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Irish Sea tunnel between Ireland and UK

  • 26-10-2010 5:45am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭ davepatr07


    I was just having a look around at transport systems worldwide and came back to a page closer to home on Wikipedia.

    I know there is much debate about the Metro North and whether it should go ahead or not, but was also interested in seeing from Wikipedia that there has been a case or a need in the past to have a tunnel (similar to the Channel tunnel) built between Ireland and the UK..

    Even if we had 20 billion (prob cost more now) to spend wouldn't it be a good idea to have an integrated rail network link to mainland Europe via the UK?

    What are your thoughts on this and can you see it happening in the future?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tusker_Tunnel


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,288 TheUsual


    How much would it cost to go from Dublin to say Austria by rail ?

    How much time would it take ?

    How often would the trains run ? And would there be a lot of change-overs and waiting times in between ?

    People can fly to their destinations at a fraction of the cost in 2 hours at the moment, unless they need a connecting flight.
    I don't see the case for a rail connection with Britain and then onto France using the Eurotunnel. The time it would take to get to your holiday destination would put everyone off.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,463 CIE


    Not really practical to think of a rail connection between Ireland and any part of Britain unless the Irish track gauge is changed from 1600mm to 1435mm. Given how skeletal the Irish railway system is now (and continues to shrink, something that ought to be anachronistic), such an expense ought to be minimal, and could start out as dual-gauge if really necessary. (Anyone who points out Spain ought to note that RENFE's international AVE high-speed network is not 1668mm broad gauge, never mind FEVE's extensive metre-gauge network.)

    Such a rail connection would serve better for freight transport rather than passenger, albeit the passenger potential is still high. Speed would not be the overriding factor for the percentage of population (as high as 40 percent) that are apprehensive about flying, although speed would attract those with no such fear; and those that suffer from seasickness as well as fear flying would eschew the ferries.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 185 ✭✭ oharach


    TheUsual wrote: »
    How much would it cost to go from Dublin to say Austria by rail ? How much time would it take ?

    How much would it cost to go from London to say Hungary by rail? How much time would it take?

    That journey would be just as unattractive by rail as Dublin-Austria, but it didn't stop them building the Channel Tunnel.

    The main passenger market would be Dublin-London of course. Some passengers would change for Paris/Brussels, which would take about 6 hours – realistically the maximum time people will travel by train (e.g. new London-Frankfurt connection from 2012.)

    Of course London – Paris/Brussels/Frankfurt/Amsterdam is a much bigger travel market than Dublin – London/(Brussels)/(Paris), so the cost-benefit would depend heavily on the freight contribution

    It's probably a long way off from being viable.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,760 ✭✭✭✭ dlofnep


    Do we really need it? Seems like a waste of money. We have ferries and flights to get us there. We can't afford such an infrastructure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 126 ✭✭ crow_eat_crow


    I suppose we would be digging ourselves out of a hole...:P


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,208 ✭✭✭ Fattes


    Would we really need to change all the Gauge in the country? Have a station in say Rosslare / Dublin Port that connects via tunnel to UK using European Guage and then have feeder lines from there.Only problem would be the high speed rail across the uk to make it worth while.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,367 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    yeah, the gauge thing is irrelevant - it would be an extension of the UK high-speed network with Dublin as a terminal station, there wouldn't need to be through-running to anywhere else on the island. Moot point really, no prospect of it ever happening unless peak-oil destroys the airline industry.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    loyatemu wrote: »
    yeah, the gauge thing is irrelevant - it would be an extension of the UK high-speed network with Dublin as a terminal station, there wouldn't need to be through-running to anywhere else on the island. Moot point really, no prospect of it ever happening unless peak-oil destroys the airline industry.

    In which case Peak oil would also destroy our ability to run an electric high-speed rail (most of our electricity comes from oil or Gas). I recall a number years ago that a price of 25-50billion was floated for cost of tunnel between Dublin and Wales (direct). Awh well just as well we have Anglo to eat up such a budget! ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,584 PCPhoto


    dlofnep wrote: »
    Do we really need it? Seems like a waste of money. We have ferries and flights to get us there. We can't afford such an infrastructure.

    please don't mention this to ANY irish politician or council official !!!! pretty please !!!

    we both know thats like a red rag to a bull ..... we dont need it and it seems like a waste of money .... the alarm bells are going off in Dublin Civic Offices as we speak - they like the idea and wish to subscribe to your newsletter !!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,086 ✭✭✭ veryangryman


    oharach wrote: »
    How much would it cost to go from London to say Hungary by rail? How much time would it take?

