Alternative to Dublin metro ‘a fantasy’, says transport body

No basis in reality for proposed €1.95 billion Dublin rail system

A plan for a Dublin rail system which would be cheaper and more extensive than Metro North was "completely unreal and fantastical", the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said.

Dublin city councillors will tomorrow be presented with the authority's report on the Metro Dublin plan proposed by transport engineer Cormac Rabbitt.

Mr Rabbitt in November gave a presentation to the council's transport committee on the scheme which he said could incorporate elements of the shelved Metro North and Dart Underground schemes, the Phoenix Park tunnel line and a number of other rail links.

The system could be built for €1.95 billion, around half the cost of Metro North, in just 26 months, Mr Rabbitt said.

The overall time, from Government sanction to proceed with the scheme to completion, would be 42 months, he said. More than €1. 62 billion could be collected from a combination of levies, rates, stamp duty, tolls and State financing to fund its construction.

However, the NTA said the timeline proposed by Mr Rabbitt was “a fantasy with no basis in reality”. The planning period proposed would not allow time to comply with national and EU legislation.

"It is inconceivable, and completely unrealistic, that the 12-month time period put forward in the Metro Dublin proposal would facilitate the necessary survey work, procurements, analysis, option development, engineering design, cost and usage analysis, public consultation, and selection of optimal option, let alone include for the preparation of an EIS and railway order for that option, plus the holding of an oral hearing by An Bord Pleanála and the issue of a planning determination."

Tunnelled lines
The NTA said the construction period proposed was "equally without foundation" given the 18km of new tunnelled lines and 6km of new surface lines proposed, as well as the 29km of upgraded existing lines and large number of new stations.

“There is simply no basis of realism to the 26-month construction period stated for this Metro Dublin proposal.”

It said there was “no validity” to the cost information in the proposal, unlike the €4.1 billion Dart Underground and €3.7 billion Metro North which had been independently evaluated.

The NTA is planing to develop a Bus Rapid Transit line which would run largely along the same route as Metro North.

A Swords-Dublin Airport to city centre line, with an indicative cost of €150 million to €200 million, is one of three routes which will be available for public consultation this month.

Third route
A Blanchardstown to UCD route would have a similar cost, while the third route, from Clongriffin to Tallaght, is estimated to cost €200 million to €250 million.