MetroLink is a transformative piece of new public transport infrastructure, the first of its kind in Ireland. It will comprise a high-capacity, high-frequency, modern and efficient metro railway, with 16 new stations running from Swords to Charlemont. The alignment will link Dublin Airport, Irish Rail, DART, Dublin Bus and Luas services and create a fully integrated public transport network for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA). A copy of the MetroLink route alignment can be downloaded here.
As well as linking major transport hubs, MetroLink will connect key destinations including Ballymun, the Mater Hospital, the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin City University (DCU) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Much of the 18.8km route will run underground, an exciting innovation for Irish public transport.
MetroLink will carry up to 53 million passengers annually, cutting journey times from Swords to the city centre to 25 minutes. It will change the way we travel – and how we live.
MetroLink will serve sixteen stations (15 stations and 1 future station at Dardistown) from Charlemont to Estuary just north of Swords. MetroLink will not only be used by people living and working along the line, but also those commuting from outlying towns. A multi-storey 3,000 space Park & Ride facility will be provided at Estuary station for passengers accessing MetroLink from outlying towns. Passengers will also be able to interchange with MetroLink at Glasnevin and Tara Street Stations. MetroLink will also serve passengers arriving at Dublin Airport providing quick access into city centre.
Download a PDF version of the route map above here.
View the MetroLink interactive route map here.
A full description of the MetroLink route can be found here.
MetroLink benefits include:
Click here to view our MetroLink Key Facts infographic.
MetroLink has been identified in a list of key projects in the National Development Plan 2021-2030. The project is strongly aligned with key government policies and objectives, both for Ireland and at EU level.
As with all projects of this scale the project must successfully pass each stage of the Government’s approval process. In July 2022, the MetroLink team welcomed the approval by Government of the Preliminary Business Case for the scheme. This approval allowed the MetroLink team to lodge a Railway Order / Planning Application for the scheme. Construction work can only proceed when a Railway Order for the scheme has been granted and Government approval of the business case has been received.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) applied for a Railway Order for the project on 30 September 2022. The planning process with An Bord Pleanála is likely to take 12-18 months to complete. Once an Enforceable Railway Order has been granted, work can commence on site. It is anticipated that the construction work will take between 6-8 years to complete.
The Luas and MetroLink systems are very different from each other and the systems are not connected. Luas trams will not be able to run on the MetroLink rail and vice versa.
The MetroLink scheme and the proposed BusConnects scheme will complement each other and when delivered will form part of an integrated public transport system which will ultimately lead to an increase in use across all public transport systems including buses.
A Dart Spur to Dublin Airport was considered as part of the Fingal / North Dublin transport study (2015). The study recommended a metro solution (MetroLink) as the preferred public transport solution for North Dublin.
In order to commence work on the project Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) require the necessary planning approval. In MetroLink’s case this planning approval is obtained through applying for a “Railway Order” for the scheme. TII made its application for a Railway Order on 30 September 2022. The supporting documentation accompanying the Railway Order application includes the following:
All of these documents and drawings together with any feedback / submissions received from the public as part of the statutory public consultation process will be reviewed and considered by An Bord Pleanála before a decision on the Railway Order Application is made.
The newspaper notice (17 September 2022) relating to the Railway Order Application can be viewed here.
The newspaper notice (25 November 2022) relating to the extension to the consultation period / submission deadline can be viewed here.
An oral hearing is a public meeting about an An Bord Pleanála case that anyone can attend, although not everyone can participate in the discussion. The purpose of an oral hearing is to allow further discussion and examination of relevant issues that may arise in a case before An Bord Pleanála.
The Board of An Bord Pleanála has the power to decide whether or not to hold an oral hearing in any case. Oral hearings are generally held for:
An Bord Pleanála will consider any submissions by any persons, made in writing from 7th October 2022 to 5.30pm on 16th January 2023 and accompanied by a fee of €50 in relation to the draft Railway Order, or in relation to the likely effects on the environment and the likely significant effects in the area concerned with European Sites if any, of the proposed railway works. This fee is not payable by certain prescribed bodies or by persons whose lands may be acquired under the draft Railway Order.
Submissions must be lodged no later than 5.30pm on 16th January 2023 and must be addressed to An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902 and marked “Railway (MetroLink–Estuary to Charlemont via Dublin Airport) Order 2022”.
Submissions can also be made on the An Bord Pleanála website at the following address: An Bord Pleanála | Observation on a Strategic Infrastructure Development Application (pleanala.ie)
The case reference number is 314724.
The statutory consultation closed on 16th January 2023.
