METRO NORTH DESIGN CONTRACT AWARDED
The National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have jointly awarded a contract for the appointment of a design team to assist them in developing the engineering design of the Metro North project. The €14 million contract, awarded to a consortium of Jacobs Engineering and IDOM (a Spanish firm experienced in rail and metro projects), is to develop the project from the concept design stage to construction, including obtaining planning and environmental consents and tendering the scheme’s construction and (provisional) construction supervision.
The Metro North rail project to connect Dublin Airport with central Dublin via Swords is for a 19km-long standard gauge line built mainly in tunnel. Around 14 stations are envisaged. It is envisaged Metro North will link with the Luas ‘Green Line’ south of Dublin, with trains possibly running further south over the Luas.
Main construction work is presently scheduled to start in 2021, with services commencing in 2026. Journey times from Dublin city centre to Dublin airport would be around 19 minutes.
IÉ CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF AIRPORT ALIGNMENT
The National Planning Framework recently published by the Irish Government gave commitments to extend Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) suburban services westward to Maynooth on the Sligo line and north to either Balbriggan or Drogheda and south to Hazelhatch on the Cork line (via the Phoenix Park Tunnel), but an extension on new alignment between Dublin Airport and Clongriffin is only under consideration. IÉ has therefore requested the proposed route, mostly across currently open countryside, is protected to permit a new DART line to the airport to be built in the future; the Metro North project is not designed for DART usage. Tim Casterton
WESTERN RAIL CORRIDOR HIT BY FLOODING
The Limerick to Ennis section of the Western Rail Corridor, closed due to winter weather flooding at Ballycar on 27 January, finally reopened on Wednesday 21 March; however, rail services south of Limerick were suspended in March. Heavy rain and groundwater levels caused the embankment near Clonmel to slip in six places over a 200-metre stretch of the little-used section between Limerick Junction and Waterford. The twice-daily passenger trains were replaced by buses whilst repairs were made and new drainage installed. Rail services recommenced on 28 March. Tim Casterton