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Light rail for the republics other cities: is it feasible?

  • 19-02-2010 3:35pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 Tech3


    After some discussion in another thread Myself and BluntGuy thought it would be a good idea to start off a thread like this:

    We know Dublin has the LUAS but what about the other cities in the republic. Does Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford have enough population and commuters to justifiy a light rail system in their city?

    Also what other issues would be needed to be taken in consideration. Cork for instance may have issues with routing the rail around the city centre with the narrow streets giving major headaches. Is there enough commuters in the suburbs to justify the build. What would be a good average amount of passengers per day for the light rail system to make it economically viable?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 242 ✭✭ sonyair


    I don't think limerick needs a luas but what it shold do is to use the tracke that are just sitting there on the outskirts,

    The foynes line runs through dooradoyle,raheen,patrickswell with a spur to mungret.
    All of these could have small stations for commuter travel.

    Adare could be re-opened - think of tourists, commuters and all the golf
    All these tracks are just there waiting to be used.
    The old guinness site could be used as a terminal and a road/rail bus used.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 254 ✭✭ The Word Is Bor


    sonyair wrote: »
    I don't think limerick needs a luas but what it shold do is to use the tracke that are just sitting there on the outskirts,

    The foynes line runs through dooradoyle,raheen,patrickswell with a spur to mungret.
    All of these could have small stations for commuter travel.

    Adare could be re-opened - think of tourists, commuters and all the golf
    All these tracks are just there waiting to be used.
    The old guinness site could be used as a terminal and a road/rail bus used.

    There already is a line near enough to Mungret on the Cement Factory line.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 254 ✭✭ The Word Is Bor


    Re Cork a property developer carried out a feasibility study a few years ago on two guided bus type systems which would serve his landbanks on the south side and the south-west side of the city.

    There already is the Midleton line to the east and the Mallow line to the north. There are/were plans for a new station in a new town proposed by CCC in Monard but as yet that hasn't materialised.

    There is sufficient population density on the south-side but the existing alignments of the old railways aren't very convenient with a lot of the recent developments. Road space is at an absolute premium on the southside as well so it would be a no-go for a Luas type system. Tunnelling would be prohibitively expensive not to mind the difficult ground conditions that would be experienced.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    Here's a proposal from the thread in C&T for a LUAS line in Cork:
    namloc1980 wrote: »
    Bored so I decided to get the crayons out. Here's my idea for a tram line in Cork:

    3708827165_7240a259bd_o.jpg

    Going from Left to right (west to east)

    3708831449_75bc3706e8_o.jpg

    Start at CIT and come in along the Model Farm Road. It would be possible to extend the line to Ballincollig from here in future. Turn down the Wilton Road at Dennehy's Cross. A spur line could be built here to serve CUH and Bishopstown. A stop at Victoria Cross and onto the Western Road with a stop at the Mardyke. Onto a stop at the gates of UCC. Continue in the Western Road and onto Washington Street.

    3709644336_09b6daa52f_o.jpg

    Stop at the Courthouse. Down Washington Street and swing onto the Grand Parade with a stop there. Down the South Mall and over the City Hall Bridge with a stop there - 2 minute walk from the Bus Station. Down the quay to Albert Quay.

    3709644640_1437ba6cb0_o.jpg

    Down Centre Park Rad with a stop at Docklands to cater for the 'future' Docklands development. Further stops at Centre Park Road and Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The line would then use the old Blackrock Railway line with stops at Blackrock Village, the new Eden development, the CSO and terminate at Mahon Point.

    The line covers many high people traffic places such as: CIT, Model Farm Road IDA estate, Victoria Cross, UCC, City Centre, South Mall, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Mahon Point. The line would be approx 11.5km in total.

    It could link to a future second line from Blackpool to Douglas via the city centre.

