TRAINS will run every two minutes between Dublin city centre and the airport when the €3bn MetroLink opens for business in 2027.

It will take 20 minutes to travel from the city centre to Dublin Airport, and the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) say the system will be capable of carrying 15,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

Details of the project have been revealed this afternoon, with planning permission expected to be sought in the third quarter of next year.

It will take six years to build the 26km line, which will run underground in the city centre, and a public consultation on the preferred route begins today(23rd March).

The project is essentially a re-working of the Metro North scheme, which was granted planning permission in 2010 but mothballed by the Government in 2011 when the financial crisis hit.

The NTA says that some properties and land will have to be acquired to build the scheme, which is designed to cater for future population growth in the capital.

The National Planning Framework says the city will grow by up to 25pc by 2040, resulting in a total population of 1.4 million for the Dublin region.

The NTA says that buses will not be capable of meeting the demand for public transport. Buses can carry 2,000 people per hour in each direction, compared with 7,000 for light rail such as Luas. MetroLink will carry 15,000.

The system begins at Estuary in north Dublin, where 3,000 park and ride spaces will be provided, running at street level and on an elevated structure until it goes underground immediately north of Dublin Airport.

It then runs underground with stops at the airport, Northwood, Ballymun, Collins Avenue, Griffith Park, Glasnevin – where it connects with Irish Rail services to Maynooth/Sligo and Hazelhatch/Kildare – the Mater, O’Connell Street, Tara Street (with connections to the Dart network) and a station on the east side of St Stephen’s Green.

It then continues underground to Charlemont, where passengers will interchange with the Luas Green Line to Broombridge. It then continues along the existing Luas Green line to Sandyford before turning back.

Luas services will continue to Brides Glen.

Twin tunnels are proposed, but this could be amended to a larger, single tunnel.

“MetroLink is Ireland’s largest public transport infrastructure project for many decades,” public consultation documents state. “As with all projects of this size and scale, it will bring numerous issues and challenges which need to be effectively and sensitively addressed.”

It adds that a number of residential and commercial properties will have to be acquired, with the number yet to be decided, and that the works will disrupt some Luas Green line services.

“Subject to receipt of planning approval, construction of the project is expected to commence in 2021 with MetroLink open for passenger use in 2027.”

Irish Independent