side of Dunsany bridge. Thus if a
manhole is to be removed the question becomes why it existed in the
first place and will its removal have a negative effect on the
operation and maintenance of the pipeline, in fact it could require
the pipeline to be removed totally.

If the line is reopened as a single line the optimum alignment
allowing for curves etc. is a matter for Iarnród Éireann's civil
engineering department. The approach to Dunsany is on a easy curve on
a falling gradient. The western side upon which the sewer is laid
would offer a better track alignment. Rail safety standards followed
by Iarnród Éireann require the outer rail of any line to be not less
the 4.5m from a bridge abutment, this means the line will be more

It has been confirmed to us that neither Iarnród Éireann or the
Interim Rail Safety Commission were contacted for engineering advice
with respect of the pipe. The justification being the land was in
private ownership and that no firm plan existed for the reopening. As
such talk of an easy engineering solution is premature and cannot be
proven until after a detailed survey and design is produced.

Even with all the manholes removed the sewer is still in place
underneath the working railway, it would be infeasible to access the
pipe for maintenance etc. without disruption to rail services, even
if the pipe is to one side. Again this highlight the optimum solution
to be the total removal of the pipe from the alignment.


Rail Users Ireland has again exposed an attempt to brush the truth
under the carpet.

We conclude that the sewer main is an obstruction to the construction
of a railway line. Contray to Meath County Council's response the
pipeline is very much in the center of the alignment not to one side.
The issue could have been avoided if Meath County Council had taken
an alternative route which did not compromise the railway alignment
in line with the development plan.. This lack of foresight will
require the expenditure of taxpayers money to resolve, this could
easily have been avoided.

Rail Users Ireland believes that the reopening of the Navan rail link
will be prejudiced and compromised by the Skane Valley Sewerage
scheme as proposed by Transport 21 and future proofed by the An Bord
Pleanala M3 ruling. We acknowledge that engineers can get over
problems and we don't doubt that they can. However the two examples
highlighted (M3 - Cannistown and the rail line at Dunsany) clearly
highlight that Meath CC, have not been as dedicated to the reopening
of the rail line as they'd like people to think.

For media and press inquiries contact our public relations officer
Derek Wheeler 086 3452651
Last Updated: October 16 2007 22:37:35 info@railusers.ie Disclaimer