LUAS Point Extension Shots

A few pictures showing the progress of works on the LUAS tramway extension to Dublin’s Docklands and Point Depot / O2.

This work seems as if it has been going on forever, and yet wseems far less advanced than that on the Cherrywood extension, which was a much later and longer addition to the network.

All pictures taken Sunday 19th October 2008 – click on any picture for a larger version.

Tracklaying at Mayor St / Castleforbes crossing, looking east towards Point Village

Tracklaying at Mayor St / Castleforbes crossing, looking east towards Point Village

Looking west from Castleforbes, towards Spencer Dock

Looking west from Castleforbes, towards Spencer Dock

Looking east along Mayor Street, towards Spencer Dock

Looking east along Mayor Street, towards Spencer Dock

Mayor Street looking west towards IFSC

Mayor Street looking west towards IFSC

Based on the fact that trackbed construction is not complete, or even started in some areas, I would suggest it was be late in 2009 or into 2010 before services commence on this line extension.

Minister Dempsey on 2009 Transport Spending

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey (photo:

Ministers announce €3.6 billion for Transport (Budget 2009)
  • €1.27 billion on improved Public Transport
  • €2.1 billion on National, Regional and Local Roads
  • €40 million on Road Safety
  • €35m for Aviation Sector and development of Regional Airports
  • €48 million for improved activities of Coast Guard and Maritime Safety
Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD, today outlined plans for a €3.6 billion investment package in transport for the coming year following the publication of Budget 2009.
Speaking today Minister Dempsey said; “The €3.6 billion in this year’s transport budget underlines the Government’s continued commitment to investing in key transport infrastructure projects. A word class transport infrastructure is critical to our economy’s competitiveness. This funding will allow me to continue rolling out Transport 21 projects such as Metro North and the new Dart Interconnector, both of which will provide the backbone of an integrated public transport system for Dublin.

With this funding I aim to progress a variety of Transport 21 projects particularly in the area of public transport. Next year I also intend to continue rolling out our major interurban motorways which are now nearing completion.”
Speaking today, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Mr. Noel Ahern TD said; “A total of almost €40 million is being provided by this Government for road safety initiatives in 2009. This level of funding for the Road Safety Authority and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety will solidify the key role these organisations play in implementing the Road Safety Strategy. During the period 1997-2007 for example, we have seen deaths of our roads drop by 30% so this funding will help to augment this welcome downward trend.
The allocation of €48 million to maritime transport and safety will allow us to improve and modernise the Irish Coast Guard and continue to invest in maritime safety.”
The main transport programmes that Budget ‘09 provides for are as follows:
Public Transport – €1.27 billion
This will enable progress on a wide range of projects, including:
  • Luas extensions to Cherrywood, Docklands and Citywest;
  • Planning and enabling works on Metro North;
  • Planning works for the DART Interconnector.
  • Improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities;
  • The completion of the Middleton rail line
  • Phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry;
  • The construction of the Kildare Route project
  • Phase 1 of the Navan rail line;
  • The continuation of Iarnród Éireann’s railway safety programme;
  • The start of the Dublin city centre rail re-signalling programme;
  • Continued roll-out of new railcars on the intercity routes;
Other notable projects that will be continued into 2009 are:
  • The Rural Transport Programme (now operating in every county and will provide more than million passenger journeys in 2009)
  • The Green Schools Programme (targeting 140,000 school kids by providing walking/cycling/public transport alternatives to get to school).
Roads – €2.1 billion
Key national routes will be progressed as planned, specifically:
  • The major inter urban motorway connecting Dublin with Waterford
  • The major inter urban motorway connecting Dublin with Galway
  • The major inter urban motorway connecting Dublin with Limerick
  • The major inter urban motorway connecting Dublin with Cork
  • A dual carriageway road within Northern Ireland transforming access to the North West of the Island.
  • The Atlantic Road corridor
  • The M50 upgrade will be completed.
Over €600 million is being made available to local authorities throughout the country for the upgrade and maintenance of regional and local roads.
Road Safety – €40 million
This funding will be aimed at maintaining the downward trend in road deaths. Deaths on Irish roads have dropped by 30 per cent in the period from 1997 to 2007.
Maritime Transport and Safety – €48 million
This allocation will allow us to improve and modernise the Irish Coast Guard and maritime safety to meet the needs of a 21st century maritime nation.
Regional Airports/Aviation Sector – € 35 million
The Department has made provisions to meet contractual commitments on the various regional airport projects and our share of the cost of the City of Derry Airport development.

