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A guided tour of the ghost train (article on Limerick Jct - Waterford line)

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭IIMII


    Sorry, but I have to ask if this is your level of knowledge about the current service should you be be bothering to contribute to this thread? :D
    I know very little about the line, I don't hide that and it doesn't really matter about the services when you have passenger figures that low. I know a little about passenger numbers, and I think the passenger numbers say it all. That's the only reason I contributed, as I found those numbers shocking - and in fairness, they are.

    I can go off and research the timetable and services etc, but why would I? It would take some miracle to boost those figures to the point where you could use the term high-volume in relation to it


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,963 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    Where are these potentially very useful railcars being used then?

    Sounds like they would be a gift for something like Clonmel-Limerick Jct shutteling back and forth all day.

    Generally joined together doing their best to pretend to be a two car set, I believe.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    Class: 2750, No. in Service: 2, Horsepower (HP): 350 HP, Date Built: 1998 - 1999
    picture.php?albumid=378&pictureid=3015

    http://www.irishrail.ie/fleet_information/commuter_and_dart_fleet.asp


    Nice pic but this unit would be better kept for the Limerick/Galway 'Express' on the WRC - there again it's probably too big for the potential traffic. Perhaps this railcar would be more appropriate - shame it's only 3ft gauge!

    new 009.JPG


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,320 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    I agree with Fricatus - commuter traffic is key and IE are doing nothing to get it. I would at least wait until the eastern platform permits more connections by facilitating additional Dublin-Cork service stops.

    The disaster in the Limerick area is Nenagh-Limerick, since IE reinstated "commuter" there which ran so routinely late they had to change the timetable, because the track is riddled with LCs and speed restrictions. If IE aren't willing to commit to a track refit which will compete with M7 then stop pretending to offer a service.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24 Fear


    On reading Brian O’Connell’s article “A guided tour of the ghost train” in Tuesday's (12/05/2009) Irish Times, I felt compelled to put down some thoughts and observations from my experience of the “ghost train” that runs between Waterford and Limerick Junction. An aspect that the article overlooked is the times that the service runs, which would go a long way to explaining why the service on this line manifests itself as a “ghost train” service. I must also clarify straight off that I am not a member of any mobility advocacy group, merely a commuter who would use public transport if I had the option, as a means of saving money.

    As a resident of the Tipperary Town area and one of many commuters in the South East who works in Waterford I have had occasion in the past to use the service, however the service cannot be regarded as a true commuter service to Waterford. If one was to try to commute on this line from end to end (Limerick Junction to Waterford) the earliest train leaves Limerick Junction at 08:50 and arrives at Waterford at 10:30 and if you wanted to use the train to commute home again you would have to catch the last train at 16:38, as you will appreciate you would want one very accommodating employer to be able to keep these hours. It seems obvious that the normal traffic patterns of commuters is to travel into cities for work in mornings and travel home in the evenings, however Irish Rail in the South East have not seemed to grasp this simple concept and instead run a service at times that it is of no use to the vast majority of the potential customers who live along the line.

    To paraphrase the words of former Minister of Defence, Paddy Donegan, this service is a “thundering disgrace”, I strongly believe there is an unwillingness on the behalf of management in Irish Rail to make this line a commercial success. Could you imagine if the commuter train times for Dublin operated such ridiculous timetable? I realise that the service is not advertised as a commuter service as such, however on asking the obvious question at the station in Waterford in relation to why the service did not operate at times when it would have the greater potential to gather some of the commuter traffic coming into Waterford along the N24 road corridor, servicing the towns of Tipperary, Cahir, Clonmel & Carrick-on-Suir, I was told that the train runs from Waterford to Limerick Junction at times to meet the intercity train running from Cork to Dublin. This seems a little strange considering that there is already an intercity service from Waterford to Dublin via Kilkenny.

