TRANSPORT Infrastructure Ireland has awarded design, engineering and project management consultancy Atkins, part of SNC-Lavalin Group, a contract to deliver the detailed design for advance works on Dublin’s MetroLink Project.

The project aims to create a high-capacity, high-frequency automated metro line, plus integrated public transport network, linking the city centre and southern Greater Dublin Area with Dublin Airport and the suburban villages north of the capital around Swords. The Irish cabinet approved the preliminary business case for the project in July 2022 and the 16-station line is expected to open in the early 2030s.

Atkins and subconsultant RPS, part of Tetra Tech, will now develop a detailed design programme of tasks needing to be undertaken before the main infrastructure work begins, probably in 2025. The design programme includes diversion of utilities, archaeological and heritage assessments, easing of land access and environmental monitoring.

As well as being a key project in Ireland's National Development Plan, MetroLink will be the first of its kind in Irish public transport infrastructure, as most of the 18.8km route will run underground. There will be sections in cuttings and at grade north of the Dublin Airport station, and a short cutting, embankment and motorway bridge section between the airport, Dardistown and Northwood stations.

A map showing the route and main connections and interchanges of the planned Dublin MetroLink. Picture credit:

MetroLink will be designed to link Dublin’s major transport hubs and key city centre destinations. It will connect with Irish Rail (IE) and the Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) suburban rail services at the Tara, Glasnevin and Charlemont interchange stations, and with the two-line Luas light rail network at O’Connell Street, St Stephen’s Green and Charlemont. MetroLink will also connect with the Dublin Bus network at several stops and will provide a more rapid connection from the city centre to the country’s main international airport than the current bus and coach links.

North of the airport, the new line will also serve the suburban villages of Fostertown, Swords and Seatown and will have a park and ride terminus at Estuary, near the M1 north-south motorway.

It is planned to operate MetroLink with a fleet of 40 trains, each 60m long, running at Grade of Automation 4 (GoA4) with three-minute headways. It is estimated that when completed the line will carry up to 53 million passengers a year.

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