    Anyway just put it together for fun because there's no political will to sort out Cork's shambolic public transport system at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,164 ✭✭✭ pg633


    There was a group campaigning for a GLUAS, making a website, maps, costings, comparisons etc:

    http://www.gluas.ie/case-studies/
    It did not feature in the just launched transport plan for Galway.
    It seemed to be being driven by a UK engineering company.

    possibleroutes.png


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 Tech3


    For a light rail to go ahead in Limerick there is a possible three lines to the Raheen, Castletroy and Caherdavin areas. There would be major stops on all three lines so it would be hard to judge which one is the least important.

    Major Stops:
    Raheen: Regional Hospital, Crescent shopping centre
    Castletroy: UL, Parkway
    Caherdavin: LIT, Thomand Park, Gaelic Grounds
    City Centre: O Connell Street, Castle, Bus Station


  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ fresca


    I can't speak about Waterford as I've never lived there and don't have enough topographical knowledge.

    For Galway, the map of routes proposed on the previous post looks about right.

    For Cork, would probably need to run:
    - Douglas-city centre-Fair Hill
    - airport - cuh - ucc - city centre - tivoli

    (maybe)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 Aidan1


    The Cork route is a little off what Cork City Council/Irish Rail have had in mind in the (recent) past. Moreover, the focus had been on ultimately having two lines, starting with the line as set out (the East West line), and ultimately building a North South line to run from Blackpool in the North, through the city centre (sharing some track on Parnell Place with the East West line), and progressing south from that, presumably with the intent of going as far as the airport eventually.

    The East West route preferred locally is similar to that set out above, but includes a different middle section, crossing the river northwards from Clontarf St to Summerhill, and then running down Alfred St around the new Railway Station building (remember that?), and then crossing the river southwards on a new bridge from Horgans Quay to Kennedy Quay, then running down Mill Rd to Centre Park Road and onwards to Mahon. Getting beyond that point is tricky - and my knowledge of the proposal ends at that point, but ideally the route would get to Douglas village, but that would mean cross in the Douglas river/estuary, and that would be expensive.

    I must have a look at the economics of that route actually.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,638 Zoney


    The three routes Tech2 mentions would be prime candidates in Limerick. However there is little enough scope for bus lanes (or indeed sorting out even just genuine city traffic) without very major infrastructure work, nevermind fitting in light rail lines. I think on-street would be a non-runner, but that really complicates matters.

    Using the rail lines isn't a trivial matter as you have heavy rail services to/from the station as is, and the alignments although going through much of the city, are not quite what you would want. The Ennis line has Moyross between it and LIT, nevermind being some distance more from Thomond Park and the Gaelic Grounds. The closest it gets to UL is the Parkway. The Foynes line passes by Dooradoyle and Raheen, but the Crescent Shopping Centre is on a separate branch, the Mungret (cement factory) branch. The Dublin line of course goes to Tipperary, hence it follows the Tipperary Road not the Dublin Road (Castletroy), the latter being the suburb.

    However, I think specifically because it is very difficult to do much about city traffic or bus services, light rail if it could be arranged would really help people to get about. As it is the hellish bus services can nevertheless be jam-packed despite 45 minute gaps in service and lengthy travel times if traffic is bad. People are pretty desperate. UL is not exactly friendly for parking in either, car parks being generally either full (people running the risk of clamping every day and continuing to do so despite active clamping) or costing money (indeed the nearby pay car park is often full also!) There are not sufficient staff parking spaces for the actual number of staff. UL is over 10,000 people on-campus.

    EDIT: Maybe light rail in Limerick could be a mix of on-street, green-field and running beside rail lines for part of those alignments.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 Tech3


    Yeah the bus service in Limerick cant really be improved much further with traffic congestion. The only reliable service in Limerick is the Raheen to City Centre running every 10 mins. The bus service from one suburb to another is quite poor though.

    For instance I know it takes 1hr to get from Raheen to Caherdavin/Moyross most of the time. This is very bad, a light rail link would reduce this dramatically.