Budget 2009 – Transport Spending

Figures released by the irish Government relating to transport spending in 2009.


Gross Expenditure for the Department of Transport in 2009 is €3,613 million, a decrease of €160 million (€6 million Current and €154 million Capital) relative to the 2008 forecast outturn. The key policy measures and adjustments associated with these resources in 2009 and later years are as follows:-


· capital expenditure of over €900 million is allocated to fund public transport infrastructure. This is about €70 million less than the amount made available in 2008, but it is sufficient for progress on a wide range of projects, including:

Luas extensions to Cherrywood, Docklands and Citywest

improved bus priority measures in Dublin and the regional cities

the completion of the Midleton rail line and phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor from Ennis to Athenry

the construction of the Kildare Route project and phase 1 of the Navan rail line

the continuation of Iarnród Éireann’s railway safety programme

the start of the Dublin city centre rail re-signalling programme

continued roll-out of new railcars on the intercity routes

planning and enabling works on Metro North, and

planning works for the DART Interconnector;

· in addition, €338 million of current expenditure is provided for the operation of public transport services throughout the country. This is €6 million more than the 2008 provision.


· capital expenditure of over €1.4 billion is being made available to the National Roads Authority. This allocation is €157 million less than in 2008, and while progress on some projects will necessarily have to slow down, key national routes will be delivered as planned, specifically:

the major inter urban roads connecting Dublin with the regional cities of Waterford, Galway, Limerick and Cork by end-2010;

the M50 upgrade;

there will also be progress on other key national routes, including the Atlantic Road


· over €600 million is being made available to local authorities throughout the country for the upgrade and maintenance of regional and local roads;

· capital expenditure of €10 million is provided for additional carbon reduction measures to target climate change initiatives in the transport sector;

· as a start to the Government’s commitment to part-fund a dual carriageway road within Northern Ireland transforming access to the North West of the island, a capital provision of €13.5 million is being made available in 2009 towards the planning works for this project;


· provision for Regional Airports is reduced by €13 million to €11 million in 2009. Annual provision for capital investment in the regional airports is decided according to estimates of likely drawdowns in the year for specific projects. This can vary from year to year;

· overall, the reduced capital allocation for transport will require some rescheduling of projects. Such decisions will be taken by the Department of Transport and its agencies on a project-by-project basis, taking account of their assessment of priorities within the revised expenditure envelope;

· the impact of the reduced current allocation is being spread across a number of areas and principally involves reduced expenditure on road maintenance.

The Invisible Bus

Government just can’t see the bus as a transport alternative, and often, neither can the travelling public, even if it’s right beside them.

There is quite a debate over on Garaiste at the moment about bus-v-tram choices, especially on the corridor from Heuston station to the city centre. The thrust is that both officials, and often the travelling public themselves, often ignore the bus as a viable alternative for travel.

The picture above (click on it for fullsize version) was taken by me one morning at Heuston, when disruption to the Red LUAS line was causing long gaps in service. Passengers were crowding the platform and had been waiting for nearly 20 minutes, with no sign of a tram coming, and yet buses on the 90, 91 and 92 routes were coming and going behind them almost empty.

Look at the picture closely. See how intently the people are peering up the track, anxiously waiting to see if a tram will appear in the distance. if only there were some other way for them to get into town . . .

I actually submitted this photo to a display at a photo club at work, with the caption “It’s Behind You!!”

There is talk of the bus services duplicating the Red Line from Heuston being cut back, which would be a great pity, because it is always good to have an alternative.

