Irish Railway Record Society
the obvious differences between the two lines of the Luas network in their
geographical, environmental and geometric characteristics, they share the same
basic track design standards. The network uses two different types of rail, the
S49 Vignole railway rail and the Ri59 grooved tramway rail. These are laid in a
variety of ways:
Ballasted track: this comprises S49 Vignole rail fastened to 2,200mm long
concrete sleepers set at 650mm centres. The sleepers are supported by locally
sourced crushed igneous rock ballast;
Traditional track: also comprising S49 Vignole rail, this time fastened
to discrete, resiliently mounted concrete blocks. The blocks are set into a
reinforced concrete trackbed;
Embedded track: consisting of Ri59N grooved rail, which is cast into a
reinforced concrete trackbed. The rail is factory coated in a 15 mm thick layer
of polymer to give primary protection against stray current leakage and also to
provide noise and vibration damping. A variety of surface finishes, including
granite setts, pattern imprinted concrete, asphalt and grass, are applied as
appropriate to the surrounding environment.
minimum track separation is 2,900mm with side overhead line equipment (OHLE)
poles or 3,300mm where there are centre poles. In non-segregated areas the
twin-track width requirement is at least 6,200mm.
turnback facilities are provided at the termini and at Heuston station.
Additional emergency crossovers are provided at a limited number
have been standardised at 25m and 50m. Only route setting turnouts, which face
the direction of travel, are motorised. All facing turnouts are fitted with
indicators for safety reasons.
Luas network will not have signalling in the conventional railway sense. In
general, trams will be driven on a line of sight basis, as with any other road
vehicle. Special tram signals will be provided where there is a conflict with
other road users, e.g. at road crossings, or where different tram movements
might conflict. The tram signals will exhibit a horizontal white bar for stop, a
vertical white bar for proceed if safe to do so and a small cross for stop if
safe to do so. Tram signals and conventional traffic lights will be operated by
the same signal controller at each location. There are a total of 48 signalling
installations on the two lines being constructed.
The two-year long Phase 1 preparatory work for the Luas project has been
successfully completed. The work, which included utility diversions and some
significant civil engineering works, was carried out under the direction of the
RPA, who undertook the legal duties of Project Supervisor for Design and
Construction. Some 232 km of pipes and ducts were diverted during Phase 1 work.
mark the successful completion of the work, the RPA has published a report on
the accident and incident frequency associated with the Luas construction works.
This shows that: there were no fatalities associated with the works; there have
been no statutory enforcement actions against the works; the accident frequency
rates were at worst 50% lower than the national average, with most contractors
even better than this; and that nationally, fatalities and all reportable
accidents are declining steadily, with Ireland improving on UK rates for the
The RPA expects that all trackwork on Lines A, B and C/C(s) will be in
place by Christmas 2003.
A (Tallaght-Abbey Street Middle)
1 (Tallaght-Embankment Rd)
Track laying at the Tallaght terminus, adjacent to ‘The Square’
shopping centre, has been completed. Some residual finishing work remains to be
finalised, including the surfacing of the platforms at the Tallaght stop.
platforms at the Hospital, Cookstown and Belgard stops have been completed and
surfaced, with equipment such as security cameras and loudspeakers having been
installed. OHLE has been erected from the start of the line in the Old
Blessington Road to just before the grade crossing at Sylvan Drive. The short
section of OHLE across the Sylvan Drive grade crossing has yet to be installed.
2 (Embankment Rd-Red Cow Depot)
The platforms at the Kingswood stop have been completed and surfaced.
Security cameras and loudspeakers have been installed. Track laying has been
completed through the Red Cow stop and up to the boundary of the depot site. The
platforms at the Red Cow stop have been completed and work is in progress on the
construction of the large Park+Ride site to be located here.
