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Western Rail Corridor

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,001 ✭✭✭✭Flukey


    You are focussing on some of the negative examples. That's just one county, but there are plenty of places that are capable of taking more business and people. We can get people into them now and improve the other places. There was no broadband anywhere a few years back, but something was done about it. Mayo is a large county with a lot of towns. It's close to Galway and Sligo too. It is certainly capable of taking a lot more people than it has now. It's a good candidate for development. So instead of bemoaning the fact that it has very little broadband, do something about it.

    To listen some people when it comes to the WRC, you'd think that if you got on a train in Cork and went up the west of Ireland to Derry that enroute you would not see a town, people or indeed any sign of civilisation whatsoever. There are quiet areas, but there is plenty of heavily populated places too, so there is certainly a case for a lot of the WRC. As to the quiet areas, you could still have rail through them, as they would be linking the busy areas to each other. There does not have to be loads of people living along every inch of the track. All rail lines go through quiet areas, so the WRC would be no different. The point is to provide the links between the areas. Progressively, it could be built. We may not need a complete line, but I believe there would be a lot more of it that would work than some of those against it think.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,853 ✭✭✭Yoda


    P11 Comms wrote:
    It's a national rail system run for real demand and not according to county GAA jersey ethics.
    I don't think this kind of rhetoric is helpful, any more than the "trainspotter" or "Victorian idealist" rhetoric is.
    Keep the railways busy and they'll grow and expand through sheer demand. That's Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick commuter first and foremost and not north of Tuam.
    I believe I have made a reasonable suggestion about the 25km stretch between Tuam and Claremorris.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,853 ✭✭✭Yoda


    Victor wrote:
    You do realise how bad the internet is in Mayo, don't you?
    With some hard work this should improve quite considerably for many communities in the next year or two.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,853 ✭✭✭Yoda


    P11 Comms wrote:
    The Athenry-Ennis and Athreny-Tuam lines form an intregal part of our South and West Rail Plan http://www.geocities.com/weehamster/P11SWrailplan.JPG (which we are currently developing as regional a counterbalance to the brilliant CIE/Dublin Rail Plan) and we are absolutely delighted that it is very likely to go ahead in the next few years.
    And rightly so. But what I suggested last night would make an even better-integrated rail system viable. To reiterate:

    There are four legs, Ennis-Athenry, Athenry-Tuam, Tuam-Claremorris, and Claremorris-Sligo, which people have taken an interest in.

    I'm not suggesting that they all be made necessarily into high-speed intercity services. Rural Wales has some very nice short stretches which little two-car trains shuttle back and forth on, doing their business of getting people from place to place, to make connections, and so on.

    It may well be reasonable to have a scenario where Ennis-Athenry-Tuam running at higher speeds, with more expensive rail improvements along the line.

    It is also easy to see the dynamic commercial and regional energy which the Westport-Castlebar-Ballina MayoLink project would create. But why keep that energy bottled up in Northwest Mayo, when it's 25km from Claremorris to Tuam? A small two-car regional shuttle back-and-forth on that stretch would not be prohibitively expensive to run, and would be a step forward in an integrated national transport plan. And keeping it to a small, slow shuttle service would keep the costs of refurbishment of that stretch down, if that is a concern.

    The question of Sligo-Claremorris is of another scale entirely, and I agree with P11 that it is in no way conceivable that a viable project could begin there. I agree that the place to begin is Ennis. But I don't agree with "not north of Tuam". It doesn't make sense.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 756 ✭✭✭Zaph0d


    Here's a summary of the arguments in favour and against the WRC from this thread. There's no need to repeat these arguments in future posts, but please add any I've left out.

