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Luas Line 'improvements'

  • 19-10-2022 7:55am
    Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭

    I wanted to start a discussion about future upgrades along the Luas Red Line. I believe longer platforms and trams are assumed in the near future.

    But I wanted to discuss the idea of adding an additional stop in the city centre and moving the Jervis stop slightly east.

    With the recent pedestrianisation of Capel Street, I've noticed that it's surprisingly awkward to get to Capel Street. No buses go down Dorset Street, so just the quays. And the Luas stops are not "near" the Capel Street junction.

    I'm also of the opinion that the Bus Connects network has prioritised connections in the O'Connell Bridge area and as a result is leaving parts of the city centre underserved - image 2 below showing the new network post College Green pedestrianisation.

    Post edited by Sam Russell on



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    It sounds like a pretty good idea.

    Though your new stop outside Arnotts would now be pretty close to the stop on the other side of O'Connell St. Though I think that would be justified given how busy O'Connell St and the surrounding destinations. A new stop by Arnotts would be ideal for folks accessing Henry St and even temple bar and could help with the eventual regeneration of this street.

    You'd probably get complaints from those in the Italian Quarter, but your other stop would be great for accessing Capel St.

    BTW I think there might be issues with actually lenthening the trams and platforms on the Red line any further. I believe they are already at the limit of space for length of trams/platforms between junctions at a few points along the red line.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,580 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    There would need to be road closures or at the very least access restrictions and possibly flow changes to extend some of the city centre stops.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,143 ✭✭✭dazberry

    I would like to see Heuston reconfigured to facilitate the easy turning back of trams. If an issue occurs between Heuston and Smithfield the Luas has to terminate all the way back at Blackhorse. With the red line effectively being considered a bus connects spine, and the pending removal of a number of bus services through the Bluebell/Inchicore area it really needs to be more resilient IMO.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    I would go much further with Heuston. I can't help but picture Heuston West in the near future and how inaccessible that station will be.

    I would love to see a line from Heuston West, Heuston (East), James Street, Vicar Street, Christchurch, Dame Street. This would take pressure off the Red Line and bring people into the heart of George's Street area.

    Picture I "drew" earlier. Just a spur from James but could extend to HW.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    You could look at an underground section between HW and James Street. The massively underdeveloped Guinness area could easily facilitate a section of the new BLUE LINE.

    I'm sure the owners of Guinness would be happy with the increase in land values, that a new Blue Line would bring.

    Remember that HW will facilitate Dart SW services so there will be a massive increase in passengers in this area.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,651 ✭✭✭AngryLips

    The suggestion that trams on red line can't be lengthen due to certain stops along the route being space restricted is rubbish. It's time they consider getting rid of those stops or relocating them to places where such platform lengths can be accommodated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,143 ✭✭✭dazberry

    While the James St, Thomas St route was in some plan may moons ago (Line F?), I would not run a Luas down James St and Thomas St into College Green. With some magic crayons :D I'd spur at Suir Road and run down Cork St into Stephen's green as that creates more of a circular line around the city.

    As an aside I don't know if anyone noticed, but in the engineering plans for the Green line cross city extension, a set of points/switches were included in College Green to link up with line F but were never actually built.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    The best plans in the world were made with crayons over lunch....

    Luas Line F indeed to Lucan. Why would you avoid a Luas on James Street?

    For "suir", I think something is needed to take pressure of Red Line in city centre. Thanks for this suggestion.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Hold on there, it isn't "rubbish" it is a genuine engineering issue!

    Green Line platforms are typically 62 to 64m in length, while the Red line are mostly 50 meters.

    Just go take a look at the stop outside of Busaras, it is 50m and that is the exact distance between Talbot Place and Amien St. The only way to make it 64m would be to close Talbot Place, which would impact Busaras operations and even then I'd question if there would be enough space with the very tight turn in front of the Garada station.

    There are lots of other perhaps less serious examples along the Red line, like in front of the Bridewell Courthouse, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd be fully supportive of them increasingly the length of the platforms, but don't underestimate the engineering issues, there is a reason that the NTA/TFI don't seem to have any plans for a Green line style lengthening on the red line.

    BTW I do think a spur going down towards College Green is a great idea and would likely take a lot of pressure of the Red Line on Abbey St.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    Busaras is a good example of the difficulty but looking at Google maps, it looks like there's space for 12-14m extension?...

    Where there's a will, there's a way. So one would wonder where's the will and why they haven't started extending these.

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "Busaras is a good example of the difficulty but looking at Google maps, it looks like there's space for 12-14m extension?..."

    You can't knock off the ramp at both ends. You need those ramps at both ends for accessibility, wheelchair users etc. Those ramps are part of the platform.

