100 homes in upmarket Dublin areas to be knocked down to build €3bn Metro line
Transport bosses 'happy to consider alternatives' to proposal
More than 100 homes in upmarket parts of Dublin could be bought and demolished by the State to allow construction of a €3bn Metro system to go ahead.
Up to 20 properties in Ranelagh, another 20 units in Glasnevin and an apartment block of 70 homes on Tara Street are likely to be acquired to facilitate MetroLink, according to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
Playing pitches owned by Na Fianna GAA club and Home Farm soccer club could also become construction compounds for up to six years from 2021.
MetroLink director Aidan Foley said it would work with affected communities to reduce the impact where possible, which could include changing the route.
"We will be using our best endeavours," he said. "Our policy will be to engage with property owners to try to mitigate where we can."
MetroLink will run from Sandyford in south Dublin to Estuary north of Swords with a total journey time of just 50 minutes, connecting with Dublin Airport along the route.
Trains will run every two minutes between Dublin city centre and the airport when the MetroLink opens for business in 2027, assuming planning permission is granted.
It will take 20 minutes to travel from the city centre to Dublin Airport, and the system will be capable of carrying 15,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
Planning permission is expected to be sought in the third quarter of next year, and it will take six years to build the 26km line, which will run underground in the city centre.
It will also link with the Green Luas line and Irish Rail stations.
The project is essentially a reworking and expansion of the Metro North scheme, which was granted planning permission in 2010, but mothballed by the Government in 2011 during the financial crisis.
The National Transport Authority (NTA), which will fund it, said it was designed to cater for future population growth in the capital.
The National Planning Framework says the city will grow by up to 25pc by 2040, resulting in a population of 1.4 million for the Dublin region.
The NTA says that buses will not be capable of meeting the demand for public transport. Buses can carry 2,000 people an hour in each direction, compared with 7,000 for light rail such as Luas. MetroLink will carry 15,000.
The system begins at Estuary in north Dublin, where 3,000 park and ride spaces will be provided, running at street level and on an elevated structure until it goes underground immediately north of Dublin Airport.
It then runs underground with stops at the airport, Northwood, Ballymun, Collins Avenue, Griffith Park, Glasnevin - where it connects with Irish Rail services to Maynooth/Sligo and Hazelhatch/Kildare - the Mater, O'Connell Street, Tara Street (with connections to the Dart network) and a station on the east side of St Stephen's Green.
It then continues underground to Charlemont, where passengers will interchange with the Luas Green line to Broombridge. It then continues along the existing Luas Green line to Sandyford before turning back.
Luas services will continue to Brides Glen. In all, 25 stations are proposed, of which 15 will be new. Twin tunnels are proposed, but this could be amended to a larger, single tunnel. It added that the works will disrupt some Luas Green line services, which will not be capable to meeting transport demand by 2027, with some road closures possible.
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said the authority wanted to "get ahead" of growing transport demand by providing an alternative to the private car.
TII chief executive Michael Nolan added that the proposal was for an 'emerging preferred route', rather than the final route. "We remain open to other proposals, and if people or communities feel there are better ways of doing it, we will of course be happy to consider any alternatives," he said.