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Light Rail for better public transport

7 May 2013 - Work on Luas Broombridge extension due to start
15 September - Red Line opening information
15 July - more pictures added - but transferred to photogallery
6th July 2004 - pictures added
26th June 2004 - Opening information added
13th November 2003 - This page and Chronology page updated
Further details about the system can be found on the LUAS website.

Work on Luas Broombridge extension due to start

7 May 2013

The first stage of construction - the pre-construction enabling works - of the Luas Cross City line (BXD), which will link both light-rail systems in the capital is due to start in May 2013 with the main construction works starting in 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2017 and will provide for some 600 construction jobs is expected to cost EUR370m.

Luas Broombridge will be a key element in an integrated transport system for Dublin. It will create a Luas network by joining the two existing Red and Green lines, extending the network through the city centre to Broombridge. The new line will also integrate with rail services on the Maynooth and Dunboyne lines as well as QBC cross city/city centre bus services. A new bridge over the River Liffey, which is currently under construction, will carry the southbound Luas track from Marlborough Street to Hawkins Street.

There will be 13 stops, eight in the city centre, and it will provide access to the new Dublin Institute of Technology campus at Grangegorman.

Red Line opening:

The Rail Procurement Agency has announced that the second line in Dublin's new LUAS tram system will be officially opened on Tuesday, September 28. The Railway Procurement Agency has confirmed that the new Luas line - The Red Line (from Tallaght to Connolly Station) will be officially opened on Tuesday September 28th. by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern From the afternoon of the 28th there will be six days of free travel on this line.

It is estimated that approximately 120,000 passengers are being carried on the Green Line (Sandyford to St Stephen's Green) per week.

Luas Official opening on Wednesday 30th June 2004

The Green Line (originally called line B) will open on Wednesday with free rides between 3pm and 8pm. A 10 minute service will be provided from Sandyford to St Stephen's Green. From Thursday 1st July until Sunday 4th July services will continue to be free and will operate from 5.30 until 00.30 every day. Trams will run every 10 minutes. The first day of normal operation will be Monday 5th July. From this time all passengers must have a valid ticket before boarding.

It is expected that the Red line (lines A & C) will open in the Autumn. Details of fares and other information can be found on the Luas website.

The first of the new trams to travel along a section of track on a public roadway pictured on their journey from the Red Cow Roundabout to the Square in Tallaght. On board the tram were technical staff and assessors, observing the journey for the Railway Procurement Agency. (Photos John Maguire

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Outline diagram of proposed light rail lines.
Red and blue lines currently under construction. (The line drawn is blue is now the green line!)

Luas is the proposed light rail system for Dublin and its suburbs. The plans have gone through several phases of revision with much discussion of the merits of street or underground running in the city centre. The most recent plans derive from the report of the Dublin Transportation Office in May 2000 called Platform for Change and incorporate the more advanced portions of the previous plans. The proposed network is shown above with five surface light rail lines with a mixture of street running, reserved track and dedicated right-of-way. This will be complemented by a metro system (not shown above) on totally segregated track including underground tunnels in the city centre. Details including detailed maps, diagrams and illustrations are contained in the official LUAS web site.

Construction has started on the the first two light rail lines: from Tallaght to Connolly Station (formally known as  lines A and C), and  from Sandyford to St Stephens Green (line B), the latter mostly on the track-bed of a disused railway. Both these lines, which are not connected, are now due to open in summer/autumn 2004. The lines are unconnected, an earlier scheme using on-street running through the city centre being rejected in favour of underground running - now upgraded to Metro status. 

Extensions to both lines are already in the detailed planning stage - their implementation mainly dpendent on the availability of private finance. The other lines are in the planning stage with the completion of the whole system, if given the go-ahead,  originally set for 2010. Recent controversy about public transport plans for Dublin probably mean future lines will re-evaluated once the current scheme is commissioned.

What does the name LUAS stand for? Luas is the Irish word for speed and so (as it is not an abbreviation) should be written Luas rather than L.U.A.S.