    That journey would be just as unattractive by rail as Dublin-Austria, but it didn't stop them building the Channel Tunnel.

    The main passenger market would be Dublin-London of course. Some passengers would change for Paris/Brussels, which would take about 6 hours – realistically the maximum time people will travel by train (e.g. new London-Frankfurt connection from 2012.)

    Of course London – Paris/Brussels/Frankfurt/Amsterdam is a much bigger travel market than Dublin – London/(Brussels)/(Paris), so the cost-benefit would depend heavily on the freight contribution

    It's probably a long way off from being viable.


    The Channel Tunnel was built in the pre-Ryanair low-fares market. Bad comparison IMO

    And it makes a loss anyway


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  • Registered Users Posts: 760 ✭✭✭ dRNk SAnTA


    The Channel Tunnel was built in the pre-Ryanair low-fares market. Bad comparison IMO

    And it makes a loss anyway

    Exactly, if a shorter tunnel between Paris and London isn't economical then one between Dublin/Rosslare and Wales is hopeless. And as others have said, who does it really benefit?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    dRNk SAnTA wrote: »
    Exactly, if a shorter tunnel between Paris and London isn't economical then one between Dublin/Rosslare and Wales is hopeless. And as others have said, who does it really benefit?

    I would think the bulk of tunnel use would be freight not passengers. Currently every product for export has to be shipped out of Ireland. Most of it via Dublin Port. Given that they run freight via Chunnel you could technically ship containers directly from Dublin to the continent by rail thus saving considerable amount of time. One of reasons Dell moved to Poland (other then cheaper salaries) was that it allowed them reduce delivery time to continental customers by a day!


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,367 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    dubhthach wrote: »
    In which case Peak oil would also destroy our ability to run an electric high-speed rail (most of our electricity comes from oil or Gas).

    well I'd expect the exhaustion of gas and oil supplies would lead to a major uptake of nuclear. Even if we didn't build our own reactor(s) the the juice for the link would probably come from the UK grid.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 185 ✭✭ oharach


    The Channel Tunnel was built in the pre-Ryanair low-fares market. Bad comparison IMO

    And it makes a loss anyway
    dRNk SAnTA wrote: »
    Exactly, if a shorter tunnel between Paris and London isn't economical then one between Dublin/Rosslare and Wales is hopeless. And as others have said, who does it really benefit?

    Maybe get your facts straight first:

    Eurotunnel turned a profit in 2008, and even in 2009 with a massive downturn in the economy, and several tunnel fires

    http://www.eurotunnel.com/ukcP3Main/ukcCorporate/ukcFinancialData/ukcKeyFigures/

    That profit will only increase as the Channel Tunnel begins to be used to its full capacity (Note Eurotunnel recently said it was only being used to about 50% capacity and could easily accommodate the new Amsterdam/Cologne/Frankfurt service.)

    I'm not advocating that we rush into this without a thorough cost-benefit analysis, but it does make me mad when people make bald assertions that they can't back up.

    [Edit: as of 14.35 the Eurotunnel corporate website is down. Hopefully the link will work later]


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,565 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui


    An interesting interpretation of 'facts'. It cost €10.8 Billion to build, lost €1.05 Billion in it's first year of operation - and an indeterminate amount for each and every of the following 11 years.

    Then it only made a profit of a whopping €1 million in 2007 - whoop de doo - a year when it received further loan guarantees of of a further €3.18 Billion.

    So, if you take the amount invested - about €14 Billion - vs the amount of profit generated so far - probably less than 100m (1m 2007, 40m 2008, ? 2009/1010) I fail to see anything remotely resembling a profit and scant prospects of the original investment being repayed within the remaining lifetime of the original investors.

    As for a tunnel linking Ireland and the uk - LoL.

    Seriously, a fleet of Antonnov AN-124s and two purpose built airports would be cheaper, quicker and more practical. Not really advocating that, but if you are talking daft ideas, it would be slightly less daft.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 185 ✭✭ oharach


    I don't think it was right to saddle Eurotunnel with the debt for constructing the tunnel. That's a failed model, and it would not be applied to the (admittedly fictional) Irish Sea tunnel. Almost every railway line in the world is massively unprofitable to build, and then profitable to run* – do you think Irish Rail would still be pro-Interconnector if it wasn't being financed by the government?

    Eurotunnel has been turning an operating profit almost every year since at least 2001 (as far back as the financial statements online go).


    *Some Irish lines are not even profitable to run..


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,565 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui


    oharach wrote: »
    I don't think it was right to saddle Eurotunnel with the debt for constructing the tunnel. That's a failed model, and it would not be applied to the (admittedly fictional) Irish Sea tunnel.