    This decision from Irish Rail not to run a service that will accommodate commuters flys in the face of government drives to get us out of our cars, and in a time when everyone, is trying to make ends meet. The provision of a viable commuter service for the South East would go a long way to helping commuters who are already facing the prospects of raising fuel prices, the possible implementation of carbon taxes and greater road congestion as more and more commuters have no viable alternative but to get in their cars.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    The supporters of the Limerick-Rosslare line are all living in an Enid Blython-esque halcyon daze of lemon curd sandwhiches, ginger beer and teenage boys in short trousers, with catapults in their backpocket cycling to the branch line station to meet Auntie Clarrisa who is waiting for them by the metal milk churns which just arrived off the 3:15 mixed goods special from 'Deluded-Upon-Jotter '(there's the title for your book Derek).


    Society has changed - please deal with it.

    Brilliant post Nosty, same about WRC as well - a belief that we live life in a nostalgic age of steam and walk around talking about bowling googlies and saying things like I say old chap when someone steps out of line. Well written sir, Howzzat, spiffing eh What.

    Now where's my copy of the Railway Children.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    Could't agree more (Fear), the 'service' on the Waterford/Limerick Junction line serves nobody and it's particular ironic that CIE/IE maintain that its primary role is to connect with inter-city trains at Limerick Junction. If I had a Euro for everytime I have travelled on Dublin/Cork trains which theoretically give connections for the Waterford line but which make no pa announcements to that effect I would be a rich man! There is no promotion of the route from either Dublin or Cork, and it is patently obvious that the CIE/IE strategy is to close the line ASAP. With the current, relatively high level of service compared with some years ago, they can say we provided the trains but nobody used them and lazy journalists from 'the paper of record' - my arse - can lap up the PR spin and print it. Paper never refused ink! :mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 24 Fear


    My last post was actually the text of a Letter to the Editor that I sent to the Irish Times. I wasn't expecting it to be printed, but I feel very strongly that CIE/IR were misrepresenting the facts.

    As I said I for one, whould use the service if it was run at times that it could be used to commute, and I know of other on the line who feel the same.

    I did bring it up with my County Councilor but nothing happened, and mentioned to those calling to the door looking for a vote, but expect little to be done!!! :mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭KC61


    There are several issues regarding the operations on this route that have an impact on how the service is developed. It is actually far from straightforward as all of these issues together do cause it to be very difficult to schedule the route.

    1) What is the service designed to be?
    At present the timetable is designed primarily to offer a Clonmel-Dublin service via Limerick Junction (the fastest route). Hence the first train out of Waterford is at 0635 to connect into the 0730 ex-Cork. It returns as a connection out of the 0700 Dublin-Cork at 0850.

    Similarly the the 1230 and 1638 trains offer connections into services to Dublin, and the 1145, 1546 and 1845 returns offer connections from Dublin.

    The choice of trains used for the article would certainly have been those with lower loadings. Reports that I've heard suggest that the 0635 ex-Waterford and 1546/1845 ex-Limerick Junction do have the strongest loads on the route.

    2) Rolling Stock
    There are currently two 2700 Class units available to operate the service. One is currently used to operate the morning Rosslare-Waterford service, hence it cannot be used to operate on the Limerick Junction-Waterford section in the mornings.

    The two 2750 single car units are used either in combination or as single units on services in the Limerick area, or to strengthen a 2-car train to 3-cars as necessary.

    3) Commuter services
    There is room for a commuter service between Clonmel and Waterford, however currently there is no rolling stock available to operate it. However, if a new morning service leaving Waterford to Dublin at about 9am were to be initiated in the new timetable, then that train could be used beforehand to operate a Clonmel/Waterford commuter service.

    In that case the current 1638 Waterford/Limerick Junction service could be deferred by an hour to allow for an evening service, although the return service would then be at 1945 ex-Limerick Junction meaning the 1800 service ex-Heuston would have to call there, and there could be an impact on line opening hours.

    4) Line Opening Hours
    Opening hours of the line are determined by level crossing gatekeepers hours - hence the lack of a Sunday service and the last train operating at 1845 ex-Limerick Junction. Going beyond the existing hours would require either overtime or an extra shift.