    In Favour
    1. Alignment already exists: relatively low costs to put line back into service compared to a new alignment
    2. west is a deprived region and needs investment more than dublin
    3. passenger numbers and business case have been worked out by WoT
    4. restoring the line will stimulate development along the line making the line more feasible and helping regional growth
    5. could be made viable by carrying freight
    6. Similar rail lines in Wales seem to work OK

    Against
    1. population density insufficient to generate enough passengers
    2. high car ownership rates and low congestion mean the other rail projects could be carried out for the same price in the west that would have higher passenger numbers eg Limerick commuter services
    3. single line track means that service can never be very frequent
    4. huge number of level crossings will mean either slow train services or interruptions and danger to car traffic- even on national routes
    5. service will never be competitive with car/bus and will fail and jeapordise future rail projects
    6. Doesn't tie in with national spatial strategy


    Compromise suggestions
    1. build only a subsection of the line (maybe limerick-galway)
    2. spend the 250m on rail transit elsewhere in the region
    3. spend the money on a frequent high quality coach service w/ qbc


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,393 ✭✭✭Eurorunner


    # west is a deprived region and needs investment more than dublin
    Please edit - needs investment 'as well as dublin' as opposed to 'more than Dublin'.
    As far as i'm concerned this isn't a Dublin vs. the regions issue - and it wouldn't be constructive for this thread to degenerate into such...


  • Site Banned Posts: 5,904 ✭✭✭parsi


    P11 Comms wrote:
    to get a train to a town with a population of 3,800 which already has 3 fully operational passenger lines running into it and West of Track are demanding another 2 (from Galway and Sligo) which would mean that the 3,800 souls of Claremorris would have more passenger rail lines running into their apparently disadvataged town than our capital city. Think about that. Claremorris, more passenger railway lines than Dublin if the Western Rail Corridor is fully built...

    God help the inhabitants of Limerick Junction - 4 lines and probably less than 100 people and a racecourse as well ;-)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 173 ✭✭P11 Comms


    parsi wrote:
    God help the inhabitants of Limerick Junction - 4 lines and probably less than 100 people and a racecourse as well ;-)

    Apparently a developer is planning to build 500 houses and a retail park right next to the station. IKEA were sniffing around there looking for a location for a second store outside Dublin.

    Limerick Junction has fantastic potential - it is simply amazing that it has been ignored until quite recently. The junction itself is being rebuilt in 2010 with a less eccentric track layout. P11 is trying to have a direct curve on the north-east side of the crossing to allow a direct Clonmel to Dublin service.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 756 ✭✭✭Zaph0d


    Eurorunner wrote:
    # west is a deprived region and needs investment more than dublin
    Please edit - needs investment 'as well as dublin' as opposed to 'more than Dublin'.
    As far as i'm concerned this isn't a Dublin vs. the regions issue - and it wouldn't be constructive for this thread to degenerate into such...
    I was enumerating the arguments rather than commenting on their validity. The West vs Dublin argument is often advanced. If you want to refute any of the arguments, then feel free.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,431 ✭✭✭embraer170


    Zaph0d wrote:
    single line track means that service can never be very frequent

    Plenty of single line tracks in Switzerland manage hourly services in both directions.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,393 ✭✭✭Eurorunner


    The West vs Dublin argument is often advanced.

    Maybe, but it serves no purpose here. Can only detract from the value of the thread...but thats just my opinion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,786 ✭✭✭antoinolachtnai


    embraer: Yup, an hourly service in each direction, that's certainly doable.

    Eurorunner: the reason the west-vs-east argument might be a reasonable argument is that as a country we have a limited amount of capital to invest, and we have to 'ration' it. This means that some projects have to take priority over others. Of course, this isn't just within the rail sphere. The government might decide that it's more important to build 100 km of roads and bypasses in the West rather than a few km of train tunnel in the East.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    P11 Comms wrote:
    The Athenry-Ennis and Athreny-Tuam lines form an intregal part of our South and West Rail Plan http://www.geocities.com/weehamster/P11SWrailplan.JPG (which we are currently developing as regional a counterbalance to the brilliant CIE/Dublin Rail Plan) and we are absolutely delighted that it is very likely to go ahead in the next few years.


