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The status and present timeline for Metro North
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11 December 2008

To ask the Minister for Transport the status and present timeline for Metro North, the interconnector, Metro West, LUAS line F and LUAS line BX; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Ciarán Cuffe.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 11th November, 2008.

Ref No:   39718/08

Answered by the Minister for Transport

(Noel Dempsey)


The start and completion dates of Transport 21 projects which have not yet commenced will be determined by the outcome of the statutory approval and procurement processes and the funding allocation available during the current difficult economic climate.  The provision of increased capacity will be a key priority in determining public transport investment priorities in the period ahead.  In that context Metro North and the DART Underground (also known as the Interconnector) are particularly important rail investments as they form a core part of the planned integrated public transport network for the Greater Dublin Area envisaged by Transport 21.

Good progress is being made in the delivery of Metro North and the DART Underground.  The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) placed copies of the Railway Order application for Metro North on display on 17 September 2008 in accordance with the 6 week statutory public notice requirement pursuant to Section 37 of the Transport (Railway Infrastructure) Act 2001. The RPA continues to make good progress on the PPP tender process for Metro North.  Receipt of tenders is now required by 6 February 2009.

In relation to the DART Underground Irish Rail continues to make good progress in planning and design on the project.  The company plans to be in a position to submit an application for a Railway Order by the end of next year and will further progress work on the development of the project as a PPP.

Good progress is also being made in planning Metro West, Luas Line F and Luas Line Bx.  The emerging preferred route for Metro West was announced by the RPA in July 2007.  A further round of consultation is now underway to provide greater definition to certain elements of the route after which the RPA will proceed with the preparation of a Railway Order application.

On the 10th October 2008, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) published the emerging preferred route corridor for the Luas line to Lucan (Line F) following extensive public consultation.  Having selected the route corridor, the RPA is now undertaking the next phase of consultation with key stakeholders which will feed into the detailed design of the line.   Following completion of this work the RPA will submit a Railway Order application to An Bord Pleanála in respect of this line.

It will not be possible to fully construct Luas Line BX at the same time as construction of Metro North because of the traffic management implications which would arise in the city centre.  The RPA is developing a construction strategy for Luas Line BX, in close co-operation with Dublin City Council, which includes use of Metro North construction sites and recognises the traffic management requirements of the city centre.  The RPA is engaging with Dublin City Council on the basis of the contemporaneous delivery of Lines BX and D. In this regard it is the intention of the RPA to make a single Railway Order application for the combined Line BX/D to An Bord Pleanála in the latter part of next year.