    5) Line Speeds
    Despite the line speed being raised to 50mph in late 2008, the trains still are timed to operate at the old line speed of 40mph. Even allowing for the various speed restrictions on the route, the trains could be accelerated by 10-15 minutes by this change.

    6) Timetables and Limerick Junction
    The pattern of Dublin-Cork services has a major bearing on this route. At present Dublin-Cork and Cork-Dublin trains call at Limerick Junction at alternate hours, except in the early morning, meaning the unit has to wait an hour between journeys to offer a connection in the opposite direction.

    Also even where the trains do arrive at the same hour, the various speed restrictions on the Dublin-Cork route mean that there is up to a 15 minute gap between the northbound and southbound trains calling at the junction. This means that the trains have to wait for the southbound train to arrive before departing for Limerick.

    What can eliminate this problem? A second platform at Limerick Junction would facilitate Dublin-Cork and Cork-Dublin trains calling at the same hours, and this is planned, and the elimiation of speed restrictions on the mainline would tighten the wait for passengers to/from Limerick.

    The lack of a westbound commuter service into Limerick for earlier than 0900 from east of Limerick Junction is a tricky one to resolve. There is a service leaving Limerick Junction at 0800, but that set is needed to operate the 0655 Limerick/Limerick Junction to connect into the Dublin bound train.

    Because the passing loops are located at Tipperary and Clonmel, any train would have to leave Tipperary at 0720 for Limerick (meaning leaving Clonmel at 0640) to clear the section ahead of the 0635 ex-Waterford. The lack of available sets/drivers really does make such a service very difficult to schedule. The existing train arrives at Limerick Junction at 0817 and a connection from Limerick at 0822, but it is then needed for the 0843 to Limerick which connects out of the 0700 Dublin-Cork service.

    7) Awareness
    Local awareness of the service is still very low - a visit to Clonmel Station would leave you thinking that there was no train service - there is one small A4 panel on the external wall advertising the train services.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭KC61


    A further problem on the route is the location of passing loops. Having a loop at Tipperary (10 minutes outside Limerick Junction) is pointless as it then means a very long section of single track from Tipperary to Clonmel.

    It would make far more sense to reinstate the passing loops at Limerick Junction and Cahir and remove the loop at Tipperary to facilitate an improved schedule.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 24 Fear


    KC61 I would agree with you in most regard, but would you agree that the management have set out to make the line a failure?

    As a matter of interest, if the line is to offer a rail service to Dublin, on average how many people per morning actually use the service from Clonmel to Limerick Junction??

    I have had many occasion to be at crossing gates and from the road there seems to be about 10, if even that, people on the train heading to the Junction.

    I really do think that if the train was to run in the opposite direction in the morning that it would be a commerical success.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭IIMII


    Fear wrote: »
    To paraphrase the words of former Minister of Defence, Paddy Donegan, this service is a “thundering disgrace”
    Thundering bollix


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭KC61


    Fear wrote: »
    KC61 I would agree with you in most regard, but would you agree that the management have set out to make the line a failure?

    As a matter of interest, if the line is to offer a rail service to Dublin, on average how many people per morning actually use the service from Clonmel to Limerick Junction??

    I have had many occasion to be at crossing gates and from the road there seems to be about 10, if even that, people on the train heading to the Junction.

    I really do think that if the train was to run in the opposite direction in the morning that it would be a commerical success.

    Well the timetable is a significant improvement on what was there a few years ago.

    However, it does suffer seriously from the constraints of rolling stock availability, line opening hours, passing loop locations, the existing Dublin/Cork schedule, and a serious lack of local awareness of the services and fares (which are very cheap!). The maintenance of a timetable timed at 40mph when the line speed limit has been 50mph for over a year is scandalous.

    Lack of rolling stock is an issue that constrains the service. There is simply not enough stock right now to deliver connections to/from Dublin and commuter services. This would change by the end of the summer if IE decide to add an extra Waterford/Dublin service in the mornings at about 9am, which could facilitate a commuter service into Waterford from Clonmel.