    A mere eight months late.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 173 ✭✭P11 Comms


    The Northern Half of the Western Rail Corridor is an obsolete and almost pointless waste of rail transport subsidies as there is a very viable alternative.

    A Ballina-Athlone-Cork rail service utilising existing rail lines.

    P11's Ballina-Athlone-Cork Submission to the DoT
    (This was was given to the Minister via his private secretary this afternoon.)

    The main body text of the submission can be read on-line here:

    http://www.platform11.org/nothwest_south_direct.html



    Look forward to seeing as many of you as possible tomorrow.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    As P11 know, I’m no great fan of theirs but I’m certainly willing to consider this idea. The underlying concept of connectivity is fine – something badly lacking on the current network. Let me throw out a few random thoughts on this and see if they make any sense. I’d be interested to hear your responses – try to be civil please.

    · It seems to me that the demand on the Ballina-Cork line would be separable broadly into Ballina – Galway and Galway to Cork i.e. there is little demand on Cork to Ballina direct. The stations between Cork and Portarlington are to be served by the hourly Dublin service anyway.
    · I assume that you still support the Cork-Galway portion of the WRC (in your own way), so that portion is covered too.
    · The proposal is therefore (in the medium term after Athenry-Ennis is done) a north west proposal i.e. a replacement of sorts for the northern portion of the WRC.
    · The connectivity will be diminished by the fact that a single train set from Ballina to Cork taking 5hrs 30mins would only offer one connection a day.
    · Does it not therefore make sense to run this service from Ballina to Galway taking say 1h 45mins, thereby doubling the connectivity with the network for the North West?
    · Ballina is therefore connected to Galway direct, to Cork and Limerick with one change in Athenry and with Dublin with one change in Ballinasloe. Cork, Limerick and Galway are connected on the intercity WRC southern section, hopefully with a regular service.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,042 ✭✭✭Metrobest


    How lovely this WRC would be for the old folks living in Mayo who want a day out in Salthill. Pity that for the rest of the population, this would be money down the tubes.

    The WRC isn't viable, will never be. There are simply not enough people living in these counties to justify the massive investment it would need. I just find it outrageously selfish for people to demand rail lines be built in areas where they are plainly not neccessary. There are far more important projects, all of them in Dublin.

    The Interconnector is going to be built (fair enough) but Dublin is crying out for more rail solutions. At least two metro lines are needed; maybe even another LUAS. If, in 20 years time, Dublin is fully catered for, then we can think about putting in a little hobby railway over in Mayo, but for now, let's channel investment into where it's really needed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    Contrary to the myth propagated by some, the WRC is not preventing the interconnector or the Metro from being built, the lack of political courage is. It is not an either or scenario.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭ishmael whale


    The money all comes out of the same bucket, so the more allocated to one purpose the less that's available for other. And the WRC comes so far down the list of priorities that we might just forget it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭jlang


    P11 Comms wrote:
    The Northern Half of the Western Rail Corridor is an obsolete and almost pointless waste of rail transport subsidies as there is a very viable alternative.
    Metrobest wrote:
    The WRC isn't viable, will never be.
    Metrobest and P11 Comms agreeing - wonders will never cease!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,222 ✭✭✭Scruff


    well the ennis - athenry and hence the limerick - galway route derinitely is viable imo.
    Since the introduction of regular commuter services between ennis and limerick, iarnród eireann are on record having said that the uptake in the service greatly exceeded their projections and as a result have put in for planning permission for an extra 300 car park spaces in ennis (up from about 50)

    A ennis - galway commuter service would have a hugely positive impact on the town.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,355 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    Scruff wrote:
    well the ennis - athenry and hence the limerick - galway route derinitely is viable imo.

