Work on the identification of route options for Luas Cross City began well in advance of the decision to develop plans for Luas Cross City. Resulting from this, the manner in which route options were identified for Line BX and Line D is more easily understood by considering each of the lines separately in the first instance.
In January 2005, following the opening of the Luas Red Line and Luas Green Line to passenger services in 2004, RPA undertook an attitudinal survey of Luas passengers and sought opinions on a cross city Luas line and views on possible station locations. The overwhelming response was one of strong support for a cross city Luas line which would link the Luas Green and Luas Red Lines.
RPA then set about the task of identifying possible route options for Luas City Centre (Line BX) with key considerations in mind which included length of route, journey time, trip attractors and generators, likely passenger demand, the operation of the line and environmental issues.
In November 2005 RPA launched a public consultation process focusing on Line BX. The process was promoted and facilitated by a mix of print and radio advertising, newsletter distribution and website communications along with Public Open Days and Displays and meetings with individual interested parties and groups. Members of the public were invited to comment on five possible route options from St. Stephen’s Green to either O’Connell Street or Marlborough Street which and been identified prior to the commencement of the consultation process and were also prompted to come forward with any alternatives or variants which they felt should be considered. Open Days were held in December 2005 and in February 2006.
During the course of the extensive pubic consultation campaign a sixth route option was identified. Following further assessment of the possible alignments, public consultation activities focused on two of these six options and an additional Open-Day centring on these two route options was held at the end of January 2007.
This first phase in developing Luas Broombridge (Line D), commenced with the identification of feasible route options within a study area from O’Connell Street to Broombridge via Broadstone and Grangegorman.
For the on-street section from the northern end of O’Connell Street to Broadstone, RPA identified two route options; connection options to Luas City Centre (Line BX); and options for crossing of Constitution Hill into Broadstone.
Route Option 1 (from O’Connell St to Broadstone) would run via Parnell Square West on to Granby Row, St. Mary’s Place North and Western Way.
Route Option 2 would run via Parnell Street on to Dominick Street Lower and Dominick Street Upper.
Two options to connect Luas Broombridge (Line D) with Luas City Centre (Line BX) were identified – a connection at the O’Connell Street Upper / Cathal Brugha Street junction or an alternative of extending the Luas City Centre (Line BX) single line loop to run along the full length of both O’Connell Street and Marlborough St and connecting at the O’Connell Street Upper / Parnell St junction instead.
As this would involve moving the east/west section of the Line BX loop from Cathal Brugha Street to Parnell Street the proposed stop in Cathal Brugha Street would be replaced by either a stop located in Parnell Street, east of O’Connell Street, or in Marlborough Street close to the Cathal Brugha Street Junction.
There were two Crossing Options for the crossing of Constitution Hill required to access Broadstone.
Crossing Option 1 involved a bridge over the road whilst Crossing Option 2 involved a ‘straight through’ crossing at road level similar to existing road junctions along the Luas Red Line and Luas Green Lines. Both of these crossing options are feasible with either Route Option 1 or Route Option 2.
North of Broadstone, Luas Broombridge (Line D) will utilise the disused railway cutting with stop locations, generally in the vicinity of Cabra Road and Fassaugh Road. The termination of Luas Broombridge (Line D) would include an interchange stop adjacent to Iarnrod Éireann’s Maynooth railway line and a depot for the stabling of trams. Provision has been made to enable a possible extension to Finglas at a future date.
Work on the selection of the best routing option for Luas City Centre (Line BX) began well in advance of the work on the selection of the best route option for the Luas Broombridge (Line D) section of Luas Broombridge (Line BXD). An outline of the manner in which route selection was progressed is more easily understood against this background.
After extensive public consultation exercises and consideration of responses from members of the public and interested parties on the proposed Luas City Centre (Line BX) and Luas Broombridge (Line D) route options, RPA evaluated the route options in each case against a number of criteria which included:-
In March 2007 RPA selected (a proposed alignment for Line BX via Parnell Street between O’Connell Street and Marlborough Street) as the Preferred Route Option, (Option F in the BX newsletter – January 2007).
Similarly in December 2008 RPA selected a preferred alignment for Line D via Parnell Street, Dominick Street Lower and Upper to Broadstone. (Route Option 2 in the newsletter –September 2008) as the Preferred Route Option- Luas Broombridge (Line D).
