The National Transport Authority published their final Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy last week. It promises much in terms of Metro and Tram development and promises a revised DART Underground link, however there are key omissions, even after the extensive consultation period, notably;
- There will be no Heavy Rail link to Dublin Airport
- The Navan Rail line alignment is preserved pending a further review in the future
Irish Rail proposed to provide an electrified Heavy Rail link to Dublin Airport via a spur at Clongriffin. This project was estimated to cost about €200m and would have opened up the busiest airport on the island of Ireland to the Railway network. This proposal was rejected by the NTA in favour of providing a Metro to the Airport from the City Centre. This Metro would not connect with the existing Heavy Rail network.
The NTA have comprehensively ruled out any heavy rail link to Dublin Airport. In what can be only described as an astonishing response to David Franks, the CEO of Irish Rail, the NTA told Mr. Franks that:
“A rail connection to the Airport was considered as part of the analysis undertaken, but this was not the selected (option). In the light of the analysis undertaken, and the Government’s subsequent decision, there is no basis for seeking to reserve the corridor identified by Irish Rail for their proposal.”
Source: Consultation Submissions Report
So not only will the NTA not provide a Heavy Rail link to the Airport in the context of North Dublin commuting, they will actively stop any further development of the proposed line. In comparison the NTA have opted to preserve the proposed route of the Navan Rail line for five years. Given that the proposed route for the Dublin Airport link is on the flight path into the Airport it would not have taken a lot of effort for the NTA to also preserve the alignment to the Airport for future rail use. Why are the NTA going out of their way to scupper a future rail link?