    Ennis - Athenry is not viable by itself. As A Galway - Limerick / Limerick Junction / "further on" service, it probably would be.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    It is very misleading to say that it comes from the same pot. The amount allocated to transport and more particularly to rail is not fixed. WOT have costed the Ennis – Galway (inc double tracking of Athenry to Galway) at approx. €100m. The SRR, if memory serves, costed it at €290m. Even if they were to have solid gold tracks and the amber room recreated in every station, this €290m is only 8.5% of the cost of the IE Dublin rail plan. It is absolute nonsense to suggest that the government will be able to find €3.4bn to fund the Dublin rail plan and not be able to find €290m to fund a scheme to link the next three largest cities in the state. (By the way, the double tracking of Athenry-Galway would have wider network benefits). It is even more nonsense to suggest that spending €290m over a few years, would be enough to stop the Dublin Rail Plan when millions are being wasted on dodgy schemes. Both schemes are easily achievable concurrently if the political will was there. Moreover, if the political will is there to do the Dublin Rail Plan or other such scheme (as it should be), it would be politically naïve not to throw a bone to the rest of the country.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭ishmael whale


    Scruff wrote:
    Since the introduction of regular commuter services between ennis and limerick, iarnród eireann are on record having said that the uptake in the service greatly exceeded their projections and as a result have put in for planning permission for an extra 300 car park spaces in ennis (up from about 50)

    Its worth reflecting on the Limerick – Ennis service, as it is being used as backing for the WRC. I’ve said before in other threads that I can’t find any simple statement of how many passengers this service actually carries, what income in fares it brings and what it costs to provide – i.e. the basic information of what ongoing costs and benefits are associated with this service, which is surely both known and the crucial information that would give us an indication if the capital investment of €13 million in this line was justified.

    There is a statistic that an estimated 54,000 commuter car journeys were taken off the road by the service. Assuming this to be one journey in each direction each day, this means approximately 27,000 daily commutes divided by, say, 250 working days means that about 100 commuters or thereabouts are using the service. That hardly seems impressive. (Note: if anyone has better information please share. I have asked for such before without success.)

    Just as in the case of the WRC, there is the small question that the rail service seems to offer no great time advantage over road. I note from the CIE website that the Ennis/Limerick rail journey takes 40 minutes. The bus seems to take 45 minutes. Is it worth €13 million plus whatever undisclosed running costs to save 5 minutes of time for 100 people? Hardly, yet this seems to be the basis on which people are saying that more rail development in the West is justified.

    The Limerick/Ennis capital cost works out at €240 per displaced journey. This makes the Luas look like good value for money at only €40 per displaced journey (even if half of Luas passengers are former bus users its still comparatively good value at €80 euro a pop.)And Luas has no ongoing costs as the fare covers them. What are the ongoing costs of Limerick Ennis? Anyone? Exactly. We all know the bullet points regarding Luas costs, but head West and hard facts seem to vanish into the mists.
    MG wrote:
    It is very misleading to say that it comes from the same pot.

    It is actually doubleplusunmisleading. Its simply the way of the world. Just as there is an active debate on road vs rail, with an understanding that resources spend on one mode are necessarily denied to another, so too resources devoted to one particular project are denied to another.
    MG wrote:
    It is absolute nonsense to suggest that the government will be able to find €3.4bn to fund the Dublin rail plan and not be able to find €290m to fund a scheme to link the next three largest cities in the state.

    It’s a question of cost and benefits. The WRC, a rail service offering no real benefit over road, running through a area with low population density, is pretty much a waste at any price. As noted above, if we take Limerick/Ennis as our benchmark then €3.4 billion would have been cheap just for Luas, never mind a Dublin rail network.

    Bear in mind that, so far as we know, no decisions have been taken regarding investment in Dublin – its all smoke and PR. So Dublin might be left in the situation it has been left in so many times before – neglected while watching scarce resources being wasted on white elephants in the West.

    [You will recall that the WRC mostly has to do with linking Galway to Sligo. The “next three largest cities” is a relatively recent spin to try to pretend it amounts to more than it is.]
    MG wrote:
    Moreover, if the political will is there to do the Dublin Rail Plan or other such scheme (as it should be), it would be politically naïve not to throw a bone to the rest of the country.

