Last updated 13th November 2003
Dublin Light Rail System
Chronology of events
Based on articles by MJ Walsh in Light Rail & Modern Tramway,
[Kilroy 1996], [Kilroy 1998], [Hajducki 1974], press reports and information
provided by Light Rail Project Office.
Luas Development - Future Timetable
- First railway opened in Dublin between Westland Row and Kingstown (now Dun
- George Francis Train attempts to start horse tramway
- 1 Feb 1872
- Dublin Tramway Company opens horse tramway from city centre to Rathgar.
Other lines follow run by Dublin Central Tramways, North Dublin Street
Tramways, Dublin Southern Tramways, Blackrock & Kingstown Tramway.
- Opening of interurban Dublin and Lucan steam roadside tramway, later
extended to Leixlip.
- 1881- 1893
- Dublin United Tramways formed through amalgamations of existing systems.
- Opening of Dublin and Blessington roadside steam tramway, later extended
- 1896 - 1901
- Electrification of horse tram routes
- Opening of scenic Hill of Howth tramway in NE Dublin by Great Northern
- First proposals to electrify Dublin suburban rail
- Dublin trams reach Lucan through take-over and re-gauging of Dublin and
Lucan Tramway. Last extension to 61 mile system.
- Closure of Dublin and Blessington steam tramway
- Formation of Coras Iompair Eireann (CIE), national transport company,
including Dublin tramways.
- 9 July 1949
- Closure of last city tram route
- 31 Dec 1958
- Harcourt Street - Bray railway closes ( from 2003 to reopen as Luas line
- 31 May 1959
- Closure of Hill of Howth tramway. Last tramway in Ireland.
- Dublin Transportation Study recommends establishment of a rail study.
- Dublin Rapid Rail Transit Study (DRRTS) published recommending city-centre
underground rail lines connecting with existing lines, disused lines and new
spurs to suburbs. An underground central station would be at the hub.
- First phase of DRRTS, electrification of existing Howth to Bray line via
- 23 July 1984
- Opening of Howth-Bray line as Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART)
- Government decide against any further railway electrification in Dublin
due to the cost
- Alternative light rail schemes proposed for Dublin by Ansaldo Engineering
and Irish Rail with city-centre street running.
- Nov 1991
- Dublin Transport Initiative (DTI) set up to address transport problems of
- 6 Feb 1992
- Minister announces disused Harcourt Street to Bray railway to be used for
guided bus or LRT system
- DTI recommends construction of a three line light rail system linking
Tallaght, Ballymum and Dundrum/Cabinteely to city centre incorporating new
alignments and on-street track plus the Harcourt Street line.
- Oct 1994
- Government requests CIE plan implementation of LRT system in two phases:
- Phase 1: Tallaght to Dundrum via city centre using new alignments and
disused Harcourt Street railway line.
- Phase 2: Ballymum to city centre and Dundrum to Sandyford
- 12 Dec 1995
- Announcement of go-ahead for Phase 1 of system, part funded by EU
- July 1996
- Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act enacted. Environmental Impact Statement
prepared for Phase 1.
- Light Rail Order application made for Phase 1.
- July 1997
- Public enquiry into Phase 1 opened but adjourned pending results of study
into underground option promised in election campaign.
- Oct 1997
- Government commissions evaluation of underground v surface options in city
centre from WS Atkins.
- April 1998
- Atkins Report published recommending the surface Luas as proposed by CIE.
- 5 May 1998
- Government announce
decision to proceed with a redesigned and extended Luas network including
links to all main railway stations and the airport and including an
underground section on one line in city centre.
- Line A: Tallaght to Connolly Station on surface
- Line B: Sandyford to Airport largely via disused railway alignments
and underground section in city centre
- Future extensions to other suburbs also identified.