    Also on a plus side the N18 Condell road has enough width to carry a rail line with 2 lane traffic on it to avoid building a rail bridge or just loop onto the current Limerick-Ennis line bridge. Where to go from there though is the problem nearly every street above that road(shelborne road) just enough width for reduced 2 lane road. I guess trying to fit it through the narrow streets of the city centre is the major headache,


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,133 mysterious


    Limerick has one of the best potentials for a luas, since there is many unused railway lines for space if the luas lines were needed to built alongside them. Another possibility is to build the Luas along the canal or shannon to where it the line would possibly end in Annacotty. The most profitable line would be the City centrre to Parkway, UL, Castletroy and Annacotty. This area has a large population that forms in a linear fashion. It would attract a large volume of commuters that would normally use cars. The line could continue down O'Connell street towards Raheen and Patrickswell.

    If Limerick city fuccked the county council monopopoly the planning in this city wouldnt be in such a mess. There is no growth in towns such as Mungret, Patrickwell, Croom and the likes, where the strained would be relieved on Dooradoyle and Castletroy. Everytihng is just on top of each other. Sprawl along the corridors is very messy in and inchorent. The County council hasn't even planned or finished the Groody valley project. Which should be a riverside walk with proper public transport facilities. Its a mess. It's sad because Limerick has a lot of potential to have one of the best public transport systems in the country


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,727 Godge


    As the country doesn't need both the Atlantic road corridor and the Western Rail Corridor, dropping the rail option would free up rail-lines for conversion to light rail commuter lines, certainly in Limerick.

    The Shannon tunnel will remove a significant amount of the city centre traffic. This will allow for the designation of some of the city centre streets as light rail only like Abbey Street in Dublin. If you add in the rail lines and could find a way to get out to the Parkway, you could have the potential for a really good light rail system.

    Change the planning guidelines to allow for greater height and density and you could get a properly functioning city like no other in Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    I decided to examine a chunk of the Cork Luas proposal in more detail to see the practicality of it.

    The part on the Western Road N22... this is probably one of the easiest parts. It has an existing bus lane running throughout nearly all of it which could be converted to a single Luas track, and if practical shared with buses.

    I have outlined my ideas on the diagram, and explain them in further detail below:

    4371049437_37a9e864a0_b.jpg


    The Route

    The route in this section follows the N22 (known as the Western Road here) through the junction leading to the Mardyke, past the UCC Information Technology building, past student accomodation/hotels/B&Bs etc. and up to the junction where the only option for traffic heading towards the city centre (to the "right" of the image) is to head north (it's a one way system). The route dips to follow the route out of the city centre.

    Possible Stop 1

    This would serve the Mardyke as well as the UCC Buildings nearby. This would be an ideal location for a stop as there is a bus lane and the road has been widened significantly here (even more so than in the picture).

    Possible Stop 2

    Another location that could be made practical. Currently there is a bus stop located in the alcove opposite the proposed stop. Were the alcove widened to allow traffic to flow freely past the stop, this would make a decent location for a stop as well.

    Junction

    This junction would have to be re-designed to some degree.

    Currently it is layed out like this:

    4371113783_9723fbf95f_b.jpg

    You'd need to remove the chunk in the middle and somehow get the line to flow:

    4371862570_0d253942f4_b.jpg

    But how would you arrange traffic here? Obviously one or two sets of level crossings are needed. Would you sacrifice some of the movements?

    I'll prob examine a chunk of the Limerick proposal in more detail next.

    I would encourage others to get the old crayons out as well so we can get a graphical illustration of your idea/proposals/suggestions.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,133 mysterious


    Godge wrote: »
    As the country doesn't need both the Atlantic road corridor and the Western Rail Corridor, dropping the rail option would free up rail-lines for conversion to light rail commuter lines, certainly in Limerick.

    The Shannon tunnel will remove a significant amount of the city centre traffic. This will allow for the designation of some of the city centre streets as light rail only like Abbey Street in Dublin. If you add in the rail lines and could find a way to get out to the Parkway, you could have the potential for a really good light rail system.

    Change the planning guidelines to allow for greater height and density and you could get a properly functioning city like no other in Ireland.