    Plenty of ‘bones’ have already been thrown to the country, by which I take you really mean West of Ireland. All we need is to see a clear statement of how much its costing to keep the existing Sligo and Westport services running. There’s no need to flush large wads of notes down the toilet on no-nope schemes just to make the West feel special because they’ve forgotten how much we’re spending on them already.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    Its worth reflecting on the Limerick – Ennis service......

    .........The Limerick/Ennis capital cost works out at €240 per displaced journey. This makes the Luas look like good value for money at only €40 per displaced journey (even if half of Luas passengers are former bus users its still comparatively good value at €80 euro a pop.)

    It is actually doubleplusunmisleading. Its simply the way of the world. Just as there is an active debate on road vs rail, with an understanding that resources spend on one mode are necessarily denied to another, so too resources devoted to one particular project are denied to another.

    It’s a question of cost and benefits. The WRC, a rail service offering no real benefit over road, running through a area with low population density, is pretty much a waste at any price. As noted above, if we take Limerick/Ennis as our benchmark then €3.4 billion would have been cheap just for Luas, never mind a Dublin rail network.

    Bear in mind that, so far as we know, no decisions have been taken regarding investment in Dublin – its all smoke and PR. So Dublin might be left in the situation it has been left in so many times before – neglected while watching scarce resources being wasted on white elephants in the West.

    [You will recall that the WRC mostly has to do with linking Galway to Sligo. The “next three largest cities” is a relatively recent spin to try to pretend it amounts to more than it is.]



    Plenty of ‘bones’ have already been thrown to the country, by which I take you really mean West of Ireland. All we need is to see a clear statement of how much its costing to keep the existing Sligo and Westport services running. There’s no need to flush large wads of notes down the toilet on no-nope schemes just to make the West feel special because they’ve forgotten how much we’re spending on them already.

    To pick up on some of your points:

    There is no point comparing the Limerick-Ennis figures to LUAS in the short term as they are not like-for-like comparisons. Dublin is a city with a multi-modal public transport commuter culture. Limerick and other cities do not have a public transport commuter culture. It takes time to build this. Moreover, many of the LUAS commuters would simply be transfers from other public transport modes. Furthermore, they are different systems. LUAS is a “moving footpath” which is likely to have a constant flow of on-and-off passengers. Limerick-Ennis is less frequent and is likely to have mostly end station journeys. The more this route is developed, the more attractive the service is likely to be and the absorption of the capital costs improve.


    On the department of transport, their budget is simply not fixed. It vies with other departments for funds which are then split between various transport projects. There is no set funding for rail. The big prize for this country is to realise that rail is vital for a modern economy and increase funding to it.

    "a rail service offering no real benefit over road, running through a area with low population density, is pretty much a waste at any price. "
    Low population densities such as Cork, Limerick, Ennis and Galway?


    ".........Dublin might be left in the situation it has been left in so many times before – neglected while watching scarce resources being wasted on white elephants in the West."

    My point, of course, is that the WRC does not deny Dublin an integrated rail system. This is, as you say smoke and PR, divide and conquer. Dublin blames the West for not having a rail system, the West blames Dublin. No one gets anything but are kept busy fighting each other. The minister for finance has saved €3.6 bn and can spend it on his own constituency. I have never heard of any project with a positive NPV halted for lack of the last 8% of funding. Dublin would do better demanding a rail system than attacking the WRC.


    "[You will recall that the WRC mostly has to do with linking Galway to Sligo. The “next three largest cities” is a relatively recent spin to try to pretend it amounts to more than it is.]"
    No the WRC has been about the western half of the country, roughly on the line west of Sligo to Cork. If those in the northern sector have been more vocal then it is because they know their case is weakest. Ironically, it is now the Dublin lobby which is spinning it as Knockrail and ignoring the southern section because, everyone knows that the Southern section is a good idea.


