Transport for Dublin ®

Integrated Rail and Bus Networks


population with short access to rail

Metro Dublin

Block 3

104 Parkgate Place

Parkgate Street

Dublin 8,  D08 KX30

Pioneering Mass Rapid Transit


¨ Introduction

¨ Geographic Extent

¨ Purpose

¨ The Integrated Network

¨ Design and Delivery

¨ Connectivity

¨ Benefits

¨ Questions

Metro Dublin: Network Connectivity

Metro Dublin: The Integrated Railway Network

Metro Dublin: The Integrated Network

Metro Dublin: Greater Dublin Area

¨ Introduction

Metro Dublin is a new mass rapid transit development for Dublin. It is designed to meet the existing and growing demand for fast, reliable, integrated and sustainable mobility for the Greater Dublin Area. It is:

·  Devised to maintain and enhance Dublin’s liveability and prosperity – a once in a generation development that will facilitate the transformation of Dublin’s rail network into an international-style metro system;

·  Additional to the existing Irish Rail intercity tracks and designed to serve the capital and the country by complementing the existing DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and LUAS lines.

Metro Dublin responds to the transport growth needs of Dublin and provides long-term capacity for railway passenger movement into the middle of this century and beyond. The population of the Greater Dublin Area is expected to increase from 1.9 million in 2016 to at least 2.2 million by 2031. Metro Dublin will help to cater for the expected metropolitan population growth by providing viable additional and improved public transport options for the city’s occupants.

With international partners, Metro Dublin will deliver all phases of the Development, including feasibility studies, business case, financing, and planning application to An Bord Pleanála through to delivery of project construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance of the systems.

¨ Geographic Extent

Metro Dublin will serve the capital and the country with a world-class integrated public transport system that will complement the existing DART and LUAS lines. The extension provides an additional 62 station stops at 53 station locations. The expansion works include 18 km of new surface lines and 46 km of tunnels and involves upgrading 29 km of existing lines – 93 km in total (operational length is shorter). All lines run on the Irish Rail gauge and are separate from the Irish Rail intercity tracks.

Metro Dublin will integrate existing public transport services and directly serve many of Dublin’s major traffic generators, such as: Dublin Airport, St James’s Hospital (including the planned new children’s hospital), Beaumont Hospital, Croke Park, Dublin City University and Dublin Institute of Technology. It links Dublin city centre with the suburbs of: Adamstown, Ashbourne, Ballymun, Blanchardstown, Castleknock, Clondalkin, Finglas, Greencastle, Harold’s Cross, Howth Junction/Donaghmede, Malahide, Swords, Terenure, Rathfarnham and Whitehall, and connects all the foregoing with both the national rail and bus networks.

¨ Purpose

The purpose of the Metro Dublin project is to provide a substantial improvement in public transport in the Greater Dublin Area by integrating and augmenting the existing heavy rail lines in Dublin city centre and thereby increasing passenger capacity, train frequency and interchange opportunities.

The Metro Dublin project will also constitute the cornerstone of the future transport system for the Greater Dublin Area through integration with other modes of transport, alleviating congestion in the Greater Dublin Area and enabling a modal shift from private to public transport.

¨ The Integrated Network

The new development will comprise six major routes consisting of new and upgraded track.

It will alleviate pressure on public transport by contributing significantly to the passenger carrying capacity and usage of the public transport network in the urban area, and will offset growing strains on the urban road system, including the M50 Orbital Motorway, which was already operating at maximum capacity in 2016.


¨ Design and Delivery

The Metro Dublin Consortium (MDC) will oversee the delivery of the project. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be established to ensure timely and efficient construction of the agreed scheme. Major works are expected to commence in 2019, subject to planning approvals, and to be completed by end 2022/3. The MDC and its SPV will work closely with the relevant state sector agencies to apply global best practice and experience to the construction and delivery of the project, and achieve optimal outcomes for the community.

¨ Connectivity

Metro Dublin will deliver a comprehensive integrated railway network for the greater Dublin metropolitan area by providing:

·  New capacity on four new radial lines, a new south city centre loop line, a major upgrade of two existing radial lines and an upgrade of the north city loop line; each line catering for a capacity of 30,000 trips per direction per hour.

·  Express train services on the new Dublin Airport / Swords radial line that will accommodate national mainline and suburban rail services.

·  62 station stops comprising 39 new underground stations, 13 new surface stations and an upgrading of 10 existing stations.

·  Up grading existing surface lines 14.7 km, new parallel tracks to existing surface lines 14.3 km, new surface alignment 17.7 km, cut and covered tunnel 3.6 km, and tunnel built by tunnel boring machine 42.8 km, all running on the Irish Rail gauge with train services running on just under 92 km.

·  Appropriate support infrastructure, including power plant, signalling, telecommunications systems, depots, control centres, and administration and training buildings.

Metro Dublin will also extend the connection of Dublin City with the Greater Dublin Area. It efficiently extends and integrates all existing public transport services in Dublin, it joins up the city and national railways and will contribute greatly to the viability of all public transport service.