The Trams
Twenty-six Citadis 301A vehicles have been ordered from Alstom for Lines A/C. Length: 30 metres. Capacity: 235 people (60 seats). First tram was launched at UITP conference in London in May 2001 and deleivered to Dublin in October 2001 where it was on public display for a weekend.
Fourteen additional  Citadis 301A vehicles with extra centre sections have been ordered from Alstom for Line B. Length: 40 metres. Capacity: 300 people (80 seats).
The trams (and future Metro cars) are European standard gauge (4' 8.5") unlike the existing rail lines in Ireland which adhere to the Irish standard gauge of 5' 3".
The Depots
Because the first two lines to be built are physically separate, two depots are being constructed to house the trams. At Red Cow (line A) the buildings were completed in late 2001 ready to accept the first trams. The section of line adjacent to the depot was the first to be commissioned for test running in early 2002. the depot at Sandyford for line B was completed in early 2003.
The Routes
Two lines are under construction. A further three are proposed - but will probably undergo much revision before being authorised.


Incorporates previous plans for Line A and Line C.
This line will run for 15km from Connolly Station, through the north inner-city, crossing the river south at Heuston rail station, before serving St. James, Rialto, Drimnagh, Bluebell, Red Cow, Cookstown and Tallaght. There will be a depot at Red Cow. 8km of track is on-street, the balance being on dedicated alignments and on the central reservation of the main Naas road (N7). Preliminary on-site work for this line started in August 1999. Full-scale construction of the depot started in spring 2000. Construction of the line itself started about June 2001. First tracks were laid in spring 2002. 20 low-floor trams will carry 2,800 people per hour in each direction. with 5 minute headways at peak times. Journey time: 38 minutes.
Line 1 extension: Connolly Station to docklands
Proposals for the National Conference Centre in the Dublin docklands include provision for a tram stop in Mayor Street. This would lie on a proposed extension of Line 1.   The  extension will terminate at the Point Theatre but its existance is partly dependent on the opening of the National Conference Centre. The outcome of the planning enquiry into the conference centre development which rejected high-rise high-density apartments and offices for this area has put the line extension in doubt although detialed plans for alternative routings have been published.


Incorprorates Line B: St. Stephen's Green to Sandyford
This line will largely follow the route of the closed Harcourt Street railway line from  the city centre to Sandyford (9km) serving Balally, Dundrum, Milltown and Ranelagh. There will be a short section of street running along Harcourt Street and St. Stephen's Green West (1km) in the city centre. A depot will be located at the end of the line at Sandyford. 13 low-floor trams will carry 3,000 people an hour in each direction with 5 minute intervals between vehicles at peak time (15 minutes otherwise). This line will be built to a standard to also accomodate metro trains which at a future date may dive underground through the city centre from Ranelagh. The precise details of the Metro have yet to be announced but presumably this means dual running of trams and Metro over the line although this has not been explicitly confirmed. (If not, the surface line to St. Stephen's Green will have a short life). The line will open in late 2003. Journey time: 22 minutes.
Line B extension: Sandyford to Cherrywood
Plans for the extension of this line to the south, take it away from the old Harcourt Street alignment at Sandyford Industrial Estate, through Stepaside and Ballyogan to Carrickmines, where it rejoins the old railway and can be further extended to Cabinteely and Cherrywood. This extension would be part-finance by the private sector. This extension is also planned to take Metro trains which will eventually be extended to terminate at Shanganagh with an interchange with the DART suburban rail service.


This line will branch off from Luas line 2 at Dundrum and will run through the southern suburbs of Dublin, through Harold's Cross crossing the Liffey at Father Matthew Bridge in the city centre where it has a junction with line 1. It proceeds through the north of Dublin city via Drumcondra, Whitehall and Ballymum, terminating at a possible Metro station at Sillogue close to Dublin Airport. Much of the route will, it seems, be along existing roads. This line is currently in the planning stage.


