Click here to watch the Luas Launch Video.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross; and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe were in attendance today at the official opening of Luas Cross City at the GPO in Dublin. The extended section of the Green Line which runs from St Stephen’s Green in the city centre to Broombridge on Dublin’s northside, becomes fully operational at 2pm today. Up to this point, the Luas Green Line has brought passengers from Brides Glen as far as St Stephen’s Green, but from today, there will be services to 13 new stops north of St Stephen’s Green, including eight in the city centre area.

This means that for the first time since Luas operations commenced in Dublin in 2004, the Red and Green lines will connect, making passenger interchange between the two lines possible. With the new link-up in the O’Connell Street area, and by hopping on and off there, people can now travel north, south, east and west, on the Luas. The new section also opens up the Green Line further by linking it to Iarnród Éireann inter-city and commuter rail services at Broombridge station. The new line also serves the new DIT facility at Grangegorman which in the coming years will have over 10,000 students on campus. Communities in Dublin’s North Inner City, particularly in the Dominic St area will also stand to benefit significantly from the fast, reliable light rail service that Luas will deliver.

This extended line will increase by several million, the number of Luas journeys taken every year. It will also encourage more people to leave their cars behind, easing congestion and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Luas Cross City will make the historic O’Connell St district more accessible to visitors, which will be good news for attractions in the area such as GPO’s Witness History, The Gate Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, and the Dublin City Hugh Lane Gallery. Construction commenced in June 2013 and has been completed on schedule.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “As Minister for Transport, I made the decision to go ahead with this project in back 2013 and I remember that at the time it was described as ‘a huge undertaking in uncharted territory’.  But I believed it was worth doing and I knew we would get it right. So I am absolutely delighted to be here today as Taoiseach as Luas cross city service opens to passengers.

“Today is a significant milestone in the creation of a high quality integrated public transport network in our capital city.  We expect the Luas Cross City will encourage more people to use public transport, as well as alleviating congestion and reducing our carbon footprint.  It is also a symbol of what can be done even in tough times.  We built Luas Cross City during some of our darkest years economically.  Imagine what we can do now that our economy is strong; Metro and the M20 between Limerick and Cork are next on the transport agenda.

“Luas Cross City doesn’t just link the existing lines, it is also an extension to serve the North Inner City and will regenerate the neighbourhoods through which it will pass.  It will terminate at Broombridge on the Maynooth rail line thus allowing commuters from North Kildare and West Dublin to connect to Luas by train.

“The Government is committed to continued investment in public transport because it’s good for competitiveness and economic growth, and it improves our quality of life.”

Minister Shane Ross said: “”This is an historic day for Dublin. Over the past four years this project has developed side by side with the people who work, live and visit this city. Luas Cross City will help create a truly integrated public transport system in Dublin for the first time where a vast range of new journeys are now possible. The Luas Cross City will also will facilitate interchange between Luas, bus, rail and taxi. I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have been involved in contributing to Luas Cross City, for your hard work and cooperation and for making it possible for this project to come in on time and within budget. I trust this latest addition to our public transport will encourage people to get out of their cars and join in the battle to ease city centre congestion and contribute to tackling our climate change challenge.”

Minister Paschal Donohoe said: “The opening of Luas Cross City (LCC) to the public today marks a significant milestone for Dublin city commuters. For the last thirteen years, since its inception in 2004, Luas has played a pivotal role in transporting people across Dublin, with more than 34 passengers using it last year alone. That figure is set to grow by 10 million journeys per year with the advent of LCC. The fact that this project has come in on time and on budget is a testament to the hard work of the National Transport Authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Department of Transport and a whole host of others, who are to be applauded for their efforts.

“As Minister for Transport for two years during this project, I took immense pride in overseeing the first excavation works of Luas Cross City, as well as the initial laying of tracks. While there has been much talk of how LCC will open up many parts of the northside of Dublin – which it will – I am looking forward to welcoming all those from the southside who will now be able to make their way to O’Connell St and to Phibsborough, and to surrounding areas such as Glasnevin, to experience all that we have to offer. Students, and those looking to access Grangegorman DIT, will also benefit greatly from the delivery of this critical, and long overdue, addition to Dublin’s transport offering.”

Michael Nolan, CEO TII said: “This extension to the City’s public transport infrastructure system will transform how the Dublin connects and works.   It’s important to acknowledge the collective effort undertaken by all stakeholders, residents and businesses in working with us to achieve today’s opening.

“I also acknowledge the excellent work by TII’s project team and all those involved in the design and construction of the new extended Green Line. TII looks forward to working with the NTA on the delivery of future public transport infrastructure.”

Anne Graham, CEO National Transport Authority (NTA), said: “Starting today, the capital city has a greatly enhanced Luas service. This will significantly increase the annual number of passengers making journeys on the Luas system and will open up new areas of the city to the benefits of a modern light rail system.

“I look forward to the positive impact that the extended Green Line will have in alleviating congestion and enhancing the public transport experience for commuters.

“Encouraging the travelling public to make the switch to sustainable modes of transport is at the very core of what the NTA is all about. It is becoming increasingly clear that as a country, we need to show how serious we are about reducing emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. Extending the Green Line is a significant step in that direction, but we can and we will do more.

“Thanks to the commitment made by the Government, announced around the Budget in October, the NTA is now in a position to proceed with both the Metro North and Bus Connects projects. In Q1 2018, we will be making significant announcements about what those projects will mean for public transport, and how they will be delivered.”

Click here to watch the Merrion Street video of the Luas Launch.