In December 2008 the Railway Procurement Agency merged the proposed Luas City Centre (Line BX) project and the proposed Luas Broombridge (Line D) project into a single project, which is now referred to as Luas Broombridge (Line BXD).
The Preferred Route Options identified for Luas City Centre (Line BX) and Luas Broombridge (Line D) formed the basis of the overall preferred route option for the combined single Luas Broombridge (Line BXD). In February 2009, RPA issued a letter to residents outlining the Preferred Route Corridor for Luas Broombridge (BXD).
The completion of the single line loop in the city centre will be achieved by moving the single line northwards from Cathal Brugha Street to Parnell Street
At Constitution Hill, the proposed manner of crossing from Dominick Street Upper to Broadstone will be by means of an at-grade solution with an open aspect to the stop location set in front of and a lower level than the existing Broadstone former station building.
The development of the proposed route options for Luas City Centre (Line BX) and Luas Broombridge (Line D) was the subject of extensive public consultation.
In February 2009, RPA issued a letter to residents outlining the Preferred Route Corridor for Luas Broombridge (BXD).
After selecting the best overall route corridor for Luas Broombridge (Line BXD), RPA now concentrated on engineering and architectural design focusing on determining the alignment of tracks, the location, layout and integration of stops, arrangements for access to off-street stops, road crossings and related structures and possible changes to kerb lines and road traffic flows and controls necessary to facilitate safe operation of Luas services and good engineering and architectural design.
In this respect and following further engagement with stakeholders RPA initiated a further series of public consultation open days at selected venues along the route corridor commencing in the early part of 2009. Further stakeholder consultation and the availability of detailed surveys resulted in subsequent relocation of the Phibsborough Stop from north of Cabra Road to between North Circular Road and Cabra Road.
A description of the proposed stop locations on Luas Broombridge (Line BXD) now follows.
St. Stephen’s Green
The existing St. Stephen’s Green terminus stop on the Luas Green Line forms the starting point for Line BXD. The stop’s platforms will be extended northward to accommodate the possible introduction of longer trams in the future. The same approach will be adopted with all stops on Line BXD. This stop will present excellent opportunities for interchange with the proposed Metro North and Interconnector underground stations which are being developed for St. Stephen’s Green.
The proposed stop on Dawson Street will comprise of a single southbound stop platform located between Dawson Lane and Nassau Street and close to Trinity College. The originally planned northbound (Broombridge direction) stop platform will not now be constructed as a result of a condition imposed by An Bord Pleanála in granting a Railway Order for the project.
Line BXD will cross the River Liffey from Eden Quay to Burgh Quay on the proposed Marlborough Street Public Transport Bridge. Trinity Stop forming part of the single track loop will be situated on the south side of College Street between D’Olier Street and College Green.
At College Green Line BXD splits into a single track loop arrangement encompassing Westmoreland Street/O’Connell Street/Parnell Street/Marlborough Street/Hawkins St and College Street. The first stop on the northbound single track loop section will be on Westmoreland Street. The proposed single platform will be located on the east side of the street between Fleet Street and Aston Quay and will offer good interchange opportunities with the Metro North O’Connell Bridge Stop southern entrance which is proposed to be located on the west side of Westmoreland Street. This stop will also provide convenient access to Temple Bar. Additionally, the planned future Luas Lucan (Line F) will be situated in close proximity on Dame Street.
O’Connell Street GPO
This single-track stop will provide convenient passenger interchange with the Luas Red Line at Abbey Stop on Lower Abbey Street and the proposed northern entrances to the Metro North O’Connell Bridge Stop. The stop’s single platform will be integrated into the centre median design and careful consideration will be given to the use of appropriate stop furniture in this sensitive and historic area.
Upper O’Connell Street
O’Connell Upper Stop, forming part of the single track loop, will be sited in the centre median on O’Connell Street close to the junction with Cathal Brugha Street. Again the stop design and its integration with its surroundings will be a key factor in the detailed design. This stop, like O’Connell Lower, will ensure convenient access to the surrounding retail districts.
Parnell Stop will be located on the north side of Parnell Street east of the junction with O’Connell Street Upper. The single platform will be located on a widened footpath between Parnell Square East and Parnell Place. Further interchange opportunities are offered with Metro North where the planned station will be located on nearby Parnell Square East.
Marlborough Stop will be located on the single line loop on the east side of Marlborough Street between Sackville Place and Lower Abbey Street. The proposed stop platform will be conveniently located close to the Luas Red Line Abbey Stop and the significant number of bus services that use Lower Abbey Street.
Proceeding north from O’Connell Street Upper, the proposed location for the next stop on Line BXD is on Dominick Street north of Parnell Street. This offers good access to the existing and planned local residences and the adjacent retail and commercial areas off Parnell Street.
Broadstone Stop will be in front of the existing Broadstone former station building although at a lower level. A carefully designed stepped arrangement will provide access to a future plaza in front of the former station building. This stop will also provide good access to the planned DIT single campus facility planned for the lands to the west and the general arrangement of the stop is being designed with this in mind as well as ensuring continued access to the existing nearby bus depots.
Grangegorman Stop is a future possible stop which will be built when and if demand from the Grangegorman development dictates. It would be located in the grounds of what is currently Broadstone bus depot at the western perimeter and accessed off Grangegorman Upper.
Phibsborough Stop is the first of two stops which will be situated in the old railway cutting that ran from Liffey Junction into Broadstone Station. It will be located between North Circular Road and Cabra Road in what is a narrow section of the old railway cutting. Access to the stop will be provided off both roads and will include a lift and stairs at both ends. Due to the narrow width it is likely that stop equipment such as ticket machines and ticket validators will be located at road level and that the equipment on the stop platforms will be kept to a minimum, new pedestrian crossings on North Circular Road and on Cabra Road will be provided to ensure safe access to the stop.
This stop will be located in the railway cutting and north of Fassaugh Road. Access will be provided via a stairs and ramp. A pedestrian crossing on Fassuagh Road will be incorporated in the proposals for this area.
The proposed Broombridge Stop will be well located to provide good passenger interchange with Iarnrod Éireann’s Maynooth main railway line. The design of the stop is being arranged such that a future extension north to Finglas is possible.
In addition to the location and detailing of stops, the design and layout of the support arrangements for the overhead wires has commenced. Supporting overhead wires generally involves, either pole supports or fixings to buildings. In the case of the busy pedestrian environment in the city centre, emphasis is being placed on the use of building fixings where possible. The design of support arrangements is ongoing.
In addition to the stops on the line, there will be a requirement to construct substations to provide power supply for Luas Broombridge (Line BXD). Two above ground substations are required; one at Broombridge, where a light maintenance facility for trams will be constructed and a second substation
In addition to the stops on the line, there will be a requirement to construct substations to provide power supply for Luas Broombridge (Line BXD). Two above ground substations are required; one at Broombridge, where a light maintenance facility for trams will be constructed and a second substation at Broadstone.
The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), on 24th June 2010, applied to An Bord Pleanala for a Railway Order for Luas Broombridge, St. Stephen’s Green to Broombridge, which, if granted, would permit RPA to construct, operate and maintain a light railway line between St. Stephen’s Green and Broombridge.
An Oral Hearing in relation to this application was held between May 18th, 2011 and June 1st, 2011. An Bord Pleanála granted a Railway Order on August 2nd, 2012. To access Railway Order documents please click here.
Luas Broombridge was one of the few projects to receive approval for immediate delivery following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in late 2011.
The documentation submitted with the Railway Order application includes the detailed drawings of the Luas Broombridge alignment, stops, structures and related property acquisition requirements. It also includes an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) setting out the effects of the scheme on the surrounding environment and mitigation measures as may be appropriate. The details of any property to be acquired for the implementation and operation of the proposed Luas Broombridge are also outlined in schedules attaching to the draft railway order submitted to An Bord Pleanála.
Opportunities were available for members of the public or any interested party to make a submission to An Bord Pleanála in relation to the proposed development of this new Luas alignment.
All works undertaken on the proposed Luas Broombridge will be in accordance with the approved plans and scheme drawings which will have involved several years of planning, design and consultation.
Preliminary work started in Summer 2013 following the Cabinet decision (November 27, 2012) to allow construction of Luas Broombridge to proceed. Transport Minister, Mr Leo Varadkar T.D. has asked the RPA and the National Transport Authority (NTA) to proceed with procurement and contractual arrangements to allow the project to proceed in 2013.
Following the granting of a Railway Order, RPA commencd the drafting of the necessary contracts and has proceeded with the appropriate competitive tendering processes. Contracts will be awarded with suppliers and service providers for the construction, operation and maintenance of the proposed line.