    "Plenty of ‘bones’ have already been thrown to the country, by which I take you really mean West of Ireland........ "

    The Ennis to Athenry section will be implemented precisely because it is both workable and a bone thrown to the rest of the country (not just the West.). Good economics and good politics.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,011 ✭✭✭sliabh


    MG wrote:
    The Ennis to Athenry section will be implemented precisely because it is both workable and a bone thrown to the rest of the country (not just the West.). Good economics and good politics.
    It will be economical provided the politicians leave it alone. Ennis to Athenry is fine, as long as it doesn't become Ennis to Athenry with a station in every bally-go-backwards village along the way that was able to get their local TD to hassle the minister for it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭ishmael whale


    MG wrote:
    To pick up on some of your points:
    To respond:

    “There is no point comparing the Limerick-Ennis figures to LUAS in the short term as they are not like-for-like comparisons.”

    Hold on. You are comparing a proposed (if we ever see it) spend of 3.4 billion in Dublin with a proposed 300 million spend on the WRC. Now you’re saying we can’t make cross project comparisons. Can I suggest to you that we have to attempt some objective way of assessing if project A makes sense and project B does not, and the only reasonable way of doing this is to compare the costs and benefits associated with alternative courses of action.

    Westontrack have no problem about the comparability of Luas. Take this extract from their website: “The capital costs of the WRC compare extremely favourably with other national infrastructural projects currently mooted or in progress e.g. The entire WRC including stations, signalling, level-crossings, track and rolling stock will cost the equivalent of 2.5 miles of the Metro, 5 miles of the Luas, half of the proposed Red Cow Roundabout works or the equivalent of the Drogheda by-pass.”

    My main point about Limerick-Ennis is about the extent to which it is deemed a thundering success without any actual scrutiny of the key facts of how much its costing. I have to do this comparison on the basis of bums on seats vs capital cost because that’s all we know about it. (Similarly, a bit of disclosure about the costs and benefits relating to the Limerick Waterford service would also be enlightening).

    The expenditure on Limerick-Ennis is a multiple of that on Luas. That suggests that expenditure on Dublin’s services produce a massively higher return – and therefore on the face of it justify considerable resources. Yet the message that gets projected in news coverage is Luas very expensive, Limerick-Ennis great success.

    Its all very well to talk about Limerick commuters eventually becoming converts to rail. Its just that the Eastern region has an immediate need for transport. We simply can’t afford to have empty rail cars rolling up and down the West. And a service which offers no apparent advantage over road is hardly attractive.

    “On the department of transport, their budget is simply not fixed. It vies with other departments for funds which are then split between various transport projects. There is no set funding for rail. The big prize for this country is to realise that rail is vital for a modern economy and increase funding to it.”

    This is pure fantasy. There is a practical limit to the resources that will be allocated to transport. But, to be honest, the WRC brings so few benefits that if 300 million was available it would be better spent on education or some other useful activity even if there was no alternative transport related project.

    ”Low population densities such as Cork, Limerick, Ennis and Galway?”
    I note your are not trying to contradict that the WRC offers no real benefit over road. As I understand it the cost figures you are citing relate to linking up Sligo to Ennis. Key major cities that will be linked include:

    Crusheen population 500
    Gort population 2000
    Ardrahan population 1050
    Craughwell population 1050
    Athenry population 1050
    Tuam population 7050
    Milltown population 750
    Ballindyne population 750
    Claremorris population 3500
    Kiltimagh population 1500
    Swinford population 1500
    Charlestown population 2500
    Curry population 750
    Tobbercurry population 2500
    Coolaney population 750

    Total population 26,700

    “My point, of course, is that the WRC does not deny Dublin an integrated rail system. This is, as you say smoke and PR, divide and conquer. Dublin blames the West for not having a rail system, the West blames Dublin.”

    To be honest, its usually a bit more one-sided than this. Typically the West blames Dublin, despite doing very nicely out of state funding, and Dublin muddles through with inadequate infrastructure.

    “Dublin would do better demanding a rail system than attacking the WRC.”
    We can do both. You see, there’s no conflict between simultaneously advocating that money be spent on sensible things and not spent on silly things.

