Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
New AMA with a US police officer (he's back!). You can ask your questions here

were the railways a drain on other areas of transport?

  • 20-02-2010 10:41am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 16,690 ✭✭✭✭ silverharp


    I'm not anti railways as such but I do believe they are no different to airlines etc and should be private and run at a profit if there is real demand for the services. So the question is, would it have been better post war to close the railways here and to have used the funds both public and private to have rolled out a national road strategy in the 50's instead of waiting until the 90's give or take.
    Even today are they a good investment? If the choice is bewteen a bus on a motorway versus a train would it not be better to get the roads "right" and use the additional tolls etc to focus on better transport options within cities. After all I think it would be fair to say that people just want to get from A to B in a convenient and affordable way and in an Irish context trains and busses could be pretty much equal in utility if you balance up issues like frequency, price and the "last few km"

    Another side point is that clearily there are issues over the lack of road pricing which I would be fully in favour of but I dont think it would balance the scales towards railways?

    A belief in gender identity involves a level of faith as there is nothing tangible to prove its existence which, as something divorced from the physical body, is similar to the idea of a soul. - Colette Colfer



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,638 Zoney


    I think really the railways that were closed here, were closed only because the state couldn't afford to run them. Contemporary Dáil debates highlight the fact that traffic had to use goat tracks of roads that were highly dangerous and took a long time. I would imagine that the closure of the railways had a detrimental impact on much of the nation's economy (and certainly rural industry/agri-business) as really lorries and so on would barely have been able to use some roads.

    The idea of closing the main lines in such a context at the time is laughable. Sure all of us can remember the state of even national primary roads up till the early 90s, they were barely fit for use even then.

    The money gained from shutting down the mainlines would not have been sufficient to provide road alternatives in any sort of acceptable timespan. Besides, although roads serve more people now, they do probably cost more to maintain per km than the railways do (railway running costs are analogous to the combined cost for everyone purchasing, maintaining, fuelling, insuring their private vehicles - per capita again probably cheaper by rail). Mind you we sort of aren't exactly maintaining our motorway network - they should have regular work to clean up potentially dangerous junk/obstacles, fix wire barriers. Also the line markings probably need repainted more frequently than they are - big difference on 10 year old HQDC between the new motorway HS line and the existing road markings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 674 ✭✭✭ etchyed


    I'm not anti railways as such but I do believe they are no different to airlines etc and should be private and run at a profit if there is real demand for the services.
    So you are anti railways then. I doubt there's anywhere in the world There are few places where railways don't require government subsidy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    The problem is more that road and rail have existed more or less in isolation from each other. That's why I think the NRA should also assume the role of mainline rail track infrastructure operator to force a co-consideration of both modes, with Irish Rail becoming a train operating company. This would also help compliance with an EU directive we are currently derogating from, and continue public ownership of and responsibility for the tracks. NRA could be required, for instance, where transport corridors do not require rail but might in the future that sufficient medians and box structures be created at suitable grades to construct a railbed and trackage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,690 ✭✭✭✭ silverharp


    etchyed wrote: »
    So you are anti railways then. I doubt there's anywhere in the world There are few places where railways don't require government subsidy.

    true, but take a country like Germany, you have several large cities several hundred KM apart, so rail seems like a reasosnable alternative to have alongside roads. If they need subsidies it maybe due to "market failure" elsewhere ie subsidised roads and no road pricing?
    Do small Island nations with low population density have a good "track" record when it comes to railways? or are they more hangovers from the 19thC kept alive by the state?

    Zoney - I think really the railways that were closed here, were closed only because the state couldn't afford to run them. Contemporary Dáil debates highlight the fact that traffic had to use goat tracks of roads that were highly dangerous and took a long time. I would imagine that the closure of the railways had a detrimental impact on much of the nation's economy (and certainly rural industry/agri-business) as really lorries and so on would barely have been able to use some roads....

    Hard to know what the casue and effect were as the country was a mess economically, I doubt if keeping more lines open would have had a net beneficial effect.

    I have vague memories as a kid going from Dublin to West Kerry in the 70's and it was either a car trip though every town and village on the way, then getting car sick going though the mountain pass past Killarney:o or else get the train which went a couple of times each day. I think the line used to go onto Cahersiveen but was closed before my time.
    However the question is, given the limited resources could a more focused strategy have provided the incentive to get one of the modes right earlier. I assume in relative terms roads were cheaper to build 60 years ago as land prices and labour costs were low and by the standards of the day , motorway quality would not have been needed.

    dowlingm-The problem is more that road and rail have existed more or less in isolation from each other.

    a bit of joined up thinking would help for sure. But there is an opportunity cost, would the lines coming into Dublin for instance be better used as light rail, Luas or dedicated Bus lanes? who gets the choose when there is no market opportunity?

    A belief in gender identity involves a level of faith as there is nothing tangible to prove its existence which, as something divorced from the physical body, is similar to the idea of a soul. - Colette Colfer



  • Registered Users Posts: 123 ✭✭ brandodub


    a bit of joined up thinking would help for sure. But there is an opportunity cost, would the lines coming into Dublin for instance be better used as light rail, Luas or dedicated Bus lanes? who gets the choose when there is no market opportunity?

    IMHO I think we wasted so many structural funding ops through arduous planning processes and a complete lack of political will. We should at least be putting the finishing touches to Light Rail schemes for Cork , Limerick and Galway rather than just 'completing' the major interurbans.We are at 2010 we really need to have this sorted.As we all know we are the 'choice-poor' transport wise in the EU-its all in favour of car travel for the foreseable future.


  • Advertisement
Advertisement