Expensive study of fantasy Luas line published

Consultants continue to swallow up our transport budget

The RPA have published a report explaining why a line it is proposing would cost lots of money, require the purchase of 10 buildings and 150 gardens and wouldn’t make enough money to justify itself (their criteria, not mine). To make matter worse, it would mean the removal of the Rathfarnham Quality Bus Corridor.

It’s bad enough that we have a situation whereby there are two state transport companies who do not get on with each other, and have to run to the minister every time one wants to play with the other’s toys. In addition to this, the fact that the RPA are bleeding money away with report after report on Luas lines that simply have no chance at all of ever being built is ridiculous. Forget the fact that everyone seems to think it is a bad thing that a particular mode of public transport wouldn’t make any money (public transport is not there to make money!), how about we use the money spent on these reports to build some proper QBCs instead of proposing to remove them.

If these routes justify a Luas, surely a far cheaper alternative is a segregated or part-segregated bus lane (i.e. expanding and augmenting the already existing QBC), with Luas style frequency of service. It would be a damn sight cheaper and could be up and running in no time.

Fiona Gartland of The Irish Times [subs required] writes:

A STUDY on a proposed new Luas line from Dundrum to Dublin city centre via Rathfarnham has found that delivery of its most feasible route would have “considerable adverse impacts” and would fall short of covering its operating costs by €2 million a year.

The Rathfarnham “E line” would also require the purchase of 150 private gardens and 10 buildings along the route.

The feasibility study, produced by the Railway Procurement Agency for the Minister for Transport, was presented to local representatives at a meeting yesterday. The 8.4 kilometre route “most likely to be feasible” begins at Christchurch and travels down Patrick Street and Clanbrassil Street before crossing the Grand Canal into Harold’s Cross.

The line includes a single track loop between Harold’s Cross and Terenure; the outbound track would travel down Brighton Square and on to Brighton Road and the inbound track would follow Terenure Road North, linking in with the outbound track at Rathfarnham Road. It would then travel on to Grange Road and Churchtown Road, terminating at The Oaks in Dundrum, where an interchange with the Luas Green would be built.

A section of the route which would have carried the line from Christchurch over O’Donovan Rossa Bridge to Constitution Hill at Broadstone on the north side of the city, was assessed as not feasible. The study found that there were too many engineering difficulties, including the vertical clearance for a tram at Christchurch Arch, the unsuitability of the bridge and the steep decline at Winetavern Street.

The “E line” would have considerable negative impact on traffic, the study found, and would require the removal of the Rathfarnham Quality Bus Corridor.

It also found that, based on current and projected population figures, passenger demand would not cover the running costs of the line and there would be a shortfall of €2 million a year.

Substantial property acquisition would be required: 150 private gardens would need to be purchased including some on Clanbrassil Street, Harold’s Cross Road and at the Terenure Cross and Brighton Square junction. Some 112 gardens along the Rathfarnham to Dundrum section would be affected, including 50 on Grange Road and Nutgrove Avenue. Some 10 buildings would also have to be purchased.

As part of the study, an archaeological desktop report found that any route section located within the city’s medieval town walls, “may have direct and indirect impact on a number of protected structures and national monuments, with an additional potential for impact on previously undiscovered archaeological remains”.

Fianna Fáil TD Chris Andrews welcomed the report, but said a lot more detail and consultation would be required before a final decision on the line could be made.

Fine Gael spokeswoman on transport Olivia Mitchell said she was “bitterly disappointed” that the study looked at only one route.

“The plan is to build a Luas network in Dublin, and expanding areas including Rathfarnham, Templeogue and Knocklyon should be serviced as part of the overall network,” she said.

One Response to “Expensive study of fantasy Luas line published”

  1. They finally figuring out that light rail isn’t the “inexpensive” alternative to putting one’s nose to the grind-stone and building DART underground?

    As far as bus lanes go, where’s the enforcement? That remains the weak link in the chain. And frankly, the way the traffic situation is going in Dublin, they’re going to need to start not only widening main roads, but also turning some of these main roads into one-way thoroughfares with designated routes inbound and outbound—and if such extremes are gone to, then you’re going to need a whole lot of contra-flow bus lanes, otherwise passengers are going to have a long walk between inbound and outbound routes. (But that’s perhaps a bridge too far.)

    (They keep talking about making the Maynooth line into DART; the time to do that was before they built the Luas Green Line on the Harcourt Street Line; that way, the Maynooth Line as DART could have gone onto the Broadstone Line, then underground to the Harcourt Street Line and on to Bray. LRT is not meant to replace heavy rail, especially upon former heavy-rail alignments. Plus, with the big rivalry between CIE and RPA, going to such compromise systems as “tram-train”—imagine being able to get on a Luas on Abbey Street and then continuing on to Howth on the DART tracks or something like that?—would never be feasible.)

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