The Irish Times view on the latest Dublin transport plan: Slow train coming

The prolonged delivery schedule for new train and Luas services casts doubt on whether many will ever be delivered

When the draft Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area was published in November 2021, many were disappointed by its lack of ambition and seeming lack of urgency in the delivery of essential rail infrastructure.

The draft plan, an update on the 2016 transport strategy, pushed projects, such as the metro that had been due for completion in 2027, and new Luas lines, out to some time after 2031.

More than 1,000 submissions were made to the public consultation process with many, including ones from the Office of the Planning Regulator, Dublin business organisations and members of Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan’s own party, appealing for these schemes to be accelerated.

That consultation process ended a year ago and the delay in publishing the final report – which was released this week – had given rise to hope that efforts were being made to speed things up.


Unfortunately, the final document shows very little change from the draft. There has been some tinkering with the timelines, but this has been more to offer “precision” according to the National Transport Authority (NTA). Projects were previously grouped into two phases: 2022-2030 and 2031-2042, the latter encompassing all the proposed new rail lines. A mid-range has been added – 2031-2036 – which includes the metro, three Luas lines and the Navan rail line, but no new rail lines will be built in this decade.

The final strategy does push the door open ever so slightly for the possibility of a future metro extension to the south, absent from the draft, with Ryan favouring a route to Tallaght via Terenure, Rathfarnham and Firhouse. However, this is only an option to be examined, with the NTA to “assess the requirement” for additional metro lines in future reviews of the strategy.

In his comments on the document Ryan said the strategy “when delivered will bring back the sort of comprehensive rail network we had at the start of the last century”. Many Dublin commuters might wonder if they are facing a similar time lag before their new train or tram arrives.