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Thursday 28 September 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# On track
Ding ding ding - the Luas has taken its first trip across O'Connell Bridge
Two Luas trams have made the first journeys on the new Luas Cross City route this morning. / YouTube

AFTER NEARLY FOUR years of development, the Luas took its first journey across O’Connell Bridge this morning in Dublin.

With Minister for Transport Shane Ross in attendance, a series of trams made the walking pace journey along the new stretches of track for a ‘gauge run’ – basically a series of test journeys to make sure all is as it should be.

The run itself is taking place over two days, today and tomorrow, on the 5.9 kilometre route between St Stephen’s Green and the new route’s terminus at Broombridge in Cabra.

Two trams are making the journey both northbound and southbound with a multitude of engineers and their own Garda escort in attendance, stopping at each new station platform, and manoeuvring along the way “to allow a range of measurements and tests to be carried out” according to a Luas Cross City spokesperson.

Ross himself, sporting a jaunty Bloomsday hat, seemed to be in high spirits as the test progressed. / YouTube

Speaking to the media on a break from the journey, he declared the whole project to be “fantastic and on budget”.

He admitted that “there’ll be a little bit of difficulty (for the new route) during the interim period as testing continues from August onwards”, but stressed that “from December onwards people will adjust very, very quickly”.

It’s going to be fantastic and carry millions of passengers every year.

“I recognise that the past few years have been challenging for the city and for businesses and we are all looking forward to the works drawing to a close and the start of operations by the end of the year,” Ross added.

The project is expected to complete on schedule for the end of the year.

“The gauge run marks a significant achievement for all the parties involved in the project,” Anne Graham, chief executive of the National Transport Authority (NTA), said meanwhile.

The completion of Luas Cross City in December will play an important role in alleviating congestion and enhancing the public transport experience for commuters.

Testing on the new route is expected to continue over the coming months, along with the finishing of paving, footpaths and carriageway reconstruction work.

Training of drivers will commence in September, with full passenger services then on target to begin operation in December.

With reporting from Nicky Ryan

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