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
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