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Our most important passenger and freight ports

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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    The reality is we use to have far more rail freight infrastructure, but industry decided road freight was faster and cheaper. And that was before the motorway network!

    Think about it, either way you need a truck to bring the freight to the rail head, where it will sit for a few days until enough freight builds up to justify the train to the port. Or you can just skip all that and have the truck drive the extra hour or two to the port directly.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,601 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    As fuel slowly gets more and more expensive and it gets harder and harder to get the truck drivers in the first place(!), rail becomes more and more attractive.

    It might take decades but the price differential is only going one way and ultimately rail will win out for the efficiency of resource use, and lower labour costs



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    The advantage of rail is that driverless trains is an easier target than driverless trucks or cars.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,385 ✭✭✭Markcheese


    Honestly if I wanted to get agreated freight from one Irish city to another or to several other Irish cirties and road wasn't an option ( for what ever reason ), I'd probably be doing it by ship , the ports already exist... They're already sorted for hgv access to bring everything in and out ..

    But nothing is going to beat trucks in an Irish situation ,

    every main population centre is less than 4 hours from Dublin , loading and unloading are probably the most time consuming part of transport, so it makes sense to drive door to door, at a time that suits customer and seller ..

    I could foresee electric driverless trucks on the motorway powered like electric trains , possibly even road trains

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    Yep EV and hydrogen trucks are already starting to hit the roads. We will have them in Ireland long before the Irish rail network will be electrified. Hell we are even struggling to get the Dublin commuter lines electrified, with IR buying battery trains. It will be decades if ever before most of our rail network is electrified. Though perhaps hydrogen powered rail engines are a possibility and perhaps more likely.

    BTW the short distances in Ireland are particularly well suited to EV trucks. The rule of thumb is up to 300 miles is particularly suited to EV trucks, much cheaper then Diesel at up to those distances. Over it you need to look at hydrogen.

    BTW I’m not really against rail freight, I just think folks need to be realistic about it all. It makes up less than 1% of freight in Ireland and Ireland just isn’t well suited to it. Even with new rail freight hubs, it will be extremely unlikely to ever break double digits.

    I do think the idea of trying to force rail freight into Dublin port is particularly idiotic. So let’s get this straight, Ryan wants us to use very old and extremely polluting old Diesel train engines to pull large freight trains right through the center of Dublin City, right next to people’s homes and disturb the commuter rail network!

    How exactly is this “environmental” ?

    We have lots of ports all around the country, surely it makes far more sense to use the likes of Foynes, etc. for the rail freight then trying to force it through our capital city!



  • Registered Users Posts: 415 ✭✭andrewfaulk


    Some amount of arm chair experts on here who no little of what they are talking about..

    JIT, irrelevant to 95% of freight by volume

    Time, not that important if planned correctly, what’s a few hours when a container takes 35+ days to arrive from China or 15+ days to arrive from the US

    cargo waiting days for trains, doesn’t happen, trains are daily and co-ordinated with shipping movements on the most important routes

    transshipment as an issue, that’s why we have containers.. 20-25% of Dublin ports unitised throughput is containerised, so an addressable market exists..

    the fact is that the model already exists for successful rail freight in this country, the reason there isn’t more of it is down to decades of under investment in the rail network, a lack of political will and overall short sightedness.. the green agenda and EU funding seems to be finally making a change to this.. Rail is also much easier to convert to electric or hydrogen power(most of the tech already exists, passenger trains in service already) as it is less weight critical than road transport(Nikola, need I say more).. It also has a much lower rolling resistance than road, as the interaction is steel on steel instead of rubber on tarmac

    Post edited by andrewfaulk on


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,516 ✭✭✭Economics101


    Even using Diesel Locos, hauling a train full of containers is less polluting than 20 or so large trucks. The main ports fro containers from ship to rail will be Waterford and Dublin for the forseeable future. (Foynes is in the wrong place - a much longer sea journey from European ports).

    If long-distance freight from Southern and Central Europe is more likely to go by container, then using rail at the Irish end will make nore sense. I realise that the potential for rail on purely domestic runs is low.

    But I can't quite fathom why Ireland is so exceptional in not going for serious rail electrification, and why there is such an obsession with at times unproven hybrid vehicles.



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    “Even using Diesel Locos, hauling a train full of containers is less polluting than 20 or so large trucks.”

    Yes, true, but completely misses the point. Rail freight isn’t economically competitive with road freight, the only way to make it competitive and attract users is via heavy government subsidy. So the question is, is this money better spent on this or instead spent on other environmental subsidies like insulating houses or building more wind farms?

    Also the above won’t be true once EV and hydrogen trucks start hitting the roads.

