‘Rethink Metrolink’ steps up fight to retain Green Line Luas
Campaigners using Twitter, leaflets, and posters between Sandyford and Ranelagh
Campaigners say the don’t want to the Luas Green line to be closed. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Campaigners calling for the Government to “Rethink Metrolink” have stepped up their campaign to convince up to 45,000 commuters the proposed metro is a mistake.
The Rethink Metrolink group has begun deploying rolling “information points” at selected stations on the Green Luas line to inform passengers “the line is likely to be shut for up to two years”.
Under proposals adopted by Government in 2016, part of the Luas Green line tram service between Ranelagh and Sandyford would be replaced by a metro which comes from Swords via the airport and crosses the city underground before emerging in the vicinity of Charlemont and Ranelagh tram stops. The metro would then continue south replacing the section of the Green Luas line out to Sandyford, offering increased capacity to commuters.
Rethink Metrolink has already told the Oireachtas Committee on transport that replacing one railway with another when large tracts of the city have no rail based public transport at all, is a mistake. Rethink Metrolink campaigners have also made a submission as part of the public consultation process.
But this week members took their campaign to the line itself, handing out leaflets and talking to commuters at Luas stops. The group said they intend to hold such events on two days each week in the run up to Christmas to “fully explain” what is involved in the Metrolink Project to commuters.
Rethink Metrolink has also relaunched its website which claims support from a wide range of politicians including Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, TDs Kate O’Connell of Fine Gael and Jim O’Callaghan of Fianna Fail, and independent senator Michael McDowell.
Pat Galvin of Metro Link said Rethink Metrolink was not opposed to a metro, but using it to replace part of the existing tram line “when other parts of the city are desperate for public transport, is questionable”. Mr Galvin said the campaigners were shocked by the amount of commuters who did not know the line would close during construction of the Metrolink.
The start of leafletting activities on Monday also saw Rethink Metrolink use Twitter to make contact with passengers and get their message across. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan responded in a tweet: “ We do need to Rethink Metrolink. It makes real sense to think big about public transport in South Dublin. By continuing the tunnelling machine, either to Tereneure/Tallaght or UCD Sandyford, we can keep the Luas green line open and spread the gain to other suburbs. @RMetrolink”
Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan tweeted: “An underground Metro would be great for Dublin. However, bringing it above ground to replace the green #LUAS line is not the answer. Keep it underground and route it towards the south-west of the city which is not served by any public rail link”.
A spokesman for the National Transport Authority said final details of the route, including where the metro would rise from underground on the southside were not yet concluded. He said it may be possible to bring the metro above ground at a point further south than Ranelagh.
The spokesman said plans to upgrade the Luas Green Line to a metro had been in place since before the Luas was opened. He said this had been put forward by the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland as the commission and delivering bodies respectively, and the whole plan had been approved as Government policy in 2016.