The bus does seem to be almost invisible in the minds of the casual travelling public. I was listening recently to someone who works in a business in Loughlinstown advising someone how to get there from Bray.

“There is no public transport link, so you’ll have to take the DART to Shankill and get a taxi from there” they were told . . .

No mention of the 45, 145, 84 which between them provide direct links from most parts of Bray to outside the door of this business, and which provide a combined frequency of less than 10 minutes from the centre of Bray.

Likewise the oft-heard claim that “there is no public transport link to Citywest” when in fact the business park is linked by more than half a dozen bus routes, including city centre services, local routes, commuter services from Co. Kildare, and LUAS shuttles, operated by a number of different companies.

The bus can be a great transport workhorse, and a vital backup to rail services during times of disruption, but we have to think of a way of opening people’s eyes to the services that are already there.

Any ideas?

LUAS update (Cherrywood extension)

An update on the LUAS Green Line extension to Cherrywood in South County Dublin.

You can click on any photo to see the fullsize version.

Above is the new bridgework just put in place on the Brewery Road roundabout at Sandyford.

While we’re at it, let’s have a look at Brewery Road as it is now, compared to 28 years ago.

The upper of the two photos above shows the view at the top end of Brewery Road, looking towards the roundabout. Below is the exact same view taken in 1980 – note that despite the dramatic changes, the trees on the lefthand side have survived.

The lower photo shows how rural Brewery Road was in the early 1980s. The bus is a CIE bodied Leyland Atlantean “standard D”  (D396) of the type typical to the 86 route at the time (although this individual vehicle would more normally have been found on the 48A).

In those days the 86 still ran all day at a roughly half-hourly frequency, from Cabinteely to College Street.

The photo was not taken in the summer months – buses carrying the Mother’s Pride advert always had it replaced by an advert for Nimble “for summer slimness” in mid May, with Mother’s Pride returning in September.

Back to today, the above picture shows the extensive works on Ballyogan Road, the LUAS will run on the righthand side of the picture, while the greatly improved road will be on the left.

Glenamuck Road, seen from the bottom of the hill (i.e. the M50 is behind us) looking up towards the railway bridge. This road remains closed while the new bridge for LUAS is put in place, and the road itself is being totally transformed from narrow and twisty with no verge or footpath, to a much wider road with paths and cycle lanes.

Officially, Glenamuck Road is supposed to reopen to traffic on May 1st 2008, but I am not wholly convinced that the work can be finished in time. Here we see the new LUAS bridge which the road will run over.

Above the bridge, looking towards Carrickmines Cross, we can get an idea what the new road will look like when finished.

At Cherrywood, the major road crossing has now been put in place.

The end of the line, at Cherrywood Business Park, will see the elevated station named as Bride’s Glen.

Wide Open Spaces on the 161

Work on extending the “Green Route” westwards has transformed Fortification Hill, a formerly notorious stretch of road between Whitechurch and Grange Road.


Dublin Bus Volvo B7TL/ALX400 AV327 operating on route 161 passes along a new stretch of road on Fortification Hill, between Grange Road and Whitechurch. The bus is one of a trio of closed-top vehicles to wear the tours livery normally used by open-toppers – these 3 buses work normal service routes when not required foruse on the North Coast & South Coast tours. The livery itself is currently being replaced by a new two-tone metallic green treatment.

My previous posting about the Ticknock area and how much it has changed brought to mind another location nearby where a major transformation has just taken place – the small piece of windy twisty road linking Whitechurch with Grange Road, hemmed in between Grange Golf Club on one side, and St. Enda’s Park on the other, which rejoices in the rather military sounding name of “Fortification Hill”

This was always a terrifying piece of road, especially for bus-drivers, barely wide enough for two-way traffic, with high stone walls on both sides right at the edge of the road (no footpaths) and hilly blind corners. Passing a car and bus was bad enough, but when two buses or a bus and a truck met in opposite directions, progress could be inch by inch.