3 (Red Cow Depot-Davitt Rd) Track
laying has been completed through the grade crossing across the off-ramp from
the M50 and is in progress on the ‘tram bridge’ over the motorway. Track
laying is also in progress through the grade crossing across the M50 on-ramp and
has been completed across the outbound carriageway of the N7 Naas Rd.
work and OHLE is in place along the median of the Naas Rd from the Red Cow
roundabout to the Old Naas Rd junction in Bluebell. From Bluebell to the
junction with Davitt Rd the line is virtually complete, with the final section
being laid at the end of August. Landscaping along the median of the N7 has
4 (Davitt Rd-Grand Canal View) Track laying has been completed along the length of
Davitt Rd, from the junction with the Naas Rd to the Junction with Suir Rd. At
the end of August, track was being laid through the Suir Rd. grade crossing and
across the bridge spanning the Grand Canal.
14 May, contractor’s staff working on the Luas project damaged the ESB
Inchicore-Poolbeg 220 kV cable on Davitt Road and disrupted power supplies for a
short period. Two of the workers suffered burns and were hospitalised.
Investigations into the incident were conducted by the ESB and the Health &
5 (Grand Canal View-Seán Heuston Bridge) Track
laying has been completed from the foot of the ramp of the Grand Canal bridge to
the junction of James’s St and Basin St. The section through St James’s
Hospital grounds is carried on a floating slab to minimise the transmission of
noise and vibrations to adjacent buildings. The construction of the platforms at
the stop at the entrance to the hospital has commenced.
construction is well advanced where the line turns northward from James’s St
into Steven’s Lane. In Steven’s Lane, the inbound track is complete, with
the exception of a small section at the entrance to St Patrick’s Hospital. The
outbound track is being laid from the Bow Lane junction to the hospital
entrance. New traffic islands are being constructed on St John’s Rd West.
on the underground electricity sub-station at Heuston is substantially complete.
Construction of the trackbed in front of the station has commenced. Heuston
Bridge reopened to pedestrians in May, but track laying has yet to start.
6 (Seán Heuston Bridge-Abbey Street Middle)
works are in progress where the alignment crosses Wolfe Tone Quay. In Parkgate
Street, track laying is well underway, while work in Benburb St is largely
complete, with the track being finished with a pattern imprinted concrete
surface. The platforms at the Museum stop remain un-surfaced.
works in Queen St have commenced. The section of track through Smithfield,
linking the east end of Arran Quay Terrace with Phoenix St North, has been laid
and surfaced with granite setts. The platforms at the Smithfield stop have been
surfaced and work is in progress on the construction of a plaza between the line
and Phoenix St North. Trackbed works in the ‘tram street’ linking Bow St to
Church St are well advanced and are underway in the section of Chancery St east
of Chancery Place and in Mary’s Abbey.
laying has begun in Abbey St Upper. Track is in place from the junction with
Jervis Lane to the Marks and Spencer goods entrance. Trackbed construction works
in Abbey St Middle are well advanced, as are roadway and footpath reinstatement.
B (St Stephen’s Green-Sandyford)
7 (St Stephen’s Green-Charlemont Place)
Construction of the electricity sub-station opposite the Stephen’s
Green Centre is virtually complete, with the installation of equipment to be
undertaken. Trackbed excavation has commenced on St Stephen’s Green West, with
work in progress from the sub-station site to the junction with Harcourt St /
Cuffe St / St Stephen’s Green South.
Harcourt St, trackbed construction is virtually complete between the junctions
with Cuffe St / St Stephen’s Green South and Hatch St. Track laying is in
progress between Clonmel St and Stable Lane. Between the junctions with Hatch St
and Adelaide Rd, trackbed construction works commenced in mid-August.
had originally been intended that utility companies, such as Bord Gáis, ESB
etc., would be able to access their pipes and cables without interfering with
the Luas lines. However it has now emerged that the tracks in Harcourt St have
encroached into the safety zone for a major underground cable and that the
chances of the line having to be close to allow maintenance work be carried out
by the ESB have increased.
