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Dublin Metro
Locale Dublin
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 2
Began operation proposed
Operator(s) RPA

The Dublin Metro (Irish: Meitreo Átha Cliath) is a proposed rapid transit system serving Dublin, Ireland. The system will have two lines, Metro North and Metro West, which will form part of the planned rail infrastructure of Dublin, along with Luas, DART, and suburban rail. At the earliest, Metro North will be operational in 2016, and Metro West in 2019.[1] The metro will have 35 stations, and is expected to carry 34 million passengers per year.[2]

Metro North (Irish: Meitreo Thuaidh) will serve the city centre, the northern suburbs, Dublin Airport and Swords. On 28 October 2010, An Bord Pleanála approved Metro North. Three proposed stops were eliminated,[3] leaving a line of 16.5km in length.[4]

Metro West (Irish: Meitreo Thiar) will serve the western suburbs in an orbital route, linking with Metro North at Dardistown station. Entirely above ground, with grade-separation at major junctions, the line is planned to be 25.5km long.


The idea for a metro system came from the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) in November 2001. The purpose of their "Platform for Change" report was to devise an integrated transportation strategy for Greater Dublin; it outlined plans for three metro lines.[5] The first would run from Swords to Shanganagh via Dublin Airport, Finglas, Broadstone, the city centre, Ranelagh, Sandyford, and Cherrywood. The second would link Tallaght to the city centre through the south-western suburbs. The third line would spur off the Swords-Shanganagh line at Finglas, then continue via Blanchardstown and Clondalkin to Tallaght, forming an orbital line.

As Dublin Airport is projected to carry 30 million passengers by 2015,[6] the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) identified a medium-capacity transport link to the airport as a gap in the Dublin rail network.[citation needed] Two solutions were proposed:

  • a spur off the existing DART line to Dublin Airport, or
  • a metro system, running from Finglas through Dublin Airport and on to the city centre.

The metro emerged as the preferred option, described by the RPA as "an important commuter link for the communities and institutions of North Dublin City and County".[7] Metro North and Metro West were adopted as government policy with the launch of the Transport 21 programme in 2005.

Metro North[edit]

Metro North
AirportAirport interchange
Metro West
Dublin City University
Griffith Avenue
DrumcondraIarnród Éireann
Parnell Square
O'Connell BridgeLuas
St Stephen's GreenLuas Iarnród Éireann


Metro North (Irish: Meitreo Thuaidh) will run from St. Stephen's Green to Belinstown, via Dublin Airport and Swords. It will consist of deep bore tunnel under the city centre and the airport, cut-and-cover tunnelling through the outer suburbs and Swords, surface running in non built-up areas, and some elevated sections.

Three potential routes for Metro North were published by the Railway Procurement Agenccy in February 2006. After public consultation, the RPA announced in October 2006[8] that the selected a routing known as the 'East/Central Combined Route'. A slightly updated route, with changes in proposed station names, some modifications to station locations, and details of proposed overground and underground routes through Swords was released by the RPA in March 2008[9].

Metro North will have a final design capacity of roughly 20,000 passengers per hour, based on one 90m train every 2 minutes. The RPA have stated that it is possible to improve the timings to one train every 90 seconds in the future. Park and ride facilities are envisaged for Fosterstown and Dardistown. There will be bus interchanges at several stops, and rail interchanges at Drumcondra and St. Stephen's Green following the completion of DART Underground. The Luas will interchange at O'Connell St. and St. Stephen's Green.


On 22 March 2007 the Railway Procurement Agency began the procurement process for Metro North. In October 2007 it announced that it had a shortlist of four consortiums interested in building Metro North. Draft Environmental Impact Statements were published in early 2008. On 17 September 2008, the RPA applied for a railway order to An Bord Pleanála.[10] Oral hearings were heard during 2009 and 2010.[11]

In July 2009, the RPA narrowed down the list of bidders to two groups: Celtic Metro and Metro Express. These groups have been asked to prepare best and final offers while the railway order process was in progress with An Bord Pleanála.

Current Stage[edit]

Metro North was granted a railway order at the end of October 2010.[12] The enabling works and diverting utilities services are due to start in April 2011.[13]

The tender process for main construction will now move into its final stages, where a winning consortium will be selected. A tender for a package of enabling works has also been released. The European Investment Bank have approved a loan of up to €500 million to help advance the project.[14]

Other concerns[edit]

In 2006 Eamon Ryan, then transport spokesperson for the Irish Green Party, called for the underground section of the Metro to be extended south to Beechwood, where it would then surface and provide a direct link to the Luas Green Line[15]. This option would allow passengers to travel from the south of the city to the north, without having to change mode of transport. It is also consistent with the Dublin Transportation Office's suggestions in the Platform for Change document, which envisaged that a Metro line would run across the city following the upgrade of the Luas to Metro by 2020. The Green Party entered government in June 2007, however since then there does not seem to have been any change in government transport policy with regard to extending the Metro south of St. Stephen's Green.

