The route will include nine underground stations including one at Dublin City University and another at the airport. A further six overground stations are planned.
Bidding consortia include: Cathro, comprising Strabag, Siemens, asset management company BAM, Fluor; Metro Express - an Irish consortium comprising of Macquarie Bank, Ireland’s AIB, FCC, Caja Madrid, and Bombardier; Dublin Express Link – HSBC Infrastructure Fund Management, Meridiam Infrastructure Finance, Acciona, Bouygues Siac, Alstom, Spie Rail; Celtic Metro Group - Barclays Private Equity, OHL, Soares da Costa and Mitsui.
While the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) has been circumspect when it comes to putting a figure on the cost of the project, well-placed commentators are putting the cost at around €5bn (£3.1bn) but this figure may yet prove a conservative estimate on a project that is already running behind schedule.
The shortlisted bidders now have until 2 November to form qualified bidding groups consisting of an infrastructure provider, a rolling stock provider and an operator. It is anticipated that tender documentation will be issued to the qualified bidding groups early in 2008.
The pre-application consultation process with an An Bord Pleanala (the Irish planning authority) has commenced and the public consultation process is ongoing.