Some frequently asked about the MetroLink project:
- What is MetroLink?
- Why is the government planning to build MetroLink?
- Why do we need a metro to the Airport?
- Why is the MetroLink route going through Glasnevin and not Drumcondra like the old Metro North route?
- Will MetroLink integrate with the Irish Rail network?
- What is happening at the Na Fianna grounds?
- The MetroLink project is expensive. Is it worth it?
- What is happening to the Luas Green Line?
- What kind of works need to be done to upgrade the Luas Green Line to metro-standard?
- Why are we upgrading the Luas Green Line again?
- Why is the MetroLink project only going as far as Sandyford and not all the way to Brides Glen?
- Why doesn't the MetroLink project head for South West Dublin instead of upgrading the Luas Green Line?
- Will there be disruption to the Luas Green Line during construction?
- I heard we could build 10 Luas lines for the price of the MetroLink project. Why don't we do that instead?
MetroLink is a proposed North-South metro line running from Swords in North Dublin, through the Airport to the city centre and then onto the existing Luas Green Line tracks out to Sandyford. It will provide a high-capacity fast public transport option for thousands people across Dublin and connect key destinations and population centres together. (Full route here)
It will connect to the Irish Rail network at at Glasnevin (Maynooth and Kildare lines) and at Tara Street for the DART.
MetroLink will upgrade the existing Green Line between the city and Sandyford to metro-standard, which will provide a much needed capacity improvement to prevent future over-crowding.
The metro line will be above ground near Swords, then underground at the airport to the city centre. The metro will then emerge above ground near Charlemont where it will connect to the existing Luas Green Line tracks to Sandyford. It will allow people to travel from the city centre to the airport in 20 minutes and to Swords in 25 minutes.
Dublin is one of the most congested cities in the world. The solution to congestion is more people using public transport, walking and cycling. Dublin is also a growing city it needs to evolve and improve or the congestion will only get worst.
MetroLink is one of many government proposals aimed at improving public transport. It will connect up key locations like Swords, Dublin Airport and the city centre.
MetroLink will enable continued growth at Swords, in North Dublin. Swords is Ireland's second fastest growing town with a population of 45,000 (Census 2016) that's expect to grow to 100,000 people by 2050. This will help combat the present housing crisis. Swords needs a high-capacity public transport option to Dublin City Centre. Buses along will not be enough a metro line is the right solution for North Dublin.
MetroLink will also open up large amounts of land for housing development around Swords. Fingal County Council has zoned land for 10,000s of houses around Swords that can only be built after the metro is under construction. These new houses are vitally important given the housing crisis in Ireland. Read this article to learn more about how MetroLink will open up land for new housing development.
MetroLink will also provide a much needed capacity improvement to the Luas Green Line so that it can support similar population growth in areas like Sandyford, Carrickmines and Cherrywood. Without MetroLink the Luas Green Line will be over capacity by 2027.
The main goal of the MetroLink project is not to connect the city and the airport. The goal of the project is to connect Swords and North Dublin to the city center with the high-quality and high-capacity transport system. The route from the city center to Swords passes straight through Dublin Airport. It only makes sense then to provide a metro station at Dublin Airport .
Connecting the airport to the metro line is not only valuable to air passengers but to the tens of thousands of people who work at the airport or will work at the new business park that's under construction at Dublin Airport. MetroLink will give these tens of thousands of people a public transport alternate that will not add to the heavy congestion on the M1 and the M50 near the airport.
Why is the MetroLink route going through Glasnevin and not Drumcondra like the old Metro North route?
In the old Metro North plans from 2008 there was an interchange point between the metro and the Maynooth rail line at Drumcondra. Since 2008 there have been many changes to transport in Dublin. The DART Underground project has been delayed until at leaset 2030. Irish Rail have also re-opened the Phoenix Park Tunnel, which allows trains from the Kildare line to operate through to Grand Canal Dock.