    Also notice how your red lines enter into the turn near the Garda station. That won't work for pretty obvious reasons. You'd need to move the turn further back and into the plaza in front of the Garda station, if the angles are even possible for the trams.

    And of course you've completely blocked off Talbot Place, which coaches for Busaras use.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,898 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    The red line platforms at 50m, does that include any ramps at either end?

    Or is it 50m of level boarding platform?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,580 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The ramps are to get people on to the boarding platform from the road. Any and all on-road stops have them.

    Busaras already only has one due to how constrained the site is, the other end is steps.

    The platform also has to be straight, whereas the red lines drawn there go around a curve!

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    The measurements I gave earlier include ramps. The Busaras platform appears to be about 45m for just the platform, not including ramps and steps.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    I didn't mean to attack your example. There is only a ramp on one side, the other is steps. I think Talbot Place could be closed to coaches and make coaches approach from Store Street. The guards can use the actual Luas line for access.

    The bigger issue is the curved line. Do the platforms seriously need to be straight? Does this country have to so ridiculous with everything 🙄🙈

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,651 ✭✭✭AngryLips

    They could detour the Luas up Gardiner Street and have the line join Busarus through the current plaza in front of the Garda station. It would require CPO'ing Isaacs Hostel to make that lane wide enough but it's entirely doable. Of course, they could also extend the luas without doing any work on the luas stops by restricting passenger access through the front and back doors. If the plan is to massively reduce cars in the city centre, as the Government have signalled just the other day, saying that stops like busarus is too space restricted when there's a five-lane thoroughfare with generous traffic islands immediately in front of the stop just doesn't cut it anymore.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    Can we establish an important point here - do tram platforms actually need to be straight?

    This is just ridiculous - someone help me understand.

    There are curved platforms all over the world......

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,580 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Yes, or else people using wheelchairs couldn't get on.

    That curved platforms were ok in the Victorian era doesn't make them not being suitable for accessible transport in the 21st Century 'ridiculous'.

    What is ridiculous is trying to have the longest trams in the world in lieu of having, say, another east-west line.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    I take accessibility extremely seriously.

    The technology already exists to "fill the gap" when the doors open. It's hardly a huge engineering challenge.

    Sorry to be a smartass, but if this is the only reason we can't extend the trams, then it's a very bad one.

    I fully agree with a new east-west line. @L1011 any suggestion for this? What do you think of suggestions above?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,580 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    The technology exists for high platform trains which have long stop times; not for low platform light rail (the space simply isn't there for the kit underneath the floor) - and it isn't suitable for quick usage either. So light rail platforms have to be straight.

    Its not the only reason we can't extend platforms anyway - junctions and roads are a huge factor that can't be handwaved away either; but its not something that can be solved easily or practically.

    I want to see the Lucan Luas plan - branching out at Fatima and coming up to Dame Street was the original plan - to extended to meet the DART somewhere on the southside, albeit I've not worked out if there is a plausible route for that. While road widening is definitely more on the cards than it was when the proposed Rathfarnham line was nixed, curve ratio is still important so a line can't be too twisty, or else it's too slow to be worth it

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  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    Okay thanks for that explanation, makes sense. I still think this is unnecessarily limiting. They could guide wheelchair users to doors away from the curve and it would only be a small handful of stops.

    Moving on though, I'd love to see a line along the Grand Canal, but this would be very controversial. A huge amount of people commute in cars along this route.

    Perhaps some sort of one way system using SCR and the canal could be used. We wouldn't want to force all cars from canal onto SCR, as that road would become a carpark all day.

    Post edited by brianc89 on

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Keep in mind, part of the reason that there hasn't been a major focus on upgrading the Red line (beyond the already completed upgrade from the original 30m trams to 40m ones), is because the idea that Dart Underground would be built and as a result a lot of the passenger traffic between Hueston and Connolly would be taken off the Luas red line and onto the DU instead.

    So if we are starting to talk about major upgrades to the Red line, we are basically admitting that DU will never be built and we need to upgrade the Red line instead. Some folks here would be very upset by that.

    "I didn't mean to attack your example."

    Oh, no worries at all. The funny thing is I previously brought up the idea of extending the Red line trams to 55m, but another poster pointed out the issues with junctions and I actually went and looked at each junction and could see that it definitely wouldn't be easy to upgrade like it was on the Green line. Not impossible of course, but likely extremely expensive and controversial.

    "There is only a ramp on one side, the other is steps."

    The Green line platform only, no ramps, appears to be about 58 to 59m. So extending out from Busaras platform from the single ramp for 58 to 59m it definitely would impinge into the turn. No way it could be done with the existing curve.