Other concerns over the Metro North are that bicycles will not be allowed in the carriages, and that the distances between some of the most central stations are too long. Cost is also a concern, Metro North is expected to cost €2.5 billion. This means that each kilometer of track would cost approximately €138 million[16][17]. There is also concern over lasting damage to St. Stephen's Green, as the northwest corner of it will become a construction site during the building of the Metro[18]. The Railway Procurement Agency has attempted to allay some of the fears about the Metro North by publishing a document entitled "Metro North Myths And Facts".[19][20].

Metro West[edit]

Metro West
Metro North
Metro North
Tolka Valley
Millennium Park
PorterstownIarnród Éireann
FonthillIarnród Éireann
St. Brigids
Colbert's Fort
Tallaght EastLuas

Two potential routes for Metro West were published by the Railway Procurement Agency in January 2007, with a number of sub-options also included. Following discussions and a public consultation process, the preferred route was announced in July 2007. This route starts at Tallaght, then continues on through Belgard, Clondalkin, Liffey Valley, Blanchardstown. Stops are also planned for the National Aquatic Centre and Abbotstown, before continuing in the direction of Sillogue and Harristown. Following Harristown it will link with the Metro North, after Northwood and before Dardistown station. The line is expected to be 25 km long[21].

Although the Metro West is currently in the early planning stages and can change at a later stage, according to the design drawings produced by the RPA, the Metro West line will not be segregated from road traffic, unlike the Metro North proposal. Metro West will run overground, with some tunnels and bridges to avoid major road junctions.[22] The preferred route will also see a number of interchanges with other modes of public transport. As well as the link with the Metro North, the line will also link with the Luas at Tallaght and Belgard, rail services at Fonthill and Porterstown and Dublin Bus services at a number of other stops. Park and ride facilities are also proposed at a number of stops.

Route through Finglas[edit]

Metro West will serve the northern parts of Finglas via stops at the N2 and Meakstown. When developing options for Metro West, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) considered routes south of the M50, serving Finglas more directly. These routes were not deemed feasible as they would have considerable impact on residential and commercial properties in the area, require additional bridges over the M50 and add considerable journey time to the route. It is proposed in the DTO strategy that Finglas is served by a radial light rail line. The first phase of this is outlined in Transport 21 as running to Liffey Junction.

Route selection[edit]

On 11 November 2008, the RPA chose their preferred route for Metro West, including indicative stops, depot and Park and Ride locations. The preferred route for Metro West runs from Tallaght to Metro North at Dardistown, via Clondalkin, Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown. The preferred route is approximately 25.5 km long. The planned route will interchange with (from south to north) the Luas Red Line, Kildare Railway Line, Luas Line F (to Lucan), Maynooth Railway Line and Metro North Line, as well as local bus services.[23]


  1. ^ Byrne, Cormac (10 June 2010). "Blow as Metro West is hit by more delays in cash squeeze". The Evening Herald. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "An Bord Pleanála gives Metro North go ahead". RTÉ News. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "A Platform for Change: Final Report" (PDF). Dublin Transport Office. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  6. ^ ["Residents to oppose Dublin runway plans" Check |url= value (help). RTÉ News. 12 October 2004. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Metro North: FAQs". Railway Procurement Agency. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  8. ^ RTÉ News: Cullen announces details of Metro route
  9. ^ Metro North Route, March 2008
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kelly, Olivia (27 September 2010). "Metro North work to begin in April despite calls for rethink". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Irish Times: Greens want Metro extended to Beechwood
  16. ^ Metro cost falls by one-third: Final bill will come in at €2.5bn if light-rail project approved
  17. ^ Metro mania: the €2.5bn plan to create 4,000 jobs
  18. ^ Irish Times: The tearing of the Green
  19. ^ Metro North Myths And Facts
  20. ^ Metro North Myths And Facts (PDF Document)
  21. ^ Irish Times: Dempsey unveils Metro West route
  22. ^ RTÉ News: Clondalkin wins out on Metro West route
  23. ^ RPA - METRO ORBITAL (Metro West) Design Update No. 1

External links[edit]