What is light rail?

The term 'light rail' is used to describe modern tram systems that use electric rail cars. Light rail often operates on tracks that are separated from other traffic but it can also share road space with other modes of transport where necessary and/or appropriate. Light rail is a form of public transport that is generally lower in capacity and speed than heavy rail and metro systems. It is particularly suitable for urban centres and their hinterlands.

GLUAS... Connecting People and Places

October 2011

"It was always clear that the construction of the two line GLUAS tramway would have to be phased, not least because it will involve working on two of the only four bridges that cross the River Corrib. The proposal is therefore that Line One (Bearna to Merlin Park) would be built first, especially as the only two practical sites for a tram depot are on this line. This will involve building the tramway over the Quincentenary Bridge. At the same time a new (cable stayed) bridge will be built immediately to the south of the Salmon Weir Bridge, in line with St. Vincent Avenue. When completed this will remove from the Salmon Weir Bridge all motor traffic, and also the dog leg turn that regularly jams this part of the city. The old bridge will then be modified for a single time tramway, with widened footways and new cycle lanes. This will be a similar situation to the new bridge built  adjacent to Heuston Station in Dublin, which allowed the old Kingsbridge to be used exclusively for LUAS trams.

Part of the economic case for the Galway tramway, is embedded renewable power generation, both to make the tramway fully sustainable in energy terms but also for some surplus power sales to provide an early revenue  to give private investors confidence. The five Park and Ride sites have been identified as potential sites for wind generators. Three sites on the River Corrib have been identified as potential hydro generators, in two cases based on historic watermills.

In the second phase, Line 2 will be built from Dangan to Briars Hill, across the Salmon Weir Bridge. As part of the building of Line 1, the necessary tramway crossings and point work will be installed, so that Line 2 can join and cross it at the several planned interchanges, without having to disrupt services. Of particular importance in Line 2 will be the improvement of Eglington Street into a shared space: bus and tram mall, with wall to wall paving, as in Shop Street. At the same time the overhead power and telephone cables will be tidied up, so that Eglington street will be visually significantly improved. A key tram stop will be in Eyres Square, where there will be interchange with buses, taxis and trains. This will be a high value architectural design, as a motif for both GLUAS and the Galway.

The City Engineer has also acknowledged that there is no way in which the total demand for movement by car in Galway can be satisfied. Presently just 4% of trips in Galway are made by bus. In Dublin with a more comprehensive bus service, only 10% of trips are made by bus. Two years ago a study by MVA stated that even with a perfect bus service (no waiting and fast anywhere to anywhere routes) only 8% of Galway trips would be attracted to bus. As a way to squeeze more capacity from the road network (for car trips), roundabouts are presently being replaced with traffic signals, linked to a central co-ordinating control system. This will make installing the planned tramway easier, especially in giving priority to trams at junctions, and therefore guaranteeing a reliable and rapid tram service.

In view of the recent developments, it would appear that the most practical course would now be to get a small scale hydro generation plant operating, and build the western half of Line 1 but diverting the centre section along University Avenue to a temporary terminus at the Cathedral. This would also give good access to University College Hospital. The cost of this has been put at €80million but it depends on the early acquisition of a depot site along the line, and coming to a modus viviendi over the new bus way in Seamus Quirke Road.

An Bord Pleanala in reviewing the Galway GLUAS tram project, has asked for a meeting on 24th October. This is being attended by Lincoln Shields, as no one from Galway is available to go.

Finally discussions have been held with an Irish company, that builds mainline rail equipment, which is in operation around the world. This discussion explored the production facilities, and the potential for building trams for Galway, and other Irish cities, at that plant."

June 14th 2010

Galway City Councillors questioned the officials on progress in implementing the 8th March decision to have trams as the preferred option for improving public transport.

May 28th 2010

GLUAS Project presented at Oranmore Green Initiatives Event. Brendan Holland gave a talk, backed up by an excellent film of the GLUAS Project, to an appreciative audience at the Oranmore Lodge Hotel.

May 6th 2010

Pre - Application consultation with An Bord Pleanála. A meeting was held by Lincoln Shields and Lewis Lesley of Trampower with a team from An Bord Pleanála, over what documentation would be required in order to submit an application under the Strategic Infrastructure Planning Act 2006  to obtain the powers to build and operate the GLUAS Tramway in Galway. Trampower provides the technical backup for the GLUAS project.

This website was set up by a group of Galway citizens - the GLUAS group - who believe that Galway deserves a better public transport system. We believe that a LUAS-type light rail for Galway - GLUAS - would present a milestone in the development of a sustainable, cost-effective and efficient transport system for Galway city and its environs.

This website is an information hub for people in Galway City and County. Our aim is to both inform and work towards positive change that will make Galway an even better place to live and work.

Anybody is welcome to join and get involved in the work of the GLUAS group. Please send an email to info@gluas.com. We would be delighted to hear from you!

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GLUAS - A Sustainable Solution to Galway's Transport Problems

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