This is the first stage in the process of developing Metro North. This stage is concerned with the identification of broad route corridors and the principal destinations that Metro North will serve. The main vertical alignment alternatives: tunnel, viaduct or street level running, are also considered at this stage.
In late 2001, RPA appointed international consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff to carry out a detailed feasibility study for the proposed Metro North line identified in A Platform for Change. This study resulted in the identification of three route options for the Metro between the city centre and the Airport, two options for an Airport Metro stop, and two route options for the Metro between the Airport and Swords.
In November 2002, RPA advised Government of the options for a metro system serving these corridors. In response to Government concerns, initially with regard to the affordability of the scheme, and later with regard to the quality of interchange in the city centre, RPA considered alternative routes for the city centre section. Cost savings were achieved by straightening the route and thus shortening the length of tunnels; and by eliminating one of the proposed city centre stops.
Three options for interchanging with the DART at Tara Street: the D’Olier Street, Hawkins Street and Tara Street options, were developed. These alternatives removed a potential duplication with the proposed Iarnród Éireann Interconnector, and eliminated significant construction difficulties at Connolly Stop.
To facilitate consultation on the routes, the route options in each section were consolidated into three end-to-end route corridors, labelled the West Route, the Central Route and the East Route. However, some of the section options were interchangeable and the consultation documentation indicated that the final route selected may be a combination of the routes shown. Following the announcement of Transport 21 in November 2005, these three end-to-end routes were included in the Metro North route consultation map, published in February 2006:
The Central Route Option running from St. Stephen’s Green to the Mater Hospital via D’Olier Street and O’Connell Street before continuing north to Botanic Road and on to Dublin City University going above ground through Ballymun, northward to an elevated stop to the east of the Airport terminals, then running northwards via Airside Retail Park to Swords, Balheary (Estuary Road roundabout) and Lissenhall.
The West Route Option running from St. Stephen’s Green to Tara Street DART Station before heading in a westerly direction via Parnell Street to the old railway line at Broadstone. The route emerged from below ground at Broadstone, crossing over the Tolka Valley before going underground through Finglas and then crossing over the M50 and turning east overground through Sillogue and Metropark to the Airport. Following a proposed stop at Dublin Airport the West Route Option ran north via Airside Retail Park before serving Swords, Balheary (Estuary Road roundabout) and Lissenhall.
The East Route Option running from St. Stephen’s Green to the Mater Hospital via D’Olier Street and O’Connell Street before continuing north underground through Drumcondra surfacing after Griffith Avenue before Whitehall. It then continued north-easterly through Santry and Clonshaugh Road to an elevated stop to the east of the Airport terminals. From the Airport, the route continued north through Nevinstown, Swords, and Balheary (Estuary Road roundabout) to Lissenhall.
An additional route option was developed by RPA in response to public consultation. This route was a variant of the Central Route, merging two of the city centre stops and interchanging with Drumcondra station by following the East Route to Drumcondra before crossing back to rejoin the Central Route at DCU via a new stop on Griffith Avenue
The feedback from public consultation also led to other route options being considered: a variant of the East Route through Clonshaugh Industrial Estate with an additional stop at Kilmore (approximately 1km from Beaumont Hospital); a variant of the city centre route which proposed the relocation of the Upper O’Connell Street stop to the plaza of the Department of Education on Marlborough Street; and a variant of the city centre route which proposed an additional stop at Parnell Square.
This phase in the development of Metro North is now complete; click here to view the present phase of this project.