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City connections

IRELAND

The Luas Light Rail project is the first tangible signs of a Euro 18bn (£11.2bn) government-backed Dublin Transportation Office plan to get the city moving.

Dublin has no north-south rail network apart from a stretch along the coast, and while some improvements have been made to improve bus transport, travel by car remains a nightmare experience at peak hours.

The scheme which got under way in 2001 links Tallaght in the south west to the city centre (Line A) with a second line linking the city with Sandyford in the south. Line C extends Line A to the city's second major rail station and the existing DART commuter system.

The lines are being built in a £196M design and build contract by an Italian-Australian joint venture Ansaldo/MVM Rail with Ballast Nedam carrying out the civils work.

However, major individual bridge projects such as Taney are classed as enabling works and let separately.

Client is the Rail Procurement Agency (RPA).

Line B largely follows the route of the disused Harcourt Street to Bray line, scrapped in 1959. 'From an environmental aspect, using the old line is a brilliant concept, while completion will mean fewer people travelling by car, bringing further environmental benefits, ' says RPA Taney Bridge engineer's representative Brian Bromwich.

Progress on accelerated track laying to build a section of track to commission trains is well advanced, according to Line A enabling contract manager Trevor Lloyd. Citadis train sets are delivered to site by Alstom as soon as they leave the production line and first running on test track took place at the beginning of February.

But before the line is ready, much work will have been done. 'The preparatory works have involved a huge exercise to move existing services and utilities, many of which, over the years, had been laid in a haphazard fashion. As well as building Luas, the work will help improve the services network along its streets, ' Lloyd says.

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