- July 1998
- Minister announces task force (Light Rail Advisory Group) to be set up to
oversee delivery of system
- Application for Light Rail Order made for Line A from Tallaght to Abbey
Street in city centre
- 2 Nov 1998
- Public enquiry opens into new Line A plan chaired by Judge Seán O'Leary
- 14 Dec 1998
- Application for Light Rail Order for Line B from St Stephen's Green to
- 22 Dec 1998
- Public enquiry gives go-ahead for Line A with minor conditions
- 13 April 1999
- Opening of public enquiry into Line B Phase 1
- May 1999
- Decision to proceed with Line A made by government
- June 1999
- Public enquiry gives go-ahead for Line B with minor conditions
- 22nd July 1999
- First report of Light Rail Advisory Action Group says development of
system is more-or-less on schedule and rejects idea of financing Luas through
a public-private partnership because of the potential delay involved. Also
suggests opening of shortened services before completion of full lines.
- August 1999
- Decision to proceed with Line B by government
- 19th August 1999
- Pre-construction work starts on Line A (moving utility cables etc.)
- August - December 1999
- Exploratory drilling for underground section of Line B
- September 1999
- Application for Light Rail Order for Line C to Connolly Station
- December 1999
- Public enquiry into Line C
- January 2000
- Publication of enquiry into Line C accepts most of route but rejects
proposed site of terminus in Harbourmaster Place
- February 2000
- Consultants report that, from test drilling, they conclude an underground
route through the city centre is feasible.
- April 2000
- Strategic rail reviews for Dublin area by Dublin Transportation Office
suggest that Luas Line B should be upgraded to a heavier Metro line, linking
to an airport rail line. Also suggests two new surface light rail lines: from
Harold's Cross through city centre to Drumcondra and an orbital line through
Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Blanchardstown to Airport. In a separate move,
the government proposed splitting up the Dublin Bus, provincial bus and rail
sectors of CIE into separate private companies. Luas Light Rail could be run
as a separate entity in this proposal.
- May 2000
- Independent consultants commissioned to study rail proposals for Dublin.
- June 2000
- Revised application submitted for Line C has new Connolly Station terminus
on site of station ramp.
- August 2000
- Government accepts proposals for a Metro system
- September 2000
- Public enquiry into revised Line C application held and accepts new
- November 2000
- Public consulatation starts into extension of Line B south from Sandyford
- Authorisation of Line C extending Line A to Connolly Station
- December 2000
- Government outlines plans to end CIE's monopoly on public transport
including the setting up of a Rail Procurement Agency and open competition for
franchises to run Luas and Metro system.
- January 2001
- Competition opened for bids to run Luas system. CIE is not allowed to
- February 2001
- Government consultation paper proposes setting up an independent Rail
Safety Authority which would apply to Luas, Metro and heavy rail.
- March 2001
- Contarct for construction of first two Luas lines awarded to Ansaldo
(Italy) and MVM (Australia) with Ballast Nedam.
- 21 May 2001
- Public launch of first Luas tram at UITP conference in Earls Court, London
in a lilac and yellow livery.
- July 2001
- Completion of Line A depot buildings at Red Cow.
- October 2001
- Commencement of building depot at Sandyford (Line B)
- 3 Nov 2001
- Public launch of first Luas tram in Merrion Square in Dublin.
- University College requests a 1km spur from Luas line 2 to their Belfield
- Dec 2001
- Bill published setting up Rail Safety Authority.
- Rail procurement Agency established to deal with future expansion of Luas,
Metro and other rail projects.
- January 2002
- Cabinet approves Metro line 1 from Airport and Blanchardstwon to
Shanganagh with underground city-centre section and incorporating Luas line 2.
Metro could open in 2007. Call for tenders for Metro construction issued.
Future timetable (very tentative)
- July 2004
- Opening of Line B for public service.
- August 2004
- Opening of Line A/C for public service.
- Opening of Metro line 1 to airport.
- Completion of 5 Luas lines and 3 Metro lines as set out in Platform for
Walsh, MJ: Light rail for Dublin? part 1, Light Rail and Modern
Tramway, 56 (666), 143-150, June 1993.
Walsh, MJ: Light rail
for Dublin? part 2, Light Rail and Modern Tramway, 56 (668),
199-205, August 1993.
Hajducki,SM: A Railway Atlas of
Ireland, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1974.
Trams in Colour since 1945, Blandford, London, 1970.
J.: Irish Trams, Colourpoint, Omagh, 1996.
Trams to the Hill of Howth a pictorial tribute, Colourpoint,
Corcoran, Michael : Dublin's trams: Through Streets
Broad & Narrow, Midland, 2001.
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