The major reconstruction that has just opened here took land from the Golf Club, and you would not recognise the stretch of road now – not only is it wide enough for two full traffic lanes, and two generous footpaths, but it has cycle lanes and even a buslane too!

Plus you can now see clearly from end to end.

The above picture is looking towards Grange Road, and the one below is looking down Fortification Hill towards Whitechurch, where the “Green Route” project has widened the to road onwards past Morton’s depot.


Ireland falls behind on LEZs

Despite a part-Green government, Ireland is falling behind Europe on the introduction of low emission zones.


Above: One of Bus Atha Cliath’s new EV type buses, compliant with Euro-4 emission standards


The recent introduction of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in London has prompted an article by my colleagues in Coach & Bus Week (CBW) looking at the growing number of LEZs throughout Europe.


What is very notable, apart from the high number of LEZs in some countries, is the complete absence of The Republic of Ireland from the list.


Given the presence of The Green Party in government, and the acknolwedged need for ireland to cut its soaring transport emissions, the introduction of LEZs in major city centres would be a smart move.


Both Dublin Bus (Bus Atha Cliath) and Bus Eireann have the majority of their fleets already to at least Euro II emission standards, and the high level of investment in new stock by private operators means that they are for the most part similarly compliant. The LEZs could act as a form of congestion measure, removing the older and more damaging trucks and small commercial vehicles (and maybe cars?) from our cities.


In addition to the new LEZ in London, CBW lists the following cities with LEZs:





København (Copenhagen)












Köln (Cologne)





Munchen (Munich)

















A22 Motorway

Ne therlands:




Den Bosch (s’-Hertogenbosch)

Den Haag








s’-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)











Göteborg (Gothenberg)





What kind of vehicle can drive into them?


All schemes except those in Italy (will) operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All schemes cover diesel heavy goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and most cover buses and coaches. The London scheme will cover vans over 1.205 tonnes (unladen) and minibuses with over 8 seats from 2010. The German schemes cover all vehicles except motorcycles, the Italian schemes include all vehicles – including motorcycles.


For more details, see the CBW website.

Glenamuck Road & LUAS extension

A look at some of the construction work along the Cherrywood LUAS extension.


Click on any thumbnail to see fullsize picture

Work continues at a great pace on the extension of the LUAS Green Line southwards to Cherrywood.

I took a trip around the area along with Donnybrook Observer on Saturday to look at the works, particularly around Carrickmines and Tully.

The picture above shows the construction of the new road bridge over the line on Glenamuck Road, where the old Carrickmines Station was located (incidently, this is still shown as a stage point on Dublin Bus route 63, 50 years after it closed!).

The road has been closed to traffic and the 63 rerouted for some months now as not only is this new bridge being constructed, but the entire road is being remade, and on reopening will no longer be the narrow twisty lane barely wide enough for two buses to pass – it will be full width road, with cycle-lanes and wide footpaths.

The diversion of the 63 is supposed to end in April, but as shown above there is still a lot to do, so I believe it will run on quite a bit longer.

Considerable drainage work will be needed here, where the trackbed of the old Harcourt Street line has been flooded for years, and the current works are surrounded by standing water.


Above is the same location, looking in the other direction, northwards along the old rail alignment where the LUAS line will run.


The works near Tully Cross, seen above, look interesting. the picture is taken from the tiny back road that leads off Brennanstown Road, up towards the ruined church and cross. We are looking northwest, towards Carrickmines.

At this location the old railway line ran through fields which for the most part still exist, and in theory construction here should be simple. However, as can be seen, a considerable cutting and roofing over of the line is under construction – presumably developments are to take place around and over the line at this point.



Finally, although not part of this stage of the LUAS scheme, work has already started on clearing trackbed for the extension on from Cherrywood to Bray. This uses the former Harcourt Street alignment for a short section across the old Cherrywood Viaduct, which crosses a deep valley known as Bride’s Glen. Tree cutting and preparing of the ground commenced a month or so ago, and here we are looking (through a secure fence) out onto the top of the stone viaduct. The power lines currently running across it will have to be removed I guess.