    Failed model?

    I want to make some money off traffic needing to cross the Shannon, by building a toll bridge. Would you please finance it's construction for me so I can collect the tolls. I won't pay you back, of course. :D
    Almost every railway line in the world is massively unprofitable to build, and then profitable to run* – do you think Irish Rail would still be pro-Interconnector if it wasn't being financed by the government?
    If it was up to me, I would pave over every rail corridor in the country and run Australian style road trains for freight and articulated buses for passengers on the resulting isolated road network, so you are asking the wrong person. ;)

    Eurotunnel has been turning an operating profit almost every year since at least 2001 (as far back as the financial statements online go).
    Following the restructuring, Eurotunnel was able to announce a small net profit - €1 million for 2007 - for the first time in its existence.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotunnel quoting:

    1. ^ "Pour la première fois de son histoire, Eurotunnel est devenu bénéficiaire". Le Monde. 2008-04-08. http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2008/04/08/premiers-benefices-pour-eurotunnel_1032093_3234.html. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
    2. ^ "PEurotunnel reports first profit". BBC News. 2008-04-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7335991.stm. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
    *Some Irish lines are not even profitable to run..
    Nothing surprises me about rail, except it's continued existence.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 185 ✭✭ oharach


    cnocbui wrote: »
    Failed model?

    I want to make some money off traffic needing to cross the Shannon, by building a toll bridge. Would you please finance it's construction for me so I can collect the tolls. I won't pay you back, of course. :D

    Do you think the motorway toll operators entirely paid for the motorways? Do you think the Severn crossing was paid for by its toll operators?

    There is a difference between building infrastructure (usually government funded and expensive) and running it (can often be made to turn a profit).

    The Chunnel will benefit the UK and France for generations, which is why I think more of its cost should have been publicly funded.
    cnocbui wrote: »
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurotunnel
    Following the restructuring, Eurotunnel was able to announce a small net profit - €1 million for 2007 - for the first time in its existence.

    Thanks, I'm quite aware that 2007 was the first time they made a net profit. I was talking about the operating profit. Basically that's what they would be making if they didn't have to pay back the cost of building the tunnel. And it's usually in the order of a couple of hundred million a year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭ davepatr07


    CIE wrote: »
    Given how skeletal the Irish railway system is now (and continues to shrink, something that ought to be anachronistic)

    I would have had the idea it was somehow growing (new rail line to Dunboyne, reopening of Western Rail Corridor Limerick to Galway, new rail stock etc)

    See from an operating prospective it would have to match the UK rail track with new realignments. Forgive me for being noneducational in rail operations but I had the impression the Irish tracks were similar to UK and European track width?

    I noticed both here in NZ and in Canada where I used to live the track width is tiny compared to home.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,033 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    davepatr07 wrote: »
    I would have had the idea it was somehow growing (new rail line to Dunboyne, reopening of Western Rail Corridor Limerick to Galway, new rail stock etc)

    The South Wexford line closure brings the track levels to much the same as they were before the reopenings.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,133 Stonewolf


    davepatr07 wrote: »
    I would have had the idea it was somehow growing (new rail line to Dunboyne, reopening of Western Rail Corridor Limerick to Galway, new rail stock etc)

    See from an operating prospective it would have to match the UK rail track with new realignments. Forgive me for being noneducational in rail operations but I had the impression the Irish tracks were similar to UK and European track width?

    I noticed both here in NZ and in Canada where I used to live the track width is tiny compared to home.

    The distance between tracks is known as gauge.

    One upon a time Ireland had loads of different gauges, but then (1840s) a politician was asked to standardise the gauge so the mainline railways would be interoperable. He decided to dismiss the smallest and largest gauges being considered and split the difference between what remained. We thus ended up with a gauge of 5'3 which by law all mainline railways in Ireland were required to use.

    Meanwhile in England they standardised on 4'8+1/2 which is an old mining cart gauge (incidentally this was the smallest gauge that was dismissed out of hand by our fellah) and most of the rest of the world including America and Europe followed suit with some notable exceptions (Russian gauge is sufficiently different to standard as to be uninteroperable for military reasons).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,738 ✭✭✭✭ corktina


    the distance between the RAILS is the Track Guage but more importantly there is the loading guage which enables considerably wider and higher trains to run in much of Ameriaca and Europe (etc)

    (A lot of Africa as well as p[arts of South America and The Antipodes run on 3'6" or Metre gauage too btw)


  • Registered Users Posts: 183 ✭✭ ClareVisitor


    This would be a great idea for someone like me who comes back to Ireland periodically by car (I'm thinking taking the car on the train like le shuttle). An hour or so on the train versus 3 on the boat, no seasickness (affects the wife), no weather delaying things, no bother.

