Dublin MetroLink Tara Street station impression

IRELAND: The cabinet has approved the preliminary business case for the proposed MetroLink automated metro in Dublin. This will enable Transport Infrastructure Ireland to submit a planning application in September and begin procurement next year ready for construction to start from 2025. Opening is envisaged in the early 2030s.

The Department of Transport said it was too early to give a precise capital cost, setting ‘a credible, but still indicative’ range between €7·16bn and €12·25bn. Approximately 75% of this would be met by the government and 25% would be financed through a public-private partnership. Economic and social benefits are estimated at €13·7bn over 60 years, which would be ‘well in excess of expected project costs’.

North-south route

Dublin MetroLink underground station impression

The 19·4 km metro would be fully segregated, and mostly run underground. The line would start from a park-and-ride facility north of Swords and run via the airport and city centre to terminate at an interchange with the Luas light rail Green Line at Charlemont. End to end journey time is expected to be around 25 min.

The 16 stations would serve a mix of residential, employment, education and transport centres, with 175 000 people and 250 000 jobs within easy walking distance. Peak passenger demand is projected to reach 15 000 passengers/ per direction by 2060.

MetroLink would have a design capacity for up to 20 000 passengers/h per direction, compared to 9 000 on the Luas Green Line. Trains would run every 3 min during the peaks, increasing to every 90 sec by 2060.

Once in a generation project

The Department of Transport said Ireland ‘remains one of only a small number of countries in Europe without a metro in its biggest city or a rail connection to its main international airport’. MetroLink was a strategic investment priority in the National Development Plan for 2021-30, and ‘fully aligned’ with the Climate Action Plan 2021.

‘MetroLink is a once in a generation project that is going to massively transform the public transport system in our capital city’, said Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan following the cabinet’s approval on July 4. ‘This project in various guises has been on the table now for two decades, but the government’s decision on the MetroLink preliminary business case marks a significant milestone.

‘Now this exciting transport megaproject starts to become a reality. We are giving the green light to a transport system that will be integral to the city and the country’s sustainable development in this century, and into the next.’