Since Irish Rail trains are now using both the Phoenix Park Tunnel (PPT) line and the Maynooth line the metro system should integrate with both rail lines and not just one. The old Metro North plan only integrated with the Maynooth line. The Maynooth line and the PPT line are right beside each other at Cross Guns Bridge/Whitworth Road in Glasnevin. This makes it an ideal location for an interchange station between the two Irish Rail lines and the metro as the distance passengers will have to walk to change from a metro to a train will be short. The potential for a great interchange station in Glasnevin was the deciding factor to route the MetroLink emerging preferred route through Glasnevin instead of Drumcondra.
Yes. The MetroLink route will connect with the Irish Rail network in two locations. At Tara Street in Dublin city centre, MetroLink will connect with DART services where passengers will be able to interchange easily. At Cross Guns Bridge/Whitworth Road in Glasnevin the MetroLink project will connect with both the Maynooth line and the Kildare (Phoenix Park Tunnel) line. A new Irish Rail station will be built here to allow passengers change between the two Irish Rail lines and the metro. You can read more about the integration between the Irish Rail network and MetroLink here.
Yes. The preliminary cost benefit analysis for MetroLink shows that the investment will be worth it. The government will spend €3-4 billion (depending on the final designs) and we will we economic benefits of €6.8 billion over 30 years. MetroLink will reduce congestion in Dublin, which will boost the economy and save people time.
A more detailed analysis will be completed before the project is approved. However, first the full details (and costs) of the plan need to be decided first.
As part of the MetroLink project, the Green Line between Charlemont and Sandyford will be upgraded to metro-standard. This change will double the capacity of the Luas Green Line and avoid the capacity issues the Luas Green Line predicted to face in 2027. MetroLink will emerge from the underground tunnel near Charlemont where it will connect onto the existing Luas Green Line tracks to Sandyford.
The Luas Green Line is designed for a metro upgrade so there is limited work required along the Luas Green Line. They will not need to dig up existing tracks.
This will mean that the Luas Green Line will be split into three sections. The cross-city section from Broombridge through to Charlemont will remain a Luas tram system. This section will be extended to Finglas after MetroLink is constructed. The section south of Charlemont to Sandyford will become metro. The section between Sandyford and Cherrywood will also remain a Luas tram system and in future be extended onto Bray.
The Luas Green Line was designed in 2003 to be upgraded to metro-standard. The exact details of the upgrade works depend on exactly what type of metro vehicle MetroLink will use. This will become clearer as more details on MetroLink are announced.
However, some aspects are 100% clear. MetroLink will not rip up the existing Luas Green Line tracks. The Green Line was designed for a metro upgrade, so the tracks are strong enough to take a heavier metro vehicle and far enough apart to a take vehicle wider than a Luas if necessary. Almost all of the existing tracks will be used by MetroLink.
The upgrade will require upgrades to the power system for the overhead cables. The bigger metro vehicles need more power to operate. Again, the power substations for the Green Line they were built with extra space for the metro upgrade. This is a good example of future-proofing.
The other works for the metro system are changes to the platforms lengths or heights at all stations and the potential closure of roads. There will also be disruption to Green Line services during this construction phase, but exact details on this are unclear right now.
The Luas Green Line is a popular piece public transport infrastructure. Even after the recent capacity improvements, transport engineers predict that the Luas Green Line will be over capacity by 2027. Passengers will be unable to board the Luas during peak times and passengers will be left behind on the platforms.
The growth in passenger numbers will come from the further housing developments in areas such as Sandyford and Cherrywood. Without increasing the capacity of the Green Line the level of housing development in these areas would need to be reduced. A bad option during a housing crisis.
It is also impossible to extend the Luas Green Line on to Bray or Finglas without the metro upgrade. The new passengers from the extensions would simply overwhelm the capacity of the existing Luas Green Line.
The upgrade of the Green Line to metro-standard will take place at the end of the MetroLink project. Upgrade works on the Green Line are unlikely to start before 2025 or 2026. Learn more about why connecting the Green Line into the metro tunnels is the only option left to increase the capacity of the Green Line.