    ”The Ennis to Athenry section will be implemented precisely because it is both workable and a bone thrown to the rest of the country (not just the West.). Good economics and good politics.”

    Well, if they’re taking the Limerick-Ennis figures as encouraging I think we can take it that good econo


  • Registered Users Posts: 919 ✭✭✭jbkenn


    I live in Limerick, and, had to attend a meeting in Ennis today, as my car was in the garage I had no option but to use public transport. I took the Galway bus to Ennis, as the train timetable in the morning would not suit my needs. I decide to return by train to compare the two. The bus journey, by the nature of the route, and the roads, and a lot of bouncing around, did not allow much work to be done. but I arrived well in time for my meeting.
    The return journey by train in contrast did allow me to write up my notes and was smoother in comparison to the bus. I was suprised at the number of passengers who disembarked from Limerick at Ennis and I would hazard a guess the train had an 80% occupancy, by contrast the return to limerick had probably a 10% occupancy, and, most of the passengers seemed to be travelling on to Limerick Junction. On the journey down we passed rundown old stations at Clarecastle, Newmarket, Sixmilebridge, and Cratloe, and a potential new station at Longpavement, I could'nt help thinking about the potential for the line, and, what could be accomplished with a little cohesive planning, (something really lacking in this country.) The potential to develop a commuter belt between Limerick and Ennis of affordable housing (Limerick City has run out of building land)the reopening of the above named stations on a franchise basis for passenger and parcel freight business, and, a timetable that suits potential passenger needs, not rolling stock requirements.

    jbkenn
    p.s. memo to IE a bit of advertising would work wonders.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 823 ✭✭✭MG


    Ismael Whale – to respond:

    “You are comparing a proposed (if we ever see it) spend of 3.4 billion in Dublin with a proposed 300 million spend on the WRC. Now you’re saying we can’t make cross project comparisons. Can I suggest to you that we have to attempt some objective way of assessing if project A makes sense and project B does not, and the only reasonable way of doing this is to compare the costs and benefits associated with alternative courses of action.”

    That’s fine so long as you use appropriate measures. I am suggesting that your measures are skewed and that the projects are too dissimilar, especially in the short term, for this analysis to be relied upon.

    ”Westontrack have no problem about the comparability of Luas.”

    On a capital expenditure basis. It is perfectly reasonable to expect some proportion of national capital expenditure to be distributed throughout the country.

    ”My main point about Limerick-Ennis is about the extent to which it is deemed a thundering success without any actual scrutiny of the key facts of how much its costing.”

    Fair enough but history tells us that IE have tended to run down lines not to reopen them. It doesn’t make intuitive sense for IE to do it unless they feel it is a worthwhile long term investment.

    “I have to do this comparison on the basis of bums on seats vs capital cost because that’s all we know about it. (Similarly, a bit of disclosure about the costs and benefits relating to the Limerick Waterford service would also be enlightening).”

    You can do the analysis, but I have to point out that the limitations of this analysis makes it next to worthless.

    ”The expenditure on Limerick-Ennis is a multiple of that on Luas. That suggests that expenditure on Dublin’s services produce a massively higher return – and therefore on the face of it justify considerable resources. Yet the message that gets projected in news coverage is Luas very expensive, Limerick-Ennis great success.”

    Expenditure on the Luas was actually a multiple of that of Limerick-Ennis. Unless you mean on some bums/capital basis, which as I have said above is dubious.

    ”Its all very well to talk about Limerick commuters eventually becoming converts to rail. Its just that the Eastern region has an immediate need for transport. We simply can’t afford to have empty rail cars rolling up and down the West..”

    To say they would be empty would be hyperbolic. In the medium term, these could be important development corridors on the Cork to Tuam line with commuter and intercity possibilities.

    “And a service which offers no apparent advantage over road is hardly attractive”

    Logically. But a service which offers apparent advantage over road is attractive.