The published route for this line will serve the high density housing in west Dublin in Lucan and Ballyfermot . It joins line 1 at Bluebell and diverges again at Rialto, serving south central Dublin along the South Circular Road and connecting with line 3 at Clanbrassil Street and running concurrently with line 2 for a short distance at Harcourt Street. It eventually will cross the river Liffey on the new Macken Street Bridge terminating at the Point Depot with Line 1. The connection of this line with Lines 1 and 2 and 3 would open the possibility of a variety in routes through and around the city centre between Lucan, Tallaght, Dundrum, Sandyford, the Docklands, Ballymum and the Airport.


This line diverges from Line 3 at Whitehall and serves the North Dublin suburbs of Coolock and Killester, terminating at Howth Junction railway station.


METRO 1: SHANGANAGH  TO AIRPORT (and later to Swords)

Phase 1 of this line was given the government go-ahead in January 2002. It will share track with Luas 2 from Cherrywood to Ranelagh before diving underground through the city centre. Emerging at Broadstone, the line goes north to Finglas along another disused railway line and curves east to terminate at Dublin Airport. Later extensions at both ends will extend to a southern interchange with the DART system at Shanganagh and the north County Dublin town of Swords. However the estimated 4 billion price tag has raised serious concerns and alternative cheaper routes are being evaluated.


Phase 1 of this line was given the government go-ahead in January 2002 along with metro line 1. It will act as a spur from Finglas to the large conurbation in Blanchardstown also serving the site of the proposed National Stadium. the future extension to Tallaght via Liffey Valley will form a western orbital line around Dublin linking major shopping, industrial and residential areas. The National Stadium plan is now paused and, due to costs, the metro line is far from certain.

Other Tentative Rail Plans
Recent reviews of rail services presented to government includes proposals for new rail developments:

Luas progress chart
  Luas 1

Luas 2

  Line A Line C Line B
Public consultation & design   spring 1999  
Application for LRO July 1998 August 1999 December 1998
Public Enquiry November 1998 December 1999 13th April 1999- 6th May 1999
Report from enquiry December 1998 January 2000 June 1999
Decision to proceed May 1999 September 2000 August 1999
Tendering summer 1999 summer 2000 winter 1999
Contracts signed March 2001 March 2001 March 2001
Construction starts May 2001 May 2001 May 2001
Opening (tentative) August 2003 August 2003 June 2003
Opening (revised) August 2004 August 2004 June 30th 2004

  Chronology of events


Official LUAS web site
includes detailed maps, progress reports and technical information
Department of Public Enterprise's web site 
including progress reports from the Light Rail Advisory and Action Group and government documents.
The Irish Times web site
Search for Luas to find recent news articles.


Most information and illlustrations on this site were gleaned from material published by the Railway Procurement Agency:

Railway Procurement Agency,
Parkgate Business Centre,
Parkgate St.,
Dublin 8,
Phone: +353 (01) 646 3400
FREEFONE 1800 67 6464
Fax: +353 (01) 646 3401

Walsh, MJ: Light rail for Dublin? part 1, Light Rail and Modern Tramway, 56 (666), 143-150, June 1993.
Walsh, MJ: Light rail for Dublin? part 2, Light Rail and Modern Tramway, 56 (668), 199-205, August 1993.
Go-ahead for Dublin trams, Light Rail and Modern Tramway, 59 (698), 44, February 1996
Dublin LRT, Line A, Environmental Impact Statement, CIE Light Rail Project Office, July 1998.
Dublin LRT, Line B, Environmental Impact Statement, CIE Light Rail Project Office, January 1999.
Dublin LRT, Line C, Environmental Impact Statement, CIE Light Rail Project Office, September 1999.
Third Report of the Light Rail Advisory/Action Group, August 2000.
A Platform For Change, Dublin Transportation Office, September 2000.
Dublin's State of the Art Tram System Luas, 16 page supplement to Irish Independent, 20th January 2001.
Fourth Report of the Light Rail Advisory/Action Group, February 2001.
Luas, 16 page supplement to The Sunday Business Post, 16th September 2001.

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