Consortium pushes 'cheaper' metro plan

A new consortium of north Dublin businessmen and landowners has launched a campaign in favour of an alternative route for the…

A new consortium of north Dublin businessmen and landowners has launched a campaign in favour of an alternative route for the Dublin airport metro.

The Metro East Alliance is lobbying the Government and the Railway Procurement Agency to adopt a route to the east of the "central corridor" which is generally accepted to be the emerging preferred route.

Metro East Alliance has commissioned a report from consulting engineers Roughan & O'Donovan and planning consultant Willie Murray which claims the eastern alignment would take in up to 40 per cent more passengers, would be up to €450 million cheaper than the central corridor and give a potential "uplift" to industrial land - including IDA-backed industrial parks of up to half a billion euro.

The alliance also says the route would reduce the tunnelling required and in engineering terms be simpler to build.


The alliance includes Michael Howard, of Genvest, owner of about 45 acres close to Clonshaugh industrial estate, and builders Park Developments and Headland Developments. Gerry Duggan, an infrastructure consultant and non-executive director of Irish Rail, has been appointed to run Metro East Alliance alongside consultant surveyor Paul Pugh, a former property manager for Aer Rianta.

Mr Duggan told The Irish Times the eastern alignment would be similar to the central corridor between the city centre and Drumcondra with a stop serving the Mater Hospital.

From there the route goes to stops at Griffith Avenue, Whitehall and Santry before swinging east to Kilmore and north again to Clonshaugh and approaching the airport from the east to a terminal on the site of the current car park. The Drumcondra stop would also double as a stop for Croke Park.

In contrast the central alignment, which is emerging as the preferred route, would go under St Patrick's College heading north-west under Griffith Avenue to a stop close to DCU, and on through two stops in Ballymun, central and north, via a stop called Metropark to the airport.

Mr Duggan said the consortium was "upfront" about being landowners and developers in the Clonshoulgh/Kilmore area but said the State was also a large landowner in the area through IDA holdings and he maintained the authorities at Beaumont hospital had leant support to the plan.

The eastern alignment would also benefit northside areas with poor public transport and would connect with commuter rail and the proposed orbital metro.

While the route would not serve Ballymun directly, Mr Duggan said the proposal there was to put the rail lines "on stilts, looking in first-floor windows".

Under the Government's timetable for transport infrastructure the Luas red and Green Lines are to be linked in the city centre at surface level by 2008. Metro north, the metro serving Dublin airport and Swords in north County Dublin, is to be completed by 2012.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist