The Dublin Transportation Initiative (DTI) report of April 1994 included a wide-ranging set of recommendations aimed at realising clearly identified transportation, land use and environmental objectives for the Greater Dublin Area.
The report recommended the establishment of a three-line Light Rail Transit (LRT) system linking Tallaght, Ballymun and Cabinteely to the City Centre. The establishment cost was estimated at £300m.
In October 1994 the Government requested CIÉ to begin preliminary work on the establishment of the system. Reflecting the availability of funding, after careful study, the following phasing was recommended:
Phase 1: Tallaght to Dundrum/Balally via the City Centre
Phase 2: Ballymun to the City Centre and Dundrum/Balally to Sandyford
In July 1996 the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996 was enacted. This Act provided a legal framework within which CIÉ might apply to the then Minister for Public Enterprise for "Light Railway Orders" (LRO's) granting CIÉ powers to construct, operate and maintain light railways. The holding of a public inquiry in respect of each application was a mandatory requirement of the Act.
In May 1997 CIÉ submitted an application for an LRO for Phase 1 and the Government committed additional funding for the extension of the line from Dundrum/Balally to Sandyford Industrial Estate.
A public inquiry was opened in July 1997 but was adjourned pending the findings of a Government commissioned report on the option of constructing the system underground in the City Centre.
Consultants were commissioned in October 1997 and reported in April 1998. Their report concluded that a surface system would be the most appropriate and cost effective option in meeting the transport needs of the city and providing capacity to meet long-term passenger demands.
In May 1998 the Government decided to proceed with an LRT system comprising a surface line from Tallaght to Connolly Station (based on the CIÉ preferred surface alignment from Tallaght to O'Connell Street) and a line from Sandyford Industrial Estate to Ballymun and Dublin Airport using the Harcourt Street and Broadstone disused railway alignments. The Government also decided that a section of the LRT system would run underground in the City Centre between St. Stephen's Green and Broadstone.
In line with the Government's decision, CIÉ withdrew the application, which it had submitted in respect of a line from Tallaght to Dundrum/Balally, and a subsequent application, which it had made in respect of an extension from Dundrum/Balally to Sandyford Industrial Estate.
The CIÉ Light Rail Project Office now set about implementing the plan for the first phase of the Luas in line with the Government's decision of May 1998.
In July 2000 the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment announced that the Government had approved in principle the development of a Metro system on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The Minister also confirmed that the St. Stephen's Green to Sandyford Industrial Estate Line was to be constructed in accordance with the Light Railway Order made in 1999 and, in time, would be integrated with the Metro system.
In October 2000 the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) published "A Platform for Change - Outline of an integrated transportation strategy for the Greater Dublin Area - 2000 to 2016 " incorporating Luas and Metro lines, the latter as previously announced.
The DTO strategy provides an overall planning framework for the development of the transport system in the Greater Dublin Area and the Government has confirmed that it accepts the broad thrust of the strategy. Some of the Luas lines incorporated in the DTO strategy are currently being constructed or are at planning stage. Other Luas lines and the Metro system must now be taken through a detailed planning process involving, as appropriate, route selection, public consultation, technical feasibility studies, economic and environmental evaluations, detailed design and statutory approval procedures.
In December 2001 the Transport (Railway Infrastructure) Act, 2001 was enacted and the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act, 1996 was repealed. The new Act contains provisions similar to the repealed act in respect of Luas and Metro systems, facilitated the exploitation of the benefits of Public Private Partnerships (PPP's) in developing Luas and Metro systems and provided for the establishment of Railway Procurement Agency as an independent statutory agency responsible for the procurement of railway infrastructure systems.
On 28 December 2001 RPA was established. RPA has since subsumed the role of the former CIÉ Light Rail Project Office. The first RPA board meeting was held in January 2002.
In February 2002 the Minister for Public Enterprise announced that Connex was the preferred bidder for the LUAS operator franchise.
In May 2002 RPA entered into a five-year contract with Connex Transport Ireland to operate and maintain Luas. Connex is part of a French infrastructure and environmental services group with extensive experience in operating public transport systems. RPA also entered into a fifteen-year contract with Alstom Transport S.A. to maintain light rail vehicles. This contract was novated to Connex Transport Ireland Limited in April 2004.
In October 2003 the first gauge runs from Red Cow Depot to Tallaght Stop (Red Line) was completed, successfully.
In February 2004 the Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan, witnessed the first gauge run of the tram over the new Taney bridge at Dundrum. The then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Royston Brady, was on hand to witness the laying of the last piece of track for the entire system which took place at Connolly Station.
In March 2004 the first gauge runs from Sandyford Industrial Estate to St. Stephen's Green (Green Line) and Red Cow to Abbey Street (Red Line) were completed. The intensive period of testing and trial running began on April 26th 2004. Tram movements became a familiar sight on the streets of Dublin as the system began the ramping up period. RPA embarked on an extensive safety awareness campaign which matched that of any similar system in Western Europe. A highly successful Safety Awareness Day was held in Abbey Street on June 11th 2004 at which several thousands of Dubliners got their first glimpse inside the tram.
In May 2004 Scheidt & Bachmann were awarded the contract for the Automated Fare Collection System.
June 30th 2004 was decided as the launch date for the Green Line and it was decided that the occasion would be marked with several free days and a family-based fun weekend. The Green Line went into public service at 3pm on Wednesday June 30th 2004 following an opening ceremony in Sandyford Depot.
In September 2004 the new Luas line (Red Line), which links Connolly Station with Tallaght, was officially opened by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern T.D. There was 6 days of free travel on the line, which was open to all from September 26th 2004.
Luas and Transport 21
On November 1st 2005 the Minister for Transport, Mr. Martin Cullen T.D., unveiled the Government's National Transport Investment Plan (Transport 21) in Dublin Castle. Transport 21 called for numerous extensions to the Luas network which the RPA have started to develop.
Click on the links below for more information on Luas Developments
- About Luas Line A1 Extension to Citywest
- About Luas Line B1 Extension to Cherrywood
- About Luas Line B2 Extension from Cherrywood to Bray
- About Luas Line C1 Extension to Docklands (The Point)
- About Luas Line BX City Centre Link-Up
- About Luas Line D Extension from City Centre Link-Up to Grangegorman
- About Luas Line F New Luas Line to Lucan