    “But I can't quite fathom why Ireland is so exceptional in not going for serious rail electrification, and why there is such an obsession with at times unproven hybrid vehicles.”

    That is pretty simple, it costs an awful lot of money, specially when bridges and tunnels need to be modified for it. Generally speaking our rail lines aren’t busy enough to justify the cost. Some day we might get to high enough levels to justify the Cork and Belfast lines, but all the rest won’t be electrified in any of our lifetimes.

    After all, people forget that there are lots of non electrified lines all over Europe, they are the less busy lines, more similar to most of ours.

    Technology might help with some of this. Hydrogen trains may eliminate the need for electrification at all. Or batteries on a train might allow us to partly electrify where a train can run for a few km off the overhead electric lines, thus avoiding the need to change bridges and tunnels and thus bringing down the cost of electrification.



  • Registered Users Posts: 415 ✭✭andrewfaulk


    Still trotting out the same old subsidy story after 15 odd years.. Rail freight doesn’t get subsidies in this country, it’s operated on a commercial basis and IEs rail freight department makes a postitive contribution to the groups finances even after paying outsized track access charges.. If anything freight is subsiding passenger rail.. It also ignores the fact that road does not cover its costs, as central exchequer funding is used to build road infrastructure and subsidise PPP road schemes that are under performing..

    when are we going to acutually see these hydrogen or battery powered trucks(without massive payload penalties) you keep talking about, they seem to be always 5 years away.. Self driving trucks is even more of a pipe dream, if the tech doesn’t work on wide streets and clear blue skies in Californian, what hope does it have in driving rain or snow on the N5,N26 or most other national roads in the country



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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    15 years later and rail freight still represents just 1% of all freight moved in Ireland, it is a complete failure. That is the reality.

    And you basically want the government to invest heavily in rail freight infrastructure to make it more attractive, that would be a subsidy.

    And I have no fundamental problem with such government investments, but my question is, where is the cost benefit analysis?

    How much government investment will be needed for rail freight to break even 10% of all freight? How much greenhouse emissions would that actually save? Could we gain the same or greater amount of greenhouse emissions by investing the same amount of money in another wind farm or housing insulation?

    This is my problem with this whole problem with this topic. A lot of platitudes of wouldn’t be nice if we moved more by freight be rail and wouldn’t it be better for the environment, but then no numbers on how much it will cost to achieve and no numbers on how much greenhouse emissions it will save.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,516 ✭✭✭Economics101


    You need to look at a few fundamental factors behind the problems of rail freight. First, track access charges, which are apparently among the highest in Europe. Second, motorways are subject to minimal tolls, in sharp contrast to many European countries. Third, trucks pay a much reduced level of road tax now, compared with a few years ago (thanks in part to lobbying by Verona Murphy TD, on behalf of the trucking industry).

    The economics of long distance rail versus road is largely a function of the charges, taxes and subsidies levied by Government, which in Ireland seem to be very road-friendly.

    When I look at the enormous costs the Government wants people to pay for other forms of carbon emissions reduction, the contrast with the attitude to rail electrification is immense. Also you ignore the huge operational benefits frok operating electric trains compared with hybrids or even hydrogen-based trains.

    You might like to look at the following: https://www.riagb.org.uk/RIA/Newsroom/Publications%20Folder/Why_Rail_Electrification_Report.aspx



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    “You need to look at a few fundamental factors behind the problems of rail freight.”

    I mean the fundamental factor is very simple. Small island, short distances.

    A company has to pay a trucker to move the goods to/from the warehouse to the railhead anyway, the cost of getting them to drive an extra hour or two to the nearest port is small.

    Sure, the government could put massive tolls on the roads to push freight from trucks to rail. Great you have now made thousands of truckers unemployed and bankrupt thousands of small Irish family owned business. I’m sure that will be politically popular!

    Oh and now the government has to invest heavily in rail freight infrastructure so it can handle the sudden demand. And now lots more freight trains heading through Dublins already overcrowded rail network, causing a much poor commuter service, brilliant!

    And why do all this? What is the advantage versus the current setup?

    The only argument I can see is, the environmental argument. But that will change quickly with electric trucks, etc. starting to arrive.

    The first EV articulated truck from Volvo arrived at Irish Commercials just a few days ago. Dixon International are getting them.

    We’ve all seen how quickly EV vans have arrived for the likes of Amazon/DPD/An Post, trucking will be the next area to change like this. And it will happen much faster then you could develop rail freight.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,385 ✭✭✭Markcheese


    I always thought port to port would be the ideal for Irish rail freight - well at least for containerized freight..

    It would have been possible to unloada ship at cork container port directly onto a train , and then either transfer directly to another port/ rail yard - or to the north esk freight yard for sorting ,

    Most of that infrastructure is long gone now ..

