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Dublin Metro standards will be high, claim RPA

Nicola Cooke of the Sunday Business Post writes:

The operator chosen to run the planned Metro North system in Dublin will forfeit an annual fee of tens of millions of euro if it does not achieve the highest standards in the world in key areas such as passenger numbers, punctuality and breakdowns.

Documents sent to the four consortiums bidding to build and operate the 17-kilometre line from St Stephen’s Green to Swords specify that the network operator must achieve a minimum 85 per cent target across all key performance indicators, or its income for the year will be withheld. Industry sources said this would be the highest standard in the world for any new metro.

It is envisaged that up to 8,000 passengers will initially use the service in each direction per hour, but the specified requirement for Metro North is a capacity of up to 22,000 passengers per direction per hour.

The inclusion of shops or newsagents in some stations on the route is being debated. The tender documents also include specifications for the metro platforms and tram lengths. The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) wants platforms of 98 metres and trams that can run up to 90 metres. While the average tram carriage is 32 metres long, operators could opt to connect two or more 32-metre carriages – or two 45-metre tram carriages – for a higher capacity.

The metro carriages will be the same width as the existing Luas tram carriages at 2.4 metres, which means that the two types of carriages can be interchangeable. Tunnelling costs will also be less expensive than for wider trams.

Most metro systems operate two tracks in a single tunnel, but the Metro North will be built as two tunnels, similar to the Port Tunnel. While this is more expensive, it will mean that the whole network would not have to be shut down in the event of a fire or accident.

Recent metro systems in cities in Germany and France have cost about €35 million per kilometre built underground and €20 million per kilometre over ground. This does not include the cost of land purchase, operator costs or the rolling stock of ticketing systems.

Estimates for the total cost of Metro North – which has ten kilometres underground and seven kilometres over ground – range from €3 billion to €5 billion.

4 Responses to “Dublin Metro standards will be high, claim RPA”

  1. Disband the RPA already. Bad enough they’ve made a duplicate railway system that is not interoperable with, and cannot be readily converted to, DART; never mind building street-running in the busiest parts of the city. Now they want to make what is in effect a “subway-surface” tram system (to use the US term) that will, like Luas, be a victim of its own success and not be expandable. (If they need to run eight-car DARTs already, which close to 550 metres in length, what good is a puny 90-metre vehicle going to do? (The 40-metre Luas trams can hold what, 200 passengers? so we’re up to 400 passengers, when you need trains that have capacity for over 1,000 passengers?)

    What high standards. Not.

  2. Oh yeah…since this is a bus-oriented web site, just want to remind all that buses are 2.5 metres wide on average (the Atlanteans certainly were), so your 2.4-metre-wide trams are more cramped inside than a bus. One of the customary features of rail vehicles is supposed to be greater width than a bus, right? Most IE coaches (including DART) are on average 2.9 metres wide. (The Park Royals were 3.1 metres wide, which is approaching US loading gauge.) Lots of places running trams that are close to 2.7 metres wide, on standard-gauge tracks.

  3. PS. Before anyone decides to shoot me, the length of the eight-car DART I cited above should be 550 feet, not metres. (The length is close to double that of your “Metro” trains, though.)

  4. For some years all newly commissioned metro systems, and some existing ones like Paris, have been driverless because they have been shown to be more efficient. Will Metro North be driverless or will the unions insist that on the employment of unnecessary labour?

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