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Dublin’s new €9.5bn MetroLink promises trains every three minutes at peak times

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Designs for the St Stephens Green station located at the east of the corner of the green, the existing Wolfe Tone sculpture and Famine memorial will be moved to provide a large public space.

Designs for the St Stephens Green station located at the east of the corner of the green, the existing Wolfe Tone sculpture and Famine memorial will be moved to provide a large public space.

Designs for the interior of Tara St station.

Designs for the interior of Tara St station.

Designs for the Ballymun station which will be located east of the R108 opposite of the Axiz art centre.

Designs for the Ballymun station which will be located east of the R108 opposite of the Axiz art centre.

The planned MetroLink route.

The planned MetroLink route.

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Designs for the St Stephens Green station located at the east of the corner of the green, the existing Wolfe Tone sculpture and Famine memorial will be moved to provide a large public space.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has confirmed that planning permission for Dublin’s MetroLink will be lodged this September – and it’s anticipated to be running in the early 2030s.

The Irish Independent reported yesterday that Minister Ryan had received the go-ahead from Cabinet for the €9.5bn fully automated underground train system.

It will be 19.4km in length and have 16 stations, which will be mostly underground, and will run from Swords in North County Dublin to Charlemont in the South City, with an end-to-end journey time of 25 minutes. 

It will serve residential areas including Ballymun, Glasnevin, as well as the City Centre and Dublin Airport

The service aims to have trains every three minutes at peak times and carry up to 20,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

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The planned MetroLink route.

The planned MetroLink route.

The planned MetroLink route.

The transport ‘megaproject’ will be the first of its kind in Ireland, which remains one of only a small number of countries in Europe without a metro. 

Minister Ryan said the MetroLink will be accessible by over 175,000 people by foot alone and 250,000 jobs will be within reach of the route. 

Announcing the decision, Minister Ryan said: “MetroLink is a once in a generation project that is going to massively transform the public transport system in our capital city.

"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.

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Designs for the Ballymun station which will be located east of the R108 opposite of the Axiz art centre.

Designs for the Ballymun station which will be located east of the R108 opposite of the Axiz art centre.

Designs for the Ballymun station which will be located east of the R108 opposite of the Axiz art centre.

"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.

"MetroLink is hardwired to our climate ambitions. It will provide over 1 billion carbon neutral, fully electrified, passenger trips by 2050. 

"I’m delighted that the Government has agreed with my recommendation to proceed with the project, and I look forward to it entering the statutory planning stage this September.”

CEO of the National Transport Authority of Ireland (NTA) Anne Graham, said today is an important one for Irish public transport. 

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Designs for the interior of Tara St station.

Designs for the interior of Tara St station.

Designs for the interior of Tara St station.

“MetroLink is about providing a frequent, reliable, sustainable alternative as part of an integrated system, so that we can encourage more people to get out of their cars and on to public transport,” she said.

The Department of Transport said the capital delivery cost of the Metrolink is between €7.16 billion and €12.25bn, giving a midpoint scenario of €9.5bn. 

However, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said in an “extreme-case scenario” Dublin’s MetroLink could cost €23bn.

"Realistically, construction won't begin until 2025 and... the estimated cost is just under 10 billion,” he said on Newstalk’s The Pat Kenny Show.

"But that's a cost that's estimated before we have planning permission and before we've done any tendering.

"The way the estimate works is the cost is about six billion, and then we're factoring in... 1.5 for inflation and 1.5 for risk.

"But it is an estimate.

"In the business case, all of the different estimates are set out - so that 9.5 billion is a particular figure.

"There is an extreme-case scenario in the documents where it could cost up to 23 billion - nobody thinks that's going to happen, by the way - but that's the kind of extreme end of things".

Mr Varadkar added that’s it’s a great project that is “long overdue”. 

"I think it can help to transform public transport in the streets of Dublin, and also help out with air quality and climate action as well,” he said.

"But it is going to be an expensive project and it is going to take time."

Three quarters of the cost during the construction phase will be paid for by the exchequer and one quarter financed by a Public Private Partnership (PPP), as a more exact cost will be known following planning permission and procurement process.

MetroLink in numbers

  •  First of its kind in Ireland
  • 19.4 km in length from north of Swords to Charlemont in the south Dublin city.
  • 16 stations
  • Trains every three minutes at peak  time, system will be capable of carrying up to 20,000 passengers in each direction every hour
  • 1 airport, 2 interconnecting train stations on route, 1 main Luas connection, and enhanced connectivity to 2 major inter-city train stations
  • Growing population of 175,000 people within easy walking distance of the route, connecting more than a million people in the Dublin area and across Ireland.
  • 250,000 jobs within easy reach of the route
  • €9.5bn credible cost estimate, €13.7bn benefits to the economy over 60 years

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