    "It would require CPO'ing Isaacs Hostel to make that lane wide enough but it's entirely doable."

    Sure, but now you are talking about 10's of millions, maybe even 100million+ and likely face major public objections (are some of those buildings listed? they look old enough). And that is just for one stop, you have plenty of other stops along the line that would cause problems too and would require permanent road closures. And all for only a 30% capacity increase!

    The nice thing about the green line upgrades is that they were relatively cheap and easy to do. That isn't the case with the red line. If you want to spend that sort of money, then I'd ask if there are perhaps other alternatives that might cost the same or cheaper, while possibly giving the same or greater capacity increases and possibly help build a better, more resilient network.

    Two options:

    1) A spur down to College Green. Could take a lot of passengers off the Abbey street section, looks to be relatively straight forward to build and no need to knock Isaac's Hotel. I could see such a spur being extremelly popular with folks heading to the South of the river, rather then North, Trinity, Temple Bar, Grafton Street, etc.

    This sort of spur is very normal in Europe, trams lines often split and merge throughout the city, it allows you to spread demand and serve far more places then our current more rigid network does.

    2) Are there ways to increase frequency and thus capacity on the Red line, without necessarily increasing the length of platforms?

    One option that goes brianc89's original idea is to move the Jervis stop to Middle Abbey St, closer to O'Connell St and perhaps build a turn back facility on Middle Abbey St. You could possibly operate more trams only as far Middle Abbey street with greater frequency to there. I find the tram tends to empty out by the Abbey St stop and tends to be quieter heading east from there. This would allow you to increase capacity along the busiest parts of the route, add resiliency when there are protests, etc. on O'Connell St and avoids major works at Busaras.

    Of course another option is giving trams absolute priority at all junctions and putting the red light cameras back in place.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,214 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    Sorry I should add to the above, what I listed above are only some options to increase capacity, there could be others like DU, Lucan line that runs further south then College Green, etc.

    Thinking about it, what I think we are missing is any report from NTA/TII on the current performance of the Red line and possible future upgrades or alternatives.

    We have gotten some reports about the possible future of the Green line from NTA/TII, due to Metrolink and the Green line not being upgraded to Metro for now and that has been a very insightful and interesting report.

    We have nothing similar for the Red line, we haven't heard as much as a whisper about it from NTA/TII.

    I'd expect a report would give us some numbers on current usage, future growth predictions, etc. and then lay out different upgrade options include options like lengthen platforms, frequency increases, turn backs, alternatives like a College Green Spur, DU, Lucan route, etc. And compare them based on cost, number of passengers carried, accessibility, etc.

    I find the deafening silence interesting, I could be completely wrong, but I suspect there is a fear that any of the above might severely impact the business case for DU, which is already looking rough due to Dart+ and Metrolink.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,127 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    If there is to be a spur to College Green, then surely it would be worth connecting to the Green line.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    Not sure if this will get support with the planned pedestrianisation. Before the plaza idea, it was definitely the plan with Luas Line F to Lucan.

    One of the initial drivers of the Plaza was removing East-West movements to prioritize, and quicken, Luas cross city.

    It's a shame though that we can't start building a broader network with various routes

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    I'm really curious to see what (if anything) ABP say about the impact Dart+ will have on DU.

    The station plans for New Spencer Dock would require the station to be dug up in future to facilitate DU. The platforms as planned are not deep enough to continue the line under the Red Luas line and river.

    We discussed this at length in the DU and Dart+ threads. In short, the conclusion was the Dart+ plans, at best, were extremely vague on how DU would / wouldn't be impacted in future.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,127 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    Nice tends to have trams passing pedestrianised plazas with no problems. They are fitted with bells to warn pedestrians.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    Yeah absolutely. The only potential "issue" is increasing conflicts on the North-South bus and tram Spine. The core bus spines are being designed to avoid those East-West movements, but this logic would be redundant if the tram lines are connected.

    Just playing devil's advocate, I'm not against the idea.

  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    On the western end, how to people see this connecting to the Red Line? How about a connection through the Guinness area, potentially going underground, and connecting to Heuston (Main / East) and continuing onto Heuston West??

    Remember the Dart+ SW electrified line will go from Sallins / Naas to New Spencer Dock via Heuston West and the Phoenix Park Tunnel (PPT).

    Inevitably, this brings up the business case for DU, but my personal opinion is that the business case for DU needs to be reviewed given Dart+, PPT, Bus Connects and Luas extension to Finglas...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,143 ✭✭✭dazberry

    There was a Line-F feasibility study done back in 2020 (link), and it omits the original James St -> College Green route option with 3 different options. Disclaimer: I haven't read it - just looked at the maps ;)