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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 railway
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.
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 2006 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 alignment"
"The pipe line was built to facilitate
the reopening of the rail line."
Mr Tom Dowling, Meath County
Manager, at a public meeting in Navan 2nd February 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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