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Journal 192  - LUAS

TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IRELAND  

LUAS CROSS CITY

Broadstone: The LUAS Cross City route takes it past the former Midland Great Western Railway station at Broadstone and under the current bus garage. With a car park currently in front of the building, and a substantial drop down to track level, a large concrete wall was erected to prevent subsidence of the bank and to prevent cars from reversing too far.

Local residents were “outraged” at the structure, with an angry back-lash via social media and printed press, notably The Irish Times.

Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe, a former minister of state for planning, was also involved. “It seems to me that some of the worst aspects of this rather sheer and brutal wall could be mitigated if the upper part of the wall were replaced by carefully designed transparent vertical railings at the top 1200mm section,” he recently told the Luas project team.

They responded by pointing out that the parapet was needed for “public safety reasons”, to prevent vehicles using the space in front of the Broadstone building from falling onto the Luas stop area below. This arises because the “public space” in question is being used as a car park by Bus Éireann staff. The finished wall is to be clad in “panels of white limestone”.

Due to the backlash from this, Luas Cross City have agreed to look at the plans again and consider redesign. Interestingly, the former building was hidden from the road for many years by the Maxol petrol station that stood on the site of the trackbed.

Progress Update: During 2016, significant progress has been made with the Luas Cross City project. Track laying in the city centre is now complete. Construction of the stops at Dominick Street, Marlborough, O’Connell / GPO, Trinity, Cabra, Dawson, Westmoreland has commenced. This includes the installation of the necessary stop furniture. The tie-in track works between the Luas Red and Green lines have been completed. The track across O’Connell Bridge linking Dublin’s North and South quays has been installed. Work on laying the OCS (Overhead Conductor System) is now in progress. The reinstatement of heritage pavement has started. Construction work on the new depot at Broombridge is at an advanced stage. Two new substations have been built. A new bridge has been built at Broadstone while the deck has been replaced on the Liam Whelan/ Fassaugh Road Bridge.

Traffic Alterations: A number of traffic restrictions were implemented to facilitate construction work. The Dawson Street/Nassau Street Junction was closed to vehicular traffic and cyclists between Duke Street and Nassau Street from 3 October for four weeks. This allowed works to take place at the junction of Dawson Street and Nassau Street. The junction reopened on Friday 28 October. The O’Connell Street median taxi rank was permanently closed on the morning of Tuesday 18 October. At the same time, replacement taxi ranks opened on O’Connell Street outside the Gresham Hotel, on both sides of Cathal Brugha Street, and on Parnell Street (east of O’Connell Street). There are plans for other new taxi ranks on Prince’s Street North and Earl Street North (both night time ranks), on Parnell Street (west of O’Connell Street), and on Middle Abbey Street. Vehicle access into and out of Duke Street from Dawson Street was prohibited from Tuesday 1 November until Thursday 24 November. The right turn from O’Connell Street to Cathal Brugha Street was closed permanently fromWednesday 9 November. The alternative route to the area for general traffic is now via Parnell Square, Gardiner Row, Great Denmark Street and Hill Street. Buses, taxis and cyclists may access the area via Parnell Square and O’Connell Street, turning left into Cathal Brugha Street from O’Connell Street. The left turn from Westmoreland Street to Fleet Street closed for a period of 6 weeks from Monday 6 February 2017. Access to the Car Park and other local access to the Fleet Street area was available by diverting via Aston Quay. This closure will be lifted before St. Patrick’s Day.

Tramways and Urban Transit In its February 2017 issue, devoted to driverless trams, TUT reports that in 2016 following the Luas strike Dublin was the first city to call for tram automation. A proposal by Councillor Smyth to Dublin City Council that “ Given the disruption, both civic and economic, caused by the Luas drivers’ strike...this committee calls on the new Minister for transport, the National Transport Authority, Transport infrastructure Ireland and Transdev, to future-proof all new Luas rolling stock so that it is capable of being fitted with self-driving software...” was passed by the Council’s Transport Committee. SIPTU Drivers’ Union organiser, Owen Reidy dismissed the proposal as a “hair- brained crazy scheme”.

TRANSDEV IRELAND

Fill a Tram: Between 07:00 and 19:00 on Thursday 8 December, approximately 8,000 shoeboxes of Christmas gifts for the homeless were collected in tram 3005 at Connolly Station. The scheme was for the benefit of the Inner City Helping Homeless charity, and also served around 350 hot meals and 60 haircuts for those in need.

Service Disruptions

Friday 7 October 2016: Services on the Luas Green Line stopped shortly after 09:00 on Friday 7 October 2016 when two trams failed due to a technical fault with overhead wires. The line remained closed until 06:30 on Saturday morning, 8 October.

During the disruption, Luas tickets were valid on Dublin Bus, while Finnegan’s Coaches of Bray provided a service between Dundrum and Brides Glen Luas stops.

Friday 28 October 2016: Tram 3005 was involved in an accident with a Dublin Cityscape sightseeing bus (Volvo B7TL / Plaxton President 03-KE-16301) at Bow Street, on the city centre side of the Smithfield stop. Units of the Dublin Fire Brigade, ambulances and Gardaí were in attendance, and by 13:00 the bus was moved from the tram. Services operated between Blackhorse and Tallaght / Saggart from approximately 11:00 until 13:50. The tram made the journey back to Red Cow depot under its own power. Members of the Rail Accident Investigation Unit were in attendance. 7 people were hospitalised

Monday 7 November 2016: Luas Red Line services experienced delays of up to 40 minutes following a collision between a car and a Garda car at the Queen Street / Benburb Street junction. The incident occurred shortly after 21:00. No injuries were reported. Delays continued until 22:30.

Monday 14 November 2016: Major disruption to Luas Red Line services occurred shortly after 17:00 when a lorry carrying an excavator brought down the overhead conductor system at the Kingswood / Belgard Road junction. Following the accident, the road at Belgard was partially closed. Luas services only operated between Red Cow and Connolly / The Point.

Wednesday 7 December 2016: A car and tram 4002 were involved in a collision at the Tallaght Hospital stop at approximately 12:00. The pantograph section was derailed in the collision. The line between Belgard and Tallaght was closed from 12:00 to 14:41, with replacement bus services in operation. Trams from Saggart inbound were not affected.

Wednesday 14 December 2016: Red Line trams ran between Tallaght / Saggart and Smithfield between 08:08 and 08:21 due to a power issue. Tickets were valid on Dublin Bus for that duration.  

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 192, published February 2017

 
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Revised: August 20, 2017 .