    As for the cost, IMO, the role of governments in things like this is to provide the infrastructure for people to use, that's what we pay taxes for. Say it will cost half as much again as mentioned in the first post of the thread, £30bn is nothing to find between the two governments if they really wanted to. They should then run it also so that if it does make money the cost is recouped, but if not, some private operator isn't constantly being bailed out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 183 ✭✭ ClareVisitor




  • Registered Users Posts: 5,086 ✭✭✭ veryangryman



    One thing that this does highlight for me is this...

    Low cost airlines do get someone somewhere for cheap. However...

    Lets pretend the tunnel gets built. High speed railway Dublin-London vs Ryanair Dublin-Gatwick/Heathrow

    Forgetting about cost, rail takes you city centre-city centre very quickly.

    Dubliner who lives near city (say Inchicore) trip consists of ...

    ~15 minutes to Heuston/Connolly
    ~3-4 hours to London city centre

    Compare with airlines where there is....

    ~30 minutes to airport
    ~at least 1 hour waiting at check in - almost 2 if bringing bags
    ~Flight itself # 1 hour
    ~Passport control/baggage reclaim then getting the train ~30 mins~
    ~Train itself journey times to London 30mins-1 hour

    Comparing the 2, the train is definitely quicker when bringing alot of baggage (probably cheaper too with Ryanair/EI baggage costs). Bringing a family would be alot less stressful also - none of this "stranded at the airport" crap that has happened to us all, no waiting around - your always moving.

    That said, it would be even better to have a road tunnel between the 2 countries. I would happily pay a €50 toll to cross, knowing that i could bring as much as i like and be across the pond within the hour. Sure id be in Wales at that stage :eek: but id be on the mainland anyway! :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    One thing that this does highlight for me is this...

    Low cost airlines do get someone somewhere for cheap. However...

    Lets pretend the tunnel gets built. High speed railway Dublin-London vs Ryanair Dublin-Gatwick/Heathrow

    Forgetting about cost, rail takes you city centre-city centre very quickly.

    Dubliner who lives near city (say Inchicore) trip consists of ...

    ~15 minutes to Heuston/Connolly
    ~3-4 hours to London city centre

    Compare with airlines where there is....

    ~30 minutes to airport
    ~at least 1 hour waiting at check in - almost 2 if bringing bags
    ~Flight itself # 1 hour
    ~Passport control/baggage reclaim then getting the train ~30 mins~
    ~Train itself journey times to London 30mins-1 hour

    Comparing the 2, the train is definitely quicker when bringing alot of baggage (probably cheaper too with Ryanair/EI baggage costs). Bringing a family would be alot less stressful also - none of this "stranded at the airport" crap that has happened to us all, no waiting around - your always moving.

    You're not including check in times for the train.

    Eurostar:
    This depends mainly on what ticket you have. Unless you’ve been advised otherwise please check in at least 30 minutes or up to 90 minutes before your scheduled departure. You’ll see the full details below but remember that if in doubt, arrive with time to spare. And have a croissant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    Dublin <-> London is probably abit borderline, however high-speed rail would definitely compete on such routes as Dublin <-> Liverpool or Dublin <-> Manchester -- that is if the Tunnel was a direct connection from Dublin to North Wales.

    Also if there is a car shuttle service run like with the Chunnel it would definitely beat the ferry to get to North Wales.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,086 ✭✭✭ veryangryman


    dubhthach wrote: »
    the Chunnel

    Stop it. Please


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 185 ✭✭ oharach


    mgmt wrote: »
    You're not including check in times for the train.

    Eurostar check-in times are long because the journey is between Schengen and non-Schengen countries, so passport and security checks are more rigorous.

    Check-in time for Dublin-London could be as low as for the Enterprise in theory, i.e. ticket barriers close 5 minutes before departure.

    Any tunnel would probably go to North Wales to link with the planned HS line to Birmingham and most of the mooted HS line to Manchester. That is, unless we fancy forking out for HS line down to Rosslare.

    The UK would probably want a contribution for the North Wales HS line, since there's nothing worth linking there past Chester.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    oharach wrote: »
    The UK would probably want a contribution for the North Wales HS line, since there's nothing worth linking there past Chester.

    I'd say the Irish government could put the case for majority UK funding, given that it would strengthen the link between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. This could be a important selling point given the slimming majority of unionism in the North.


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