    Limerick city centre has a good density. Most new developments are 6 - 9 storeys.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 KevR


    mysterious wrote: »
    Limerick city centre has a good density. Most new developments are 6 - 9 storeys.

    Dublin City Council approved a new high rise policy last December. It's a good idea, and similar should be implemented in other Irish cities (especially ones which are serious about light rail).

    Dublin High Rise Policy:
    • Future developments in excess of 16 stories in three city centre locations at Heuston and Connolly railway stations and in the Docklands.
    • Mid-rise buildings of up to 16 residential stories would be allowed in Phibsboro and residential developments of up to eight stories would be allowed across the inner city.
    • In the outer city, residential developments would be up to six stories for residential or four stories for offices.
    • However, developments within 1km of a mainline, DART or Metro station could have an extra two stories in office height.
    • Buildings of up to 16 stories would also be allowed in the north fringe, Ballymun, Pelletstown, Cherry Orchard and the Naas Road.
    Galway is low-rise sprawled mess. Any future developments in the City Centre should be required to have a minimum number of stories. I think the Ceannt Station development will have 2 buildings at 17 stories each and some other medium rise buildings also. It's a step in the right direction anyway.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,727 Godge


    mysterious wrote: »
    Limerick city centre has a good density. Most new developments are 6 - 9 storeys.

    Limerick city centre does not have a good density now. Maybe recent permissions are for 6-9 storeys but there are few enough high density schemes in place and that small recent number does not overcome all of 40 years of low density.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy


    KevR wrote: »
    Dublin City Council approved a new high rise policy last December. It's a good idea, and similar should be implemented in other Irish cities (especially ones which are serious about light rail).

    Too little too late.

    Most of the feasible high-rise schemes have been butchered and ruined by DCC and ABP, the latest one being Tara Street station development.

    It'll take years for there to be both capital and necessity for many developments.


  • Registered Users Posts: 625 ✭✭✭ yermanoffthetv


    BluntGuy wrote: »
    Most of the feasible high-rise schemes have been butchered and ruined by DCC and ABP, the latest one being Tara Street station development.

    I thought that got the go ahead? http://two.archiseek.com/2010/tara-street-redevelopment-gets-permission/


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,016 ✭✭✭✭ Mc Love


    Using the existing rail lines, a light rail system would work great in Limerick.

    Speaking from knowing the most about the Raheen side of town. The existing rail line does go as far as Patrickswell if not further. This could service the Raheen Industrial Estate.

    They could use the field beside the tracks at the off ramp across from Old Crescent for a park and ride facility so that people coming from the west of the county could park up and leave their cars there and ride the rail into the city.

    The line that goes to the Cement factory could have a stop for the Crescent Shopping centre. It could have a line branching off this for Regional Hospital.

    The infrastructure is there and isnt being used/used part time.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 BluntGuy



    Not before ABP removed - I think - 12 metres from it. :mad:


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    As an exercise a while back, I drew a map of a possible railway/light rail network in Limerick.

    Colour coding: Black, heavy rail; Grey, light rail.
    Blue station: Opens immediately; Yellow station: developer-led station; Cyan, park and ride + new developments.
    The lines all converge on the central train station.


  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭ fresca


    Entry with an bord pleanala for Galway Light Rail...
    http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/PC0092.htm


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,807 ✭✭✭ CerebralCortex


    sonyair wrote: »
    I don't think limerick needs a luas but what it shold do is to use the tracke that are just sitting there on the outskirts,

    The foynes line runs through dooradoyle,raheen,patrickswell with a spur to mungret.
    All of these could have small stations for commuter travel.

    Adare could be re-opened - think of tourists, commuters and all the golf
    All these tracks are just there waiting to be used.
    The old guinness site could be used as a terminal and a road/rail bus used.

    A Limerick to Shannon line that ran frequently would also be a good idea I'm surprised considering all the people that drive to Shannon from Limerick that there is so little transportation. Actually I'm not surprised it's exactly what I expect from Ireland.


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