    ”This is pure fantasy. There is a practical limit to the resources that will be allocated to transport. But, to be honest, the WRC brings so few benefits that if 300 million was available it would be better spent on education or some other useful activity even if there was no alternative transport related project.”

    Naturally, there is a practical limit but it's not fixed and rail transport has hardly achieved its potential funding over the years. If over several years there is 3.4bn for one rail project, there is likely to be €300 for another. As for the education bit, add health to that and you could be vox pop on liveline. The WRC does have benefits.

    ”I note your are not trying to contradict that the WRC offers no real benefit over road.”
    “As I understand it the cost figures you are citing relate to linking up Sligo to Ennis.”

    I think if you read my posts, I am talking about Ennis to Galway and possibly to Tuam (as per P11 plan). However, the presence of villages along the line does not change the fact that Cork, Limerick, Ennis and Galway are on the line. For the record, I do believe that rail Cork to Galway and perhaps Tuam does offer advantages over road.

    ”To be honest, its usually a bit more one-sided than this. Typically the West blames Dublin, despite doing very nicely out of state funding, and Dublin muddles through with inadequate infrastructure.”

    Although, it seems here as if you are blaming the rest of the country…………………

    ”We can do both. You see, there’s no conflict between simultaneously advocating that money be spent on sensible things and not spent on silly things.”

    Seems a waste of time and scarce resources ;) to do both and, of course, your opinion of “silly things” may not be “silly” at all. Personally, I support investment in rail both within the pale and without.

    ”Well, if they’re taking the Limerick-Ennis figures as encouraging I think we can take it that good econo”

    Well, the irrefutable answer to this point is that Limeri


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,028 ✭✭✭ishmael whale


    You don’t seem to be suggesting any appropriate way of evaluating the Limerick Ennis line. The bottom line is we are comparing one form of commuter transport with another. It is entirely appropriate to compare the costs and benefits of Limerick Ennis to Luas on the one hand, and competing Bus Eireann services on the other. From what we can gather Limerick Ennis unit costs are far higher than Luas, and it offers no significant time advantage over Bus. Bus Eireann services nationally require no significant subsidy, so we can take it that bus is a far more cost competitive option for this particular route. Calling this analysis ‘next to useless’ is simply avoiding the very obvious conclusion that this rail service is poor value for money, and a fair indication that further development along the WRC is not justified.

    The general trend is for tax to be raised on the East coast and distributed throughout the country, including the West. This does not mean that the East needs to pay a tithe to the West every time it needs to build some infrastructure. You seem to be saying that the West should get a chunk of rail just for being the West, without any justification for why a rail service is necessary. That’s bad economics and an unreasonable expectation for the political system to deliver.

    Just to get a flavour of how high the Limerick Ennis costs are, consider this. According to the DTO there are 280,000 peak hour car commuters in Dublin. If we targeted to get even 20% to initially shift to rail, 56,000 per day, or 112,000 journeys, the Limerick benchmark would justify an outlay of €26 million * 250 working days or €6.5 billion. If we targeted 40% it would be €13 billion. To justify such overfunding compared to benefits I think we need a bit more than knowing this ‘could’ be an important development corridor at some unknown time in the future.

    And all the time, we have to acknowledge that neither Limerick Ennis nor the WRC offers no significant apparent advantage over road. So we’d be spending a hog of money for no benefit, other than to have an excuse for spending money in the West. There’s simply no reason for it to even be at the races. (As I understand it the WRC proposal tabled by West-on-Track relates to reopening the line from Ennis to Sligo, and that is what there cost estimate relates to. )


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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,355 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    Can you guys learn to use [quote][/quote]?

    And all the time, we have to acknowledge that neither Limerick Ennis nor the WRC offers no significant apparent advantage over road.
    You are possibly being unkind. Rail (see Luas) is much better than bus at converting car users to public transport.

    Limerick-Ennis by itself is marginal, however when you add Dublin-Ennis and other services to cumulatively improve connectivity, it makes more sense.


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