Following the commencement of the Railway Order, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) may initiate the compulsory acquisition process. Given the scale of the project, there are a number of public and privately owned properties that will be impacted where the acquisition, whether in whole or in part, will be necessary. TII is authorised to acquire any rights in, under or over land or any substratum of land specified in the Railway Order.
View our Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) Guide which explains the CPO process in more detail.
A copy of the draft Railway Order and the documentation accompanying the application may be inspected free of charge during normal office or opening hours from 7th October 2022 until the 16th January 2023 at:
The draft Railway Order and the documentation accompanying the application may be viewed online at: https://www.metrolinkro.ie
The supporting documentation accompanying the Railway Order application includes the following:
The risk of significant damage to property during construction is extremely low. All structures that lie within the zone where there is considered to be potential for effects from the tunnelling operations will be carefully assessed for risk of damage. Surveys will be undertaken, protective measures will be developed for those structures likely to be affected and buildings will be monitored during and for a period after construction. If cracking or other effects occur suitable remedial works will be carried out. This is standard practice on tunnelling projects worldwide.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to address any damage that may be caused to property by tunnelling. TII is in the process of setting up a Property Owners' Protection Scheme (POPS) for residents that allows you to register your residential property with TII if it is within thirty metres of the edge of the MetroLink Tunnel Alignment (including properties along the R132 where Cut & Cover is proposed) or fifty metres of station structures.
TII do not intend to put in place a Property Owners' Protection Scheme for Commercial Properties along the MetroLink route. To protect commercial properties, TII contractors appointed to carry out the works will, with the agreement of the owners of such properties, commission chartered building surveyors to carry out a precondition survey of commercial properties.
In the event that it is determined that damage has occurred. TII’s contractor will be required to commission a follow up survey to confirm the extent of the damage and confirm if the damage has been caused by MetroLink works. Where property damage is confirmed to have been caused by MetroLink works the property concerned will have recourse to MetroLink project insurances.
There will be perceptible noise and vibration during construction. Noise and vibration impacts are assessed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for the project. The limits of noise and vibration are outlined in the EIAR and all contractors working on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) must work within these set limits. Strict controls will be in place to monitor our contractors’ performance during construction to ensure they are working within the limits set out in the EIAR.
You can view the MetroLink Noise Policy to learn more.
Some work, particularly on the tunnels, is likely to continue around the clock, both to achieve efficiencies and to keep the work safe at all times.
The normal working hours proposed are 7am – 7pm inclusive of a half hour to prepare the site in the morning and evening, giving 11 hours working between 7:30am - 6:30pm and 7am – 1pm on Saturdays including a similar half an hour for start-up and finish. Work outside of these hours would be by exception (e.g. large concrete pours that require a longer duration).
We do not believe the need for compensation will arise especially where no direct property acquisition impact is involved. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to provide alternative temporary accommodation for residents during specific construction activities, however this will only be necessary where it is not possible to mitigate the environmental impact of concern (noise/vibration). We expect that there will be very few occasions where temporary relocation during the works will be necessary.
It is not normal practice to compensate residents for disturbance caused by construction. Chapter 31 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) summarises the route wide mitigation measures and monitoring proposed to reduce the construction impacts.
A preliminary ground movement analysis has been carried out to assess the potential impact of tunnelling on all buildings including those built on poor / deep foundations. Our current analysis indicates that these buildings will not be adversely affected by the tunnelling operations. The outcome of the ground settlement analysis and any proposed mitigation measures are detailed in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and can be found in Appendix 5.17 (Building Damage Report).
This depends on the ground conditions and on the number of hours of tunnelling permitted per day. If construction is similar to Dublin Port Tunnel, you are likely to hear tunnel boring for a maximum of 3 weeks approaching a property and for 3 weeks going away from it.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) wrote directly to all householders whose property lies over the tunnel alignment. The Railway Order (RO) Application includes plans of the tunnel alignment relative to these properties. The RO alignment drawings can be found here and the RO property drawings can be found here.
The depth of tunnel varies along the route. In general the minimum depth of the MetroLink tracks is 20 metres below ground, giving a distance from the top of the tunnel of 15 metres to ground level. The final depth of the tunnels in any particular area is dependent on the detailed analysis of ground conditions.
MetroLink will have one tunnel, approximately 9.5m in diameter – 25% smaller than the diameter of one of the Dublin Port Tunnel tunnels. The tunnel is sized to accommodate the type of rolling stock which will be used.
St Stephen’s Green will be significantly enhanced by the proposed MetroLink station and will increase ease of accessibility to this important amenity for all of Dublin’s citizens and visitors.
Over 80% of St Stephen’s Green will remain open to the public during construction and the area required to build the station will be fully reinstated after construction.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is working very closely with the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in developing all plans for St Stephen’s Green.
