A group of developers including Menolly Homes, Robert 'Pino' Harris, Eamon Duignan and John McCarthy are attempting to reroute the proposed Dublin-Navan railway line through land they own.
They hope to convince planners to route the line to the east of the fast-growing commuter town of Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, opening up 245 acres for residential development – the equivalent of around 2,470 houses.
This would increase the town's population from 3,384 in 2006 to around 15,000 by 2016, while the immediate rise in land values would give the developers' balance sheets an major boost.
The preferred route follows the path of the original railway, closed in 1963, which runs to the west of Dunshaughlin and is separated from the town by the M3.
The developers' proposal is almost identical to a route that was rejected by a previous Iarnród Eireann study because it would cost €55m more to build than restoring the old line, would attract reduced development contributions from builders and would entail added engineering challenges.
However, a consultants' report for the developers, seen by the Sunday Tribune, argues that, with minor modifications, the cost difference could be reduced to €17m.
It also states that, with the additional residential development, the rerouted line would provide Iarnród Eireann with higher passenger numbers than the old route.
"The additional 700 to 900 daily boardings achievable... providing a suitably located station at Dunshaughlin has the potential to increase the overall patronage by between 10.5% and 13.5%."
An Iarnrod Eireann spokeswoman said it was reviewing the report at the moment.