The Irish Cabinet has given the go ahead to the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) preliminary business case for the MetroLink rail project.

With 16 stations at launch, the fully automated MetroLink system will be an underground 19.4km rail route. It will operate between the Swords area and Charlemont in the south Dublin City Centre.

The project’s price range is expected at €7.16-€12.25bn, with €9.5bn identified as the likely estimate. An extreme case scenario takes the potential costs to €23bn.

Nearly 75% of the construction costs will be provided by the exchequer, while the remainder will be funded by a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

In September this year, a planning application for the project will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála.  

Expected to serve around 175,000 people, the MetroLink public transport megaproject is scheduled to begin operations in the early 2030s.

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The route will cover major residential communities such as Swords, Ballymun and Glasnevin besides the City Centre, Dublin Airport, and major employment, education, transport and other centres.

Designed to serve an integrated public transport system, the MetroLink project is expected to provide transport to 100 million passengers on a yearly basis by 2060. It will initially have trains running every three minutes at peak periods.

In a statement, Ryan said: “MetroLink is hardwired to our climate ambitions. It will provide over 1 billion carbon neutral, fully electrified, passenger trips by 2050. Over 175,000 people and 250,000 jobs will be accessible to the stations by foot alone.

“By interchanging with other public transport systems such as DART and Luas, MetroLink connects to more than a million people in the Dublin area, and more across Ireland.”

Last year in June, the Irish Government committed around €185m to upgrade the metropolitan commuter rail line in Cork.