A ventilation shaft is required at Albert College Park to circulate fresh air into the tunnel and extract smoke in the unlikely event of a fire.
The shaft provides the following functions:
You can read the Albert College Tunnel Intervention Shaft Technical Report to learn more.
Rodent control, good sanitation, disinfecting contaminated work areas, worker education via tool box talks and using personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling infected animals are important actions for prevention of Leptospirosis (or Weil’s Disease). While rodents will be temporarily displaced as a result of initial construction activities, there is nothing in the Construction Phase which would lead to an increase in the number of rodents.
It could be argued that with the rodent control policies in place, there will be a reduction in the level of rodents and the subsequent risk associated with Leptospirosis. Because there will be no increase in vermin numbers and more likely a decrease because of vermin control measures there will be no increase in vermin transmitted disease and no significant adverse effect on human health.
There was a very successful scheme in place for dealing with rodents and other pests in Luas Cross City and this will be replicated for MetroLink.
The contractor will be obliged to comply with strict environmental controls in order to mitigate any nuisance from dust on adjacent properties. This will include the development and implementation of a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) in accordance with ISO 14001, an internationally accepted standard for controlling environmental risk. The Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) will include a comprehensive series of mitigations which the contractor will be obliged to comply with, including covering of vehicles and use of wheel washing facilities. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) will monitor the contractor’s compliance with these requirements.
There will be traffic disruption during construction works and this is unavoidable given the scale of the scheme. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) has been working closely with the relevant traffic authorities, the bus transport companies and all key stakeholders to develop a Scheme Traffic Management Plan (STMP). This plan will seek to minimise traffic disruption during construction and will form part of the Railway Order application and Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for the scheme. During construction TII and NTA will also be consulting with local residents and business interests to develop traffic management plans aimed at minimising disruption. Innovations in this regard which were developed during the construction of Luas Cross City will be applied to this project.
The material removed from the tunnels will be disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner in accordance with the scheme waste management strategy. This strategy will be detailed in the Railway Order application and Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for the scheme.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has a large design team with a full range of specialists in all necessary disciplines working on the MetroLink project. Our engineers have designed tunnels in London which were constructed under highly sensitive Georgian buildings and buildings from earlier periods.
Experience from other cities where similar systems have been built suggests that the value of properties close to the line of a Metro (whether it is in tunnel or on the surface) will actually increase in value once a Metro is operational as a direct result of the improvement in the public transport system. This effect is likely to be greatest for those properties that are closest to the stations.
Every effort has been made to keep disruption generally to a minimum but some disruption to rail services is unavoidable as the project will create a significant public transport hub in Glasnevin. The new Glasnevin Station will significantly enhance the integrated public transport network by providing a connection between mainline rail services and Dublin Airport, Swords, Luas and Dart services and BusConnects. There will be a significant gain for passengers when MetroLink goes into service and the patience of customers will be appreciated as the works progress.
The MGWR mainline rail lines will be closed for 21 months as one long-term closure. As a result, the MGWR line commuters can either interchange to Luas at Broombridge Station or continue to Connolly Station for intercity trains, Luas and other local bus services.
Likewise, The Southwestern Commuter Line (Maynooth and Phoenix Park to Connolly) will also be affected. There will be a closure for a period of less than 6 months; the duration will be determined by the contractor and information will be conveyed in good time. It may be a shorter closure and every effort will be made to keep the closure as short as possible. The Southwestern Commuter Line will terminate at Heuston Station and passengers will have other local trains, Luas or bus services available to continue their onward journey.
Additional Iarnród Éireann passenger services will be provided at the time and both MetroLink and IE will work closely together to minimise the impact on passengers during the period. Additional Luas and Bus services will also be provided. Significant notice will be provided to all commuters in advance of these essential closures.
MetroLink Property Owners’ Protection Scheme (POPS) is a voluntary Scheme that allows you to sign up your residential property with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), if your property lies within thirty (30) metres of the MetroLink Route Alignment or fifty (50) metres of station structures.
TII has established a panel of three independent firms of building surveyors. When you sign up to the Scheme you will be invited to select your preferred firm from the panel of building surveyors. This firm will carry out an initial condition survey of your residential property before construction begins. After they complete this initial condition survey they will issue an initial survey report to you and TII.
After construction, a final condition survey will be carried out on your residential property by the firm of building surveyors you selected at the start of the Scheme. After they complete the final condition survey they will issue the second survey report to you and TII.
This Scheme will remain in place for twelve months after the opening of the MetroLink Line to passengers.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland is in the process of writing to eligible property owners in relation to the Scheme.
