Residents seek redraft of MetroLink line

Coalition of 39 residents groups wants route to go southwest from St Stephen’s Green

An application for the MetroLink from Swords and Dublin Airport, terminating at Charlemont near Ranelagh, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála later this year. Photograph: Alan Betson

An application for the MetroLink from Swords and Dublin Airport, terminating at Charlemont near Ranelagh, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála later this year. Photograph: Alan Betson

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A coalition of 39 residents groups, representing some 50,000 households across southwest Dublin, is calling on the State’s transport authorities to cut short the planned MetroLink rail line.

An application for the MetroLink from Swords and Dublin Airport, terminating at Charlemont near Ranelagh, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála later this year.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) is separately considering the potential for south Dublin to be served by metro, with studies under way on possible lines to Rathfarnham and to Sandyford via UCD.

The original planned route along the Luas Green line to Cherrywood is “not being actively considered”, an NTA spokesman said.

The Metro South West Group wants the MetroLink to terminate at St Stephen’s Green to avoid limiting the options for a future southern metro route.

It wants the metro to run southwest, serving suburbs such as Rathmines, Harold’s Cross, Terenure, Rathfarnham and Knocklyon, with the potential to link to the Red Luas line at Tallaght.

However, it said that by continuing the MetroLink to Charlemont, with the tunnel boring to continue to a point north of Beechwood in Ranelagh, the inner suburbs of Rathmines and Harold’s Cross would be bypassed.

“We are asking that the NTA seeks a railway order for the MetroLink to go to St Stephen’s Green and not on to Beechwood,” group spokesman Seán Ward said.

“There would be no need to delay the MetroLink to do this, it will take two years before the tunnel-boring machine comes anywhere near St Stephen’s Green and during this period all three alternatives to go south from St Stephen’s Green could be independently evaluated.”

Three options

These three options would be the southwest route to Rathfarnham and beyond, the UCD/Sandyford route or the Luas Green line upgrade.

Bringing the tunnel out to a point between the Charlemont and Beechwood Luas stops indicated a bias towards continuing the metro along the Luas Green line, Mr Ward said.

“Bringing MetroLink almost as far as Beechwood would pre-empt the other two southside options.”

However, a NTA spokesman said the Green line was not expected to be upgraded to a metro for “another couple of decades”.

“The current arrangement on the Green line is adequate if we sweat the asset, it can take us through to 2040.”

Two potential metro lines were being considered; a standalone metro to the city centre from Sandyford through UCD and a metro from Knocklyon/Rathfarnham, which may be a standalone line into the city or could be an extension from Charlemont.

The studies have yet to be completed, but would be published as part of the review of Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy.

However, he said the proposed MetroLink to Charlemont had gone through several rounds of public consultation and the terminus would not be altered ahead of the application for its railway order later this year.

“MetroLink will proceed to planning this year, the possibility of other metro lines will not impact on that one way or another.”

Plans for the southern section of the metro were shelved in 2019 after objections were raised by senior Government figures in relation to disruption to the Green line and a road in Ranelagh.

The NTA at the time said it would tunnel past the Charlemont stop to allow the conversion of the Luas to metro “to occur at an appropriate point in the future”.