Compared to the existing metro plans, vast additional areas are served, and patronage is significantly increased. It connects and provides new rapid transit to Dublin city centre with its suburbs of Adamstown, Ashbourne, Ballymun, Blanchardstown, Castleknock, Clondalkin, Finglas, Greencastle, Harold’s Cross, Howth Junction/ Donaghmede, Malahide, Rathfarnham, Swords, Terenure and Whitehall, and major traffic generators such as Croke Park, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, Dublin Airport, Beaumont Hospital and the St James’s/New National Children’s Hospitals.

¨ Benefits

Metro Dublin increases public transport capacity within Dublin City by creating an integrated network of connections between more of the central areas and inner suburbs of the city, including Drumcondra, Phibsboro, Glasnevin, Cabra, Heuston Station, James’s Street, The Liberties, Stephen’s Green, Pearse Station and North Docklands. The new infrastructure will provide direct extra capacity as well as additional synergistic capacities through the benefits of greater integration of the network.

Metro Dublin will also:

·  Make a greater contribution than any alternative transport infrastructure initiative to achieving a shift from private car usage to public transport use in line with official government policy.

·  Reduce road congestion on the main arterial roads and M50, as well as key roads in the north, west and south of the city for both passenger and freight users, by encouraging many motorists to move to public transport.

·  Provide relief to tram and bus crowding in central Dublin, and release that extra capacity to better serve growth in the congested areas. Improve access to the City Centre and key business nuclei supporting Dublin’s growing economy and increasing employment opportunities.

·  Through the extended and integrated network, link the health, education, technology, civic and cultural domains in the city, and improve access to these precincts from the broader metropolitan area.

·  Produce major financial savings to the Exchequer through reduced carbon dioxide emissions and associated reductions in the State’s payments and fines to the EU Commission in respect of Ireland’s designated mandatory carbon emission reduction targets.

·  Catalyse significant renewal in the Dublin Docklands and other Urban Regeneration Areas in the city, facilitating expansion of the central city and supporting Dublin’s economic recovery and prosperity. Direct access to mass transit will facilitate high value, knowledge-based employment in Dublin’s central and suburban business nuclei, facilitating the provision of new professional employment in the existing nuclei and further job growth along the new and upgraded rail corridors. With the potential of these nuclei and corridors to accommodate multiple thousands of residents and jobs, the new network has the potential to stimulate multi-billion Euro increases in development value.

·  Send confident signals to potential corporate investors and employers by providing timely positive infrastructure support. Help to make Ireland more attractive to businesses and investors seeking to relocate because of the uncertainties associated with Brexit.

·  Metro Dublin is a once in a generation, city-shaping project. By enabling more workers (and businesses) to locate in highly productive, employment-dense areas, Metro Dublin generates a range of social and economic benefits.

·  Metro Dublin also provides the backbone for further improvements to the network in the future, by incorporating features such as the patented large single bore tunnel with enhanced safety design, longer platforms and high capacity signalling, which allows a logical staged approach to expand the rail network.

·  The choice for policymakers is stark: to continue to add worthwhile additional public transport projects to a deficient transport base, or to apply a systemic remedy to that deficient transport base, such as Metro Dublin proposes.

¨ Questions

·      How does
     Metro Dublin align with

Government Policy?

Government Policy on urban development states that urban areas should be provided with high quality public transport, and that this Policy is compromised when it is not economically feasible to provide such support. 

National Transport Authority Strategy?

The Minister for Transport sets Transport Strategy. In 2015, the Minister, referring to Metro Dublin, stated that:

“if we could build an underground system in Dublin for significantly less than the Metro North/DART Underground proposals, in a much quicker timeframe and without needing significant subvention, then I'd support it unequivocally. As I am sure Dublin City Council’s members would as well.”

Since the Minister sets the NTA Strategy, Metro Dublin can be seen to be in accord with the NTA’s Strategy.


 A report to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport in 2014 stated that Metro Dublin has ‘‘knowledge and many skills that are appropriate for the building of a Metro,’’ and that its ‘‘knowledge could be harnessed for the development of the Dublin Metro system.’’

Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Committees:-

- For Planning ?

Stated that they ‘‘would like to see the City Council explore the potential for cooperation between Metro Dublin and Dublin City Council to secure the potential benefits of Metro Dublin for the City.”

- For Transport & Traffic?

Stated that “the Minister undertakes sub-stantive engagement’’ with Metro Dublin.”

·      How does Metro Dublin fit in
     with current transport plans?

Metro Dublin reinterprets the business cases for the DART Underground and for the Bus Rapid Transit schemes. 

It also upgrades the Metro North proposal to a full metro and will be completed much sooner.

Metro Dublin serves vast additional areas, and patronage is significantly increased. Its six lines will complement the six existing rail lines (four DART/Commuter/Intercity and two Luas).

·      What is the context
     of the Development?