Learn more: MetroLink Property Owners' Protection Scheme
A condition survey is a photographic and written record of the condition of the property. It will identify general information, outline and comment upon the condition of and clearly highlight any particularly sensitive internal and external features of each property and any existing cracking or other damage.
Yes, there is no cost associated with joining the Scheme.
The surveys will vary in length depending on the size and nature of the property. However, it is not anticipated that the surveys will take more than an hour or two to complete.
The surveys will be carried out as close as possible to the commencement of construction. It is important to note that construction cannot commence until an Enforceable Railway Order is granted by An Bord Pleanála.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has established a panel of three independent firms of building surveyors following a formal tender process. The panel will be obliged to act impartially.
Should you wish to use a surveyor who is not on the panel, this would have to be at your own expense.
TII do not intend to put in place a Property Owners Protection Scheme for Commercial Properties along the MetroLink route. To protect commercial properties, TII contractors appointed to carry out the works will, with the agreement of the owners of such properties, commission chartered building surveyors to carry out a precondition survey of commercial properties.
In the event that it is determined that damage has occurred TII’s contractor will be required to commission a follow up survey to confirm the extent of the damage and confirm if the damage has been caused by MetroLink works. Where property damage is confirmed to have been caused by MetroLink works the property concerned will have recourse to MetroLink project insurances.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) recognise that residents’ groups may find that some aspects of the Railway Order process are quite technical and have set up a process to assist residents’ groups in interpreting technical designs, drawings etc. and formulating their responses.
The Independent Engineering Expert, which is funded entirely by the project, has been appointed following a competitive tendering process which included an independent member of the selection panel. RINA has a very strong track record of working across the globe on major transport projects as Independent Engineers.
RINA will review the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) on behalf of the residents’ groups and help the residents in preparing their Railway Order submissions.
The description of the services of the Independent Engineering Expert can be found here.
Residents’ groups have been contacted and invited to avail of this service.
The forecast of costs can only be established when the final arrangements for the project are sufficiently clear, and the design has been sufficiently advanced to allow a proper realistic assessment of the base costs. See Question 43 below where the whole area of costs and the approach of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and National Transport Authority (NTA) to providing a robust and reliable framework for dealing with the cost forecast of MetroLink is explored in detail.
MetroLink is categorised as a “mega-project” - a large-scale, complex venture that typically costs €1 billion or more; take many years to develop and build; involve multiple public and private stakeholders; are transformational and bring benefits to many people.
It is important before making a final decision to proceed with MetroLink that a robust cost forecast is developed. Cost forecasting for a one-off mega-project is a challenging process when taking risks and uncertainties into account. We must rely on valid and reliable data from past international projects. We will ensure that best practice is adopted for developing the final forecast cost ranges, rather than relying solely on conventional estimating methodologies.
In October of 2020, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) commenced a collaboration with Professor Bent Flyvbjerg and Dr Alexander Budzier.
With the assistance of Oxford Global Projects and access to its database of previous similar project outcomes, we will put in place a comprehensive approach to forecasting project costs. This will ensure that Government decision makers have the best cost forecast information available to them. When final decisions about the project need to be made, all of this information will be included in the business case.
It will take 25 minutes to travel from Swords to the city centre and 20 minutes travel time from the city centre to Dublin Airport.
MetroLink will run every few minutes from early in the morning to late in the evening, rather like Luas. The service is likely to commence at a peak frequency of every four to five minutes and increase as passenger demand increases to every 90 seconds at peak.
The fare structure will be a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) which regulates fares for all public transport providers. MetroLink fares will be set much closer to the time of opening.
MetroLink’s policy will not allow bikes to be carried onto the Metro carriages, the station and trains will be designed to accommodate bikes. However, this policy is subject to stakeholder consultation.
The system is capable of operating on a 24hr basis, however it is proposed the system will operate between 5.30am and 12.30am, 7 days per week.
MetroLink will ultimately have a carrying capacity of over 20,000 passengers per direction, per hour.
MetroLink’s primary objective is to provide a sustainable, safe, efficient, integrated and accessible public transport service between Swords, Dublin Airport and Dublin City Centre, forming a key spine of the proposed integrated public transport system for Dublin which includes Bus, DART+ and BusConnects projects.
There are no harmful health effects associated with the MetroLink power lines. In addition, the track and powerlines for MetroLink will be completely inaccessible to passengers and other members of the public, further increasing safety.
The impacts on human health from the construction and operation of MetroLink will be fully assessed and detailed within the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR).
The Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) considers the effects associated with operations. This includes the potential for noise and vibrations caused by the movement of metro vehicles. Where impacts are likely to be significant and where mitigation measures are required will be detailed in the EIAR.
You can view the MetroLink Noise Policy to learn more.