The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) of Ireland has granted permission for the €370m Luas Broombridge project to link two Luas tram lines in Dublin city centre.
Under the project, a new Luas line will be built from the Green Line terminus at St. Stephen's Green through the city centre, Phibsborough and Cabra to Broombridge.
The new six-kilometre Luas light rail line is expected to commence operation by 2017, covering the entire journey in 24 minutes, serving 13 stations.
RPA director of light rail Michael Sheedy said: "It will form the foundation of a high-quality integrated network, which will significantly reduce the current high reliance on the private car."
The line will connect trams that are to be transferred between the Red and Green lines with the Maynooth Line at Broombridge.
The new line will serve a recently-approved Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) campus at Grangegorman, which is expected to accommodate more than 20,000 students.
Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said when complete, Dublin will have an integrated rail and light rail network, which has become the norm in other modern cities.
"For the first time, it will be possible to get a train in Maynooth or Leixlip and get out in Dundrum or Sandyford with just one change," Varadkar said. "Similarly, you will be able to get on the Luas at Tallaght and with just one change, get out at the new DIT campus or at Trinity College."
In 2011, the Luas network carried about 29 million passengers; the new line is expected to transport an additional eight million passengers per year, representing an increase of around 25%.
Image: Following opening of the new 6km line in 2017, it will run from the Green Line terminus at St. Stephen's Green through the city centre, Phibsborough and Cabra to Broombridge. Photo: courtesy of William Murphy.