Upgrading the section of the Green Line south of Sandyford is a much more complex task. South of Sandyford the Green Line leaves the old Harcourt Rail line route. The Green Line crosses tens of junctions with cars south of Sandyford particularly along the Ballyogen Road. This level of interaction between traffic and the Luas is not suitable for metro systems. Upgrading this section to metro standard is a much more extensive job. This section of the Green Line is not expected to have capacity issues in the near future so the upgrade isn't necessary.
One of the downsides of only upgrading part of the Green Line to Metro is that passengers who board at Cherrywood and are heading for city centre will need to change from a Luas to the metro at Sandyford. Passengers will walk across a platform in Sandyford to change from the Luas to the metro. The wait shouldn't be too long as the frequency of both the Luas and the Metro system is high. This connection will be quick and simple but it is still an inconvenience.
Why doesn't the MetroLink scheme head towards South West Dublin instead of upgrading the Green Line?
There are many good reasons for this. But the most important one is that the Green Line Luas needs an upgrade otherwise passengers will be unable to board peak time trams in the future. This will be particularly worse for passengers trying to board closer to the city at stops like Milltown, Cowper, Beechwood and Ranelagh. Without this capacity upgrade housing developments in Carrickmines and Cherrywood could be stalled as there wouldn't be sufficient transport options.
Upgrading the Green Line to metro-standard is a cost-effective investment that will deliver huge returns for little money. The upgrade will cost roughly €350M, which is only 10% of MetroLink budget, but will deliver 45% of the overall MetroLink route. The underground tunnelling in the city centre and north inner city is the most costly part of the MetroLink project.
MetroLink is not the only public transport investment that is being made in Dublin right now. The government has allocated roughly €2 billion to upgrade the Dublin Bus network as part of the BusConnects project. This will reduce bus journey times, provide better bus lanes and increase bus frequencies in all areas of Dublin, including South West Dublin.
Yes there will be. The connecting the Green Line into the metro tunnels will require sections fo the Luas Green Line to close. The length of the closure depends on which option is chosen to connect the Green Line into the metro tunnels. Depending on the option it could range from a few weeks, to a week months, to a few years. More details will be announced in March 2019.
I heard we could build 10 Luas lines for the cost of the MetroLink project. Why don't we do that instead?
A current Irish Senator suggested that spending €3-4 billion on Metro Link is a waste of money because we could build 10 Luas lines for the same amount of money.This is an absurd claim with no evidence behind it.
This would be roughly €400M per Luas line. For example, the recently constructed Luas Cross City was only 5.6KM long and cost €368M. We could potentially build 10 very short Luas lines that share a lot of road space with other vehicles but this would be a poor investment. A Luas tram stuck in traffic provides a service similar to a bus stuck in traffic. It is not comparable to the current Luas lines.
The existing Luas lines are popular because of their good journey times. The Luas for the most part does not get stuck in traffic. The Luas is separated from traffic for the majority the journey. This is most notable on the Green Line, which is on the route of the Old Harcourt Rail Line. The Red Line is also mostly off road along the M50, up the Naas Road, along the Grand Canal into the city. There aren't any possible ground level options on the north side of the city that would provide similar segregation of the Red or Green Line routes.
The Luas Cross City has shown how difficult running Luas trams on roads shared with buses, taxis and other road users is. We don't want 10 low-quality Luas lines that have to share road space. If we do build more lines with lots of shared running then we probably would be better off investing in our bus network instead.
The aim of MetroLink is to connect Swords and North Dublin to the city center with high-capacity public transport system. MetroLink will connect Swords to the city center in 25 minutes. There is no possible above ground route that would provide a good journey time. Going underground is the only feasible option. Tunnelling is not cheap but it allows us to build a fast, high-capacity public transport option for North Dublin without ripping up the city above ground.
For further reading check out this article about why metro is the right solution for Swords and North Dublin.