    There has to be a decision as to what the ideal service pattern is.

    At the very least there would be:
    Four Clonmel/Dublin connections and return at Limerick Junction per day
    Clonmel/Waterford commuter service

    Ideally you would add to that:
    Waterford/Limerick connections with maximum 10 minute wait at Limerick Junction
    Clonmel/Limerick commuter service

    To deliver the latter you need extra stock and all of the current issues on the Dublin/Cork route to be fully resolved.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    IIMII wrote: »
    Thundering bollix

    On mature reflection I think you will find that it was the F WORD that was used rather than thundering. :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,142 ✭✭✭shamwari


    IIMII wrote: »
    Thundering bollix
    :D Class answer !


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,142 ✭✭✭shamwari


    They've relaid parts of the line, the've replaced some of the signalling, renewed level crossings and the viaduct. Why on earth won't they do the very thing the whole system is geared for: provide a bloody service ? :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭IIMII


    On mature reflection I think you will find that it was the F WORD that was used rather than thundering. :D
    Either way from Donegan, it was Pot.. Kettle.. Black


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,316 ✭✭✭KC61


    shamwari wrote: »
    They've relaid parts of the line, the've replaced some of the signalling, renewed level crossings and the viaduct. Why on earth won't they do the very thing the whole system is geared for: provide a bloody service ? :rolleyes:

    The signalling and level crossing renewals have yet to take place as part of the Limerick Junction upgrade scheme.

    The one change that is instantly deliverable now is a faster schedule - based on the revised line speed of 50mph.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    shamwari wrote: »
    They've relaid parts of the line, the've replaced some of the signalling, renewed level crossings and the viaduct. Why on earth won't they do the very thing the whole system is geared for: provide a bloody service ? :rolleyes:

    Because CIE/IE is operated for the benefit of its employees and management rather than the public.:mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip


    Nice pic but this unit would be better kept for the Limerick/Galway 'Express' on the WRC - there again it's probably too big for the potential traffic. Perhaps this railcar would be more appropriate - shame it's only 3ft gauge!

    new 009.JPG

    And Thomas had a branch line all of his own (from Athenry to Claremorris ha ha)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,854 ✭✭✭munchkin_utd


    On RTE Radio yesterday they were chatting about the possible cuts which will be proposed by the Bord Snip. Childrens allowance, rent allowance and other social payments were gone through. no change there.

    For the first time (to me anyhow) there was specific mention of "heavily underused rail lines" being in line for recommendation for the chop by the Bord Snip.
    I presume this means the Limerick to Waterford cross country line. There would be war if the Sligo and Mayo lines were touched so at the end of the day all they could touch without getting a political backlash would be the cross country line.

    Sure if the people dont know its there they'll hardly revolt if its cut!
    Not to mention theres 3 motorways to dublin serving the catchment of this line!


  • Registered Users Posts: 24 Fear


    And there in lies the problem, this government is persisting with policies which are forcing people into private cars to get from A to B. I’m not disputing the fact that the motorways are long overdue and are essential. I can’t wait until the final stretch of the N7/M7 is finished between Cullahill and Portlaosie, that last 20Km stretch is torture.

    Since the foundation of the state in the 1020’s we have gone increasingly backwards in relation to public transport, in particular train transport

    We have no train lines to any of our major airports, no interconnected public transport network (with the exception of buses at train stations, but again that is forcing people onto the roads), and no will to correct the correctable problems


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Fear wrote: »
    We have no train lines to any of our major airports, no interconnected public transport network (with the exception of buses at train stations, but again that is forcing people onto the roads), and no will to correct the correctable problems

    There's plenty of bus services serving Dublin Airport, and some services to Shannon and Cork Airport. Busses(and coaches) make up the vast majority of the public transport network.

    Farranfore airport has a train station nearby.... ;)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 ✭✭✭Tech3


    Farranfore airport has a train station nearby.... ;)

    Of course you mean Kerry International Airport ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 24 Fear


    There's plenty of bus services serving Dublin Airport, and some services to Shannon and Cork Airport. Busses(and coaches) make up the vast majority of the public transport network.