Adelaide Rd, trackbed construction works were also commencing in mid August,
while in Peter Place work is continuing on laying the inbound track from the
junction with Adelaide Rd to the foot of the ramp that will take the line from
ground level to the bridge over the Grand Canal. Track laying on the ramp has
not yet commenced.
to the Charlemont stop from the northern side of the Grand Canal will be by two
flights of stairs, one to each platform, situated between the canal and
8 (Charlemont Place-Milltown Viaduct)
the south side of the canal, the access to the platforms will be by stairs and
lift and these, along with the electricity sub-station are substantially
complete. To allow for increased headroom clearances under the bridges at
Dartmouth, Northbrook, Ranelagh and Charleston roads, the trackbed along the
embankment section southwards from Grand Parade was raised by between 1 and 3
metres. The new trackbed is being faced with modular concrete units, the outer
surface of which is textured to replicate the original embankment walls.
on the new stop at Ranelagh is progressing well, with the structure starting to
laying has been completed from just south of the Ranelagh stop to the northern
end of Milltown viaduct. The ‘traditional’ track ends just before the
Dunville Avenue level crossing. There is a short section of ‘embedded’ track
through the crossing and the platforms of the adjacent Beechwood stop, where
construction of a small kiosk on the inbound platform has commenced.
track starts at the south end of the platforms at the Beechwood stop. It had
originally been intended that there would be a turnback siding here, but this
has been replaced by a trailing emergency crossover. At Cowper stop, the
platform structures are in place but, as yet, surfacing work has yet to start.
Surfacing of the platforms at the Milltown stop is well advanced.
the end of August, the line’s on-track maintenance equipment was stabled
immediately north of the Milltown stop. This equipment comprised a ballast
tamper built by Fairmont and bearing the serial number RM3594406; a ballast
regulator built by Comeng in Australia and a large bogie hopper wagon. The
tamper had been sent to Ireland by MVM in the Philippines.
9 (Milltown Viaduct-Balally)
A short distance beyond Milltown stop, the line will pass over the
impressive ‘Nine Arches’ Milltown viaduct. Work on refurbishing the viaduct
structure has been completed, with a new concrete base for the trackbed having
been laid and new railings erected on top of the parapets. South of the viaduct
there is a works compound and sub-station. Beyond this the track resumes, but
remains to be aligned and tamped as far as the stop at Windy Arbour.
platforms at the Windy Arbour stop are virtually complete. South of the stop,
track laying is complete as far as ‘The Oaks’. OHLE supports and
cantilevers, but not the contact wire, have also been erected. Track laying
across the Taney bridge has yet to commence.
earthworks and retaining wall construction have taken place in the cutting
southwards from Dundrum towards Balally. Track laying, starting with the
outbound line, has begun in this section. The parapets of the Kilmacud Rd Upper
bridge have been raised and the erection of OHLE supports has commenced.
C/C(s) (Abbey Street Middle-Connolly Station)
11 (Abbey Street Middle-Store Street) Trackbed
construction in Abbey Street Middle is largely complete, except at the exit from
Arnotts car park. Track laying is underway from outside the Independent Group
offices to the junction with O’Connell St. Trackbed construction through the
Abbey St/O’Connell Street junction commenced in mid-May and is well advanced.
construction is in progress along the length of Abbey Street Lower, including
through the junction with Marlborough Street, where one half of the road is
being closed at a time. The first section of track to be installed in Abbey
Street Lower was a trailing emergency crossover outside the Abbey Theatre. This
will be set into a floating slab to minimise the transmission of vibrations and
noise to the theatre.
construction work is in progress through the northern opening under the ‘Loop
Line’ viaduct, while a short section of track was installed at the junction
between Beresford Place and Gardiner Street Lower to allow the realignment of
12 (Store Street-Connolly Station) Trackbed
works are well advanced in Store St. In the section of the street from Talbot
Place to Amiens St, two single line trackbeds have been constructed, with space
between them for the island platform of the Store St stop.
of the ramp at Connolly has been completed and work is in progress on the
construction of the foundations for the trackbed. Work is also underway on the
construction of a retaining wall along the front of Connolly station. Trackbed
works have commenced at the junction of Mayor St and Amiens St.
C1 (Connolly Station-Point Depot)
The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 153, published February 2004.
Copyright © 2004 by Irish
Railway Record Society Limited