Final details of rail-metro interface not yet resolved
by TIM O'BRIEN
03 MARCH 2009
Iarnród Éireann and the developers of Metro North have not yet resolved final details of how the two rail systems will interface at St Stephen's Green and Drumcondra station, it has emerged.
Speaking at the opening day of a Bord Pleanála oral hearing into Metro North, Colm Costello SC for Irish Rail and the CIÉ group, said negotiations were continuing with the Rail Procurement Agency, promotor or Metro North.
He said the outcome of the negotiations would determine how much time Irish Rail would need in addressing the metro inquiry.
Spokesman for CIÉ Barry Kenny later revealed the outstanding issues related to the St Stephen's Green and Drumcondra stops. Metro North is to link to the proposed Dart Underground at St Stephen's Green, and to the intercity and suburban network at Drumcondra.
But Mr Kenny played down the significance of the continuing negotiations, saying he believed many of the almost 200 observers who were yesterday listed at the hearing were continuing to have discussions before the hearing proper starts.
Opening the oral hearing's preliminary session yesterday senior planning inspector with Bord Pleanála Kevin Moore said the first day was a "housekeeping" session to decide on the running order for the inquiry.
He described the proposal as an 18km route from St Stephen's Green to north of Swords, eight kilometres of which is to be underground. It was proposed there would be 17 stops linking universities, hospitals and the airport, among others, he said
He added that An Bord Pleanála would hire its own experts in the areas of noise, traffic, vibration and ground settlement to assist in assessing the application.
James Connolly SC for the Rail Procurement Agency told the hearing he expected the case in favour of the metro would take about six days to outline, and would involve about 20 witnesses.
Others who have made submissions and are entitled to be heard include the Mater hospital, a number of local schools, An Taisce, Dublin Bus, Fingal and Dublin City councils, Dublin Airport Authority, traders' associations and individual residents' associations. The inquiry will provide a period for cross-examination of witnesses.
Mr Moore told the inquiry that once the running order and likely timescale for the inquiry proper was established, each of the parties would be advised in writing of the probable length and venue of the inquiry.