The Metro Dublin Development is within:

 - The Irish Government and EU Policies and Strategies that facilitate private sector proposals to address the deficit in sustainable public transport in an open transparent and value for money competitive manner that is open to scrutiny, debate and constructive criticism.

For instance, the EU tender process will be used for Metro Dublin contracts to exploit its unique innovative methods, which will reduce costs and add additional operational benefits that are in the public interest.

The Railway and Strategic Infrastructure Acts and Regulations facilitate ‘any person’ to make an application for a Railway Order to An Bord Pleanála and to operate a railway as regulated by the Commission for Railway Regulation.

·      What are the advantages of
     Local Authority involvement?

An extensive and affordable metro can be in operation in 2023/24 (as against a single metro line in 2027), which can be seen to have a profoundly positive impact on the proper planning and sustainable development of Dublin and a positive impact on Ireland as a whole.

·      Who will
     own the land?

All land associated with the Development will be in the ownership/control of the State. Land ‘way-leaves’ will be put in place to enable construction and maintenance works and to maintain and upkeep access to stations.

·      Why are the Irish Rail Adamstown
     and Blanchardstown lines included?

To underpin high usage of public transport, Metro Dublin needs a ‘critical-mass of public transport infrastructure.’ This will facilitate Irish Rail to run high frequency/quality services on these and other Metro Dublin lines.

·      Has the
     Statutory Process started?

Under the Strategic Infrastructure Act, Metro Dublin has begun statutory Pre-Application Consultation for a Railway Order with An Bord Pleanála.

·      Are there conflicts with the
     existing intercity rail services?

No. Metro Dublin track layout is such that its services are run on tracks grade-separated (bridged-over) from the Irish Rail intercity trains.

·      What is the
     Metro Dublin Development?

MD is a world-class integrated public transport development that serves both Dublin and the rest of Ireland and addresses many of the requirements for proper planning and sustainable development in Dublin.

Works involve the upgrade of existing lines (29 km) and new lines (18 km on surface and 46 km in tunnel). It has 62 station stops at 53 station locations (due to the existence of connection stations linking two or more lines). The Development consists of 6 Metro Line Sections. Of these 53 stations locations, 10 are new surface, 13 are upgrades to existing surface and 30 are underground (some of which serve more than one line).

·      What are the benefits of the
     Metro Dublin Development?

MD delivers on the long-accepted social, economic and environmental case for a metro in Dublin. Major benefits include:

Quality of life improvements and the ability to enhance Dublin as a residential and investment location;

An affordable world-class public transport system that integrates with and enhances the viability of existing public transport services.

·      How can the
     Local Authorities get involved?

Local Authorities can get involved through the State Authorities (Public Private Partnership Arrangements) Act 2002.

The Act provides certainty as to the powers of Irish State authorities to enter partnerships and gives local authorities the power to enter into joint ventures. It strikes a balance between the needs and interests of the public sector, and ultimately those of the Exchequer, and the private sector (source: The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform).

·      Does Metro Dublin expect involvement
     from Dublin Local Authorities?

Yes (just as city authorities world-wide are part and parcel of their public transport delivery) and is now exploring the scope for partnership collaboration and/or co-operation to secure potential benefits as anticipated through the Dublin City Council Motion mentioned earlier.

·      Has Metro Dublin lined up the team
     and finance to deliver?

Metro Dublin’s capability and credibility to complete the proposed development is fully supported by its core development team, financiers and track record.

  The Metro Dublin financial team has the ability to provide the finance for the development, and the Metro Dublin track record includes the bona fide development proposal which it developed with a Japanese consortium and presented to the Taoiseach and his Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure and Public Private Partnerships. The Japanese consortium went on to build the Dublin Port Tunnel.

  The Metro Dublin core development team met with the An Bord Pleanála Pre-Application Consultations Board in 2015. The core development team members are world leaders in terms of fast metro delivery, and low outcome/final all-in cost and quality. They have delivered extensive high quality metro projects like the Metro Dublin Development many times. They participated in the management team of the Madrid Regional Government in all phases of implementation of its new metro infrastructure, from its initial conception to commissioning to commercial operation.

  The core team will take the Metro Dublin Development through its delivery – from the start of its development and due process to procurement to contract to commissioning. Its members ability, experience and delivery record fit the Metro Dublin development needs – to do everything through EU procurement methods, to procure fast, appoint contractors, and supervise delivery and commissioning of the full development.

·      What would be the
     burdens on public bodies?

At this stage, it suffices to say here that Metro Dublin sees that its Development and operation will at all times accrue net income for the Exchequer and the Local Authorities.





(1) Planning and development of large-scale, rail focussed residential areas in Dublin, National Transport Authority, 2013.

(2) The proposed metro from St. Stephen’s Green to Swords via Dublin Airport, O’Reilly Consultants, 2014.



Text Box:   New track in tunnel
  New and upgraded track on surface
Text Box:   New track in tunnel
  Upgraded track on surface
  New track on surface
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