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



  • Registered Users Posts: 415 ✭✭andrewfaulk



    We have enough distance on this island for rail to have a role, hence the Ballina/Westport-Dublin/Waterford trains that currently operate.. And also, FYI both of those routes take substantially longer than an hour or two in a truck.. Yes they are small volume relative to road movements but they are living proof that rail freight can work in this country. The IWT liner in operation since 2009 has operated nearly 3600 round trips journeys which is over 60,000 containerised loads.. This was done with minimal investment from Irish rail, it uses 45 year old wagons hauled by 50 year old locos.. Now imagine what would be possible if IE could actually invest in it's freight business, bearing in mind that the last freight rolling stock was built in 2002.. I'm not saying multi-millions for new terminals in every town, targeted investment in the following would product much better results:

    1) New air-braked wagons allowing longer trains

    2) Longer passing loops to facilitate the trains(the majority of which were truncated/removed during CTC work in the early 2000s when IE had decided that freight was no more and railcars were king)

    3) Training of more drivers on Locomotive hauling freight stock

    Your battery truck sounds nice and all, and Dixons do like their toys(fairly sure they bought LNG also), but that truck is no use to me hauling 30 tonne loads, its fine for light cargo like parcels or post but the payload penalty makes it non-viable for a lot of business particularly any bulk traffic



  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 22,167 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk


    But that is the point, relatively speaking, we don't have much bulk traffic in Ireland. Most of our industries are light, we have very little heavy industry in Ireland, not much mining, some forestry.

    The majority of freight carried on Irish roads will be easily carried by EV trucks like the above Volvo's. We will be able to decarbonise the majority of freight in Ireland with such trucks. The short distances in Ireland are perfectly suited to such trucks.

    This is what I mean that the argument that we need rail freight to decarbonise is bogus. Rail freight represents less then 1% of freight in Ireland. If we want to decarbonise, we have to focus on de-carbonising the 99% and that can be done without rail freight.

    Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with increasing rail freight in general. If it doubles from 1% to 2% of all freight, great, but lets be honest, it will make feck all difference to our emissions.

    My concern though is the idea of trying to force more freight movements through the already congested Dublin rail network and the knock on effect it can have on DART and commuter services and potentially driving commuters back into their cars, more then negating any emissions benefit.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    There is pressure to make PT 24 hour based, which will affect the availability of rail capacity for freight.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,870 ✭✭✭✭Geuze


    Rosslare harbour port seems to me sort of a tight site, access-wise.

    Is there space to expand to deal with off-shore wind?

    I presume there must be.





  • I'd say so, but until plans or proposals are released its hard to say how they'll do it

    In the meantime, contracts have been signed for Terminal 7 in Rosslare




  • Registered Users Posts: 415 ✭✭andrewfaulk


    Since there is no domestic wind turbine production, it's a moot point.. The industry model is to import parts by sea(most suitable mode of transport), assemble them onshore and then ship completed components out again by sea..

    The foreshore license mentioned in the article is to add quay walls/space of vessels serving the wind industry I would imagine..





  • Rosslare getting 2.5 million of EU funding to support Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) project’s full design and planning application processes




  • Registered Users Posts: 108 ✭✭ArcadiaJunction


    countless millions of seabird slaughtered and what are these things doing to whales and orcas nervous systems. 'support' means delivering the millions of gallons of diesel they need to start turning. We should be building nuclear power stations and stop with these upper middle-class crucifixes Green Party voters pray to.



  • Registered Users Posts: 28,805 ✭✭✭✭end of the road


    nuclear power stations are unviable, not happening in ireland due to the inability to pass a BCR.

    we don't have whales in ireland to my knowledge and sea birds will be killed a lot more by smoke then turbines.

    anyway, it's out of scope for this thread but just giving you the low down on the reality.

    you can thank me later, i am always happy to help where and when i can.

    shut down alcohol action ireland now! end MUP today!



  • Registered Users Posts: 210 ✭✭millb


    Came in to Rosslare Hbr yesterday no room for a Stena Ferry which waited at sea. Place can only take 3 ships at a time. God forbid an emergency and for sure it is no good for any real offshore wind work. Nice new roads and pedestrian crossings but nothing marine wise.





  • Is this a record for a planning application? 10 years




  • Registered Users Posts: 3,473 ✭✭✭roadmaster


    There seams to be alot of wishfull thinking and propaganda reports on Bremore Port over the last few months. In the Article below they are saying they could start by 2028 but what the leave out is the lack of planning permission and a little fact they dont own the state land that they need to use.




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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,601 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    Its another Jonny Ronan venture, so it will not happen



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