    Farranfore airport has a train station nearby.... ;)

    There's plenty of bus services serving Dublin Airport, and some services to Shannon and Cork Airport. Busses(and coaches) make up the vast majority of the public transport network

    Farranfore airport has a train station nearby....

    Thats just my point!!! Buses alone are not an integrated public transport network!!

    What we need is to get people off the roads, not put more buses on the roads. While it would be more desirable to have people traveling in buses as apposed to private cars, eventually you will have a sceniro where you will have traffic congestion comprised to the large part of buses.

    The tried and tested method of mass public transport is railway, be it light (tram) or heavy (trains).

    Also remember, that if the Limerick Junction - Waterford line closes, it will be to the most part the people of South Tipp who will suffer. The present operation of this line is just a farce, with IrishRail looking for an excuse to close the line, so running a service that cannot be used by the people who want to use it is a bloddy disgrace!!!:mad:


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    KC61 wrote: »
    Lack of rolling stock is an issue that constrains the service. There is simply not enough stock right now to deliver connections to/from Dublin and commuter services. This would change by the end of the summer if IE decide to add an extra Waterford/Dublin service in the mornings at about 9am, which could facilitate a commuter service into Waterford from Clonmel.
    I'll probably be slapped for this but there's plenty of locomotive hauled sets rotting away in storage because IE's management don't want anything to do with them. If they really had the initiative to use what they had then they could and would. The Mk3 push/pulls just got withdrawn and they could have been used if running round were the problem; even the 70mph max speed wouldn't have been an issue on lines like this.

    About the 2750s, I was in Limerick on Saturday (on the IRRS tour that failed later in Thurles) and saw 2751 and 2753 paired together to form a two car set.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Fear wrote: »
    Thats just my point!!! Buses alone are not an integrated public transport network!!

    What we need is to get people off the roads, not put more buses on the roads. While it would be more desirable to have people traveling in buses as apposed to private cars, eventually you will have a sceniro where you will have traffic congestion comprised to the large part of buses.

    The tried and tested method of mass public transport is railway, be it light (tram) or heavy (trains).

    Also remember, that if the Limerick Junction - Waterford line closes, it will be to the most part the people of South Tipp who will suffer.
    Yeah, I weep for all 17 of the passengers per train that will loose out... As outlined in the OP's post.

    There would only be congestion caused by large numbers of busses when you have a poorly designed and run system like the ones we have in Ireland.
    Rail can not always be an answer because of geography. How would you serve Farranree or the Old Youghal road area of Cork by rail? Or Cork Airport?

    Luxemburg city has a comprehensive bus network, with timetables at the busstops showing the time the bus will depart that stop. The buslanes are self policing by the simple idea of contraflow buslanes. Again Geography prevents any urban rail system serving the city.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭Judgement Day


    Yeah, I weep for all 17 of the passengers per train that will loose out... As outlined in the OP's post.

    There would only be congestion caused by large numbers of busses when you have a poorly designed and run system like the ones we have in Ireland.
    Rail can not always be an answer because of geography. How would you serve Farranree or the Old Youghal road area of Cork by rail? Or Cork Airport?

    Luxemburg city has a comprehensive bus network, with timetables at the busstops showing the time the bus will depart that stop. The buslanes are self policing by the simple idea of contraflow buslanes. Again Geography prevents any urban rail system serving the city.

    Would you ever cop on?? The reason only '17' people use the so-called service is that CIE have been actively trying to close the line since the late 1960s. People like you would be better off informing yourselves properly before spouting absolute nonsense about things that you obviously haven't the slightest knowledge of or 'genuine' interest in. :mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭Bards


    totally agree, how many passsengers would the Cork - Dublin train get if it had the same kind of timetable that this line has?????


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,219 ✭✭✭invincibleirish


    The reason only '17' people use the so-called service is that CIE have been actively trying to close the line since the late 1960s.

    What evidence is there for this claim as a matter of interest?


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