Dublin's new rail system DART came in two and a half times more than budgeted, will continue to lose money and cost the tax payer millions.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Ireland's first railway opened along a section of the Howth to Bray track. It is now to become the country's first electric railway but not without its problems.

It has become in the eyes of many the ultimate in public white elephants.

The project has cost two and a half times the original forecast. The investment will cost the taxpayer millions every year. The electrification of the line was originally expected to cost just under £46.5 million. However, it has to date cost £113 million. 

According to CIÉ, the overrun can be easily explained by rising inflation, VAT payments, and a change in the way the government is financing the project. CIÉ had originally been told that the government would fund the project with taxpayer's money. Then it was decided that it should be paid for by CIÉ, who should borrow the money and be liable for full interest on the borrowings.

According to Minister for Transport Jim Mitchell, the line will be a huge loss maker costing the taxpayer around £20 million a year. The question remains, 

How can the project possibly be justified?

Attempting to justify the expense, Jim Mitchell speaking to RTÉ News while travelling on board the DART, says that there are some benefits to the exchequer in the form of EEC grants but the line will never make any money. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 February 1984. The reporter is Fergus Ó Raghallaigh.