Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has welcomed the Government decision to approve the purchase of 90 new battery operated electric DART carriages.
The move opens the way for a radically improved train service to Wicklow Town as the new carriages will not require overhead lines to be in place.
The carriages which will cost €179 million will now be put on order and in service in 2026.
The new carriages are likely to replace the current older stock of 74 DART carriages in use which were built in 1983.
Crucially, the purchase of the battery operated carriages, known as battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs), will allow for services to be extended along the greater DART route in places like Kildare, Maynoooth and Mallow in Cork.
In Wicklow it would see services to and from Wicklow Town increased which will be a game-changer for the county.
In addition, the new fleet will provide two wheelchair spaces in a five carriage train and for the first time will have an automated retractable step which will in most cases allow wheelchair users to access the train without assistance.
Minister Donnelly said: ‘This is a game-changer for the people of Wicklow as it significantly increases the capacity of our rail service to get commuters into Dublin.
‘These new carriages can travel both on and off the current DART network opening up the real possibility of being able to extend services to Wicklow Town.
‘They are of course not only good for the environment but also will for the first time give disabled commuters the opportunity to use the DART without needing assistance.
‘Having these new carriages in operation servicing Wicklow, Bray and Greystones opens up huge possibilities for the growth of the county and will help ease the commuting issues faced at peak times.
‘I will be pushing hard to make sure we get the absolute maximum increase in capacity to ensure a better service for the people of Wicklow.’