THREE NEW Luas routes to Saggart and Cherrywood in south Dublin and the docklands in Dublin city centre will open in the next two years.
However, a further four routes have been hit by the economic downturn, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey acknowledged yesterday.
Mr Dempsey said “the changed economic environment” meant a number of routes would not be meeting their Transport 21 deadlines, but he insisted they would ultimately be built.
In the meantime planning and design on these routes would continue, he said.
The Minister was speaking as he inspected the laying of tracks at Citywest as part of the Luas Red Line extension to Saggart.
A public-private partnership involving the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), Harcourt Developments and the Mansfield Group, the 4.2km spur from Belgard is due to open in early 2011.
The RPA said that the total cost of the line was €149 million, of which the private consortium was putting up “in excess of 50 per cent in terms of civil works, land and a defined monetary contribution”.
There will be five stops at Fettercairn, Cheeverstown, Citywest Campus, Fortunestown and Saggart, with a 310-space park-and-ride facility at Cheeverstown.
The layout of the Belgard stop is to be reconfigured to provide an additional track and associated platform alterations.
The RPA estimated an additional four million passenger journeys per year will be made on the Red Line as a result of the extension.
Speaking at the laying of track yesterday, members of the private sector partnership said they had been promoting the project since 2001.
They said trams would be running on the line by the end of next year, but a testing period would mean it would be 2011 before the line was open to the public.
The RPA said work was already under way on tram-testing of the docklands extension in the city centre.
However the agency said it had had “an exchange of views” with companies controlled by the embattled property developer Liam Carroll over signs erected on a bridge at Cherrywood which proclaimed the Cherrywood extension was opening this year.
RPA spokesman Tom Manning said it was not proposed to open the line in 2009, and the agency had asked the property developer to remove the signs.
“Thankfully they are now gone”, said RPA spokesman Tom Manning.
New routes: timetables
The three new Luas routes set to open in the next two years are:
Early 2010: a city centre extension of the Luas Red Line to the Docklands with stops at George’s Dock, Mayor Square, Spencer Dock and The Point.
Late 2010: an extension of the Luas Green Line from Sandyford to Cherrywood, near Loughlinstown Hospital in south Dublin. Stops will be located at Central Park, Glencairn, The Gallops, Lepoardstown Valley, Ballyogan Wood, Lepoardstown Race Course, Carrickmines, Brennanstown, Laughanstown, Cherrywood and Brides Glen.
Early 2011: the Luas Red Line extension known as Citywest in fact runs from Belgard via Citywest to Saggart. Stops include Fettercairn, Cheeverstown, Citywest Campus, Fortunestown and Saggart.