A twenty year plan for transport around Dublin was published on 16 April 2016. Many of the plans have been discussed for a number of years but there is now much more flesh upon suggested improvements and a clearer timescale for much of the work. The proposals concern improvements and extensions to existing heavy rail, light rail (LUAS) and the creation of a high capacity Metro north and south of the city centre.
The DART heavy rail electrified suburban service would be extended north along the Belfast main line to Drogheda, south west along the Kildare and Cork main line to Hazelhatch, while the route along the Sligo main line would be electrified to produce more frequent services to Maynooth and M3 Parkway. The Phoenix Tunnel would be reopened to passenger services allowing the Hazelhatch service to run through to Connolly in the City Centre. Improvements to the signalling system will allow more frequent services through the central area. New Park and Ride facilities, and completely new stations will be provided where the potential traffic is good.
The LUAS light rail system will be expanded substantially The east – west Red Line between the Docklands – Connolly Station – City Centre – Tallaght and Saggart will be extended to serve the Poolbeg Peninsula which is south of the Liffey Estuary and will be reached via the new East Link Bridge to The Point, in Poolbeg. The Green line from St Stephens Green south to Bride’s Glen will be extended to Bray town centre although the exact route to be taken remains uncertain. A completely new route from St Stephens Green through the City Centre then north west to Grangegorman College, to Broombridge and a connection with the Dart Maynooth line. The case for a possible further extension north to Navan will be re-examined.
A Metro has long been discussed operating north from the city centre to the Airport and a park-and-ride terminus at the village of Swords. An extension south could replace the Green LUAS line in part or totally. The new proposal is for a Metro North in tunnel below the city centre, with the LUAS Broombridge line running at street level above it. This would run north a little inland from the DART Drogheda line and serving the Airport and Swords. The southern end of Metro North would in fact be some way south of the city centre at Ranelagh. The Metro South is not being actioned at this time. The Green Line gives an adequate service until traffic has built up so much that more capacity along this corridor becomes essential Eventually the Metro North may be extended south probably replacing the LUAS Green Line as far as Bride’s Glen but perhaps running alongside the Green Line for some distance. A LUAS service would continue beyond Bride’s Glen into Bray.