The first Luas went past Trinity this morning, marking a symbolic end to over three years of Luas line construction works outside the college. Today’s test is the very first in a series to ensure the new Luas line will be ready to launch on time in December.
The tests involve two Luas trams being driven across the city along the new Cross City line at a walking pace of between 5km/h and 10km/h. They are currently undergoing a gauge run, so that engineers can carry out a range of tests and verify that the tracks and overhead wires are working with the trams.
It was between 4:30am and 5:00am that the first of the Luas trams drove by Trinity’s Front Arch. The second tram will park outside Trinity at 10am for a short while, before continuing along the line for further testing.
The two trams were taken off the Green and Red Luas lines to make the journey, which is expected to last until noon. They are currently being escorted by Gardaí and a number of Luas engineers from Stephen’s Green to College Green and then over to O’Connell Street. At approximately 11:30am, the tram will stop on O’Connell street for a photograph with Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
Ahead of the test run, Luas Cross City spokesperson Grainne Mackin said to thejournal.ie that it would be “quite a spectacle”. She stated that the test run was “a really critical landmark for everyone involved”, going on to say that the construction of the new Luas line was “a massive piece of work and we’re in a sort of six month countdown now”.
The second gauge test will take place tomorrow, on the track between Broadstone and Broombridge in Cabra. In mid to late September, drivers will begin training on the new line, to prepare for its December launch.
The construction of the €368 million Cross City Luas line began in 2013. Upon completion in December, 13 new Luas stops will be provided, 8 of which will be in the city centre. This includes one outside College Green, which will be the nearest stop to Trinity.
The construction of the Luas line in front of Trinity College has caused aguish for many students living on campus, particularly in Front Square and Botany Bay. This has largely been due to the late night construction of the line. Following complaints made to College about the late night mechanical noise, some students have been housed in hostels and accommodation farther away from the construction by TCDSU.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) lobbied for both minimum construction at night and decreased construction during certain periods of the day. TCDSU President Kieran McNulty met with Luas representatives on numerous occasions to discuss the issue.
In April, the SU successfully lobbied to stop the Luas works outside Botany Bay during the night until mid-May, to ensure as little disturbance as possible to students studying for exams. However, the construction closer to Front Square, near House 7, 8 and 9, could not be deferred. Trinity’s Estates and Facilities Department stated that this was because construction could not take place during the day, due to the bus lines going through the area.
Additional reporting by Sarah Meehan