Four consortiums battle it out for rail contract

THE names of four international consortia bidding to win the lucrative multi- million euro contract to build an underground rail interconnector for Dublin have been announced.

Iarnród Éireann yesterday revealed the identity of the four bidders, which include some of the biggest names in construction and engineering worldwide such as Macquarie and Balfour Beatty.

The shortlist for the consortia who will enter the pre-qualification phase of the public-private partnership process to build the DART underground is: BBI — featuring Balfour Beatty Capital; City Connect including Macquarie Capital Group; NascRail, which included AIB, Bombardier Transportation and Pierse Contracting; and Toto — an Italian conglomeration.

It is anticipated that the choice of the successful bidder will be made by mid-2012, with construction of the DART underground completed by the end of 2018.

An Iarnród Éireann spokesperson said the strong interest in the PPP process represented a vote of confidence from the international market in the project, considered the “missing link” in Dublin’s rail infrastructure.

“This is an investment in the future of Dublin and Ireland and one that will benefit the city and the country for decades to come,” he added.

Up to 7,000 jobs will be created during construction, while thousands more jobs will result indirectly through improved transport access within Dublin.

Iarnród Éireann pointed out that a recent consultant’s report highlighted how the DART underground would generate almost 2.5 times more benefit than the cost to build it.

News that construction of the rail interconnector as well as Metro North will go ahead was confirmed last week when both projects were included in the Government’s €39 billion revised capital investment plan.

The rail interconnector will see the construction of a 7.6km tunnel which will run underground through the city centre, connecting the existing northern and Kildare railway lines.

Underground stations will be built at Spencer Dock, St Stephen’s Green, Christchurch and Heuston, as well as a new surface station at Inchicore.

The building of the rail interconnector will see an integration of all rail services, including DART, commuter, inter-city, Luas and Metro North.

It is planned that the DART underground will cater for up to 20 trains in each direction per hour, providing an hourly capacity of 64,000 passenger journeys.

Twin tunnels will be dug at a depth of 24 metres below ground level using two tunnel boring machines, starting in the Docklands area.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said the development underground project would grow business in the capital by €450m.

“Mass transport can be used to encourage businesses to cluster together and international studies have shown that this greater employment density leads to an increase in productivity,” said the chamber’s director of policy, Aebhric McGibney.

More in this section