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Railway Network missing gaps

  • 17-12-2010 8:13pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 929 ✭✭✭ Brian CivilEng


    Apologies if I am indulging in a bit of crayoning here, but it's nearly Christmas sure it's the time of year for fantasy! I have just been thinking about where it may be useful to fill in missing gaps in the national rail network for the most benefit (disclaimer I am a student in transport engineering, but this is nothing to do with coursework just a personal interest). Politics aside, and I apologise in advance for focusing on Dublin as that's where I am from that is where I know, I shall leave suggestions for elsewhere to people more familiar.

    Main problem in Dublin with the current rail network is the Connolly bottleneck. While I am 100% for the interconnector I am wondering in the medium term would removing inter city traffic from Connolly help at all. Specifically the Sligo/Mullingar traffic. From a map of the rail network you can see that the Sligo and Cork lines pass within 10km of each other between Maynooth and Celbridge. Would creating a railway line branching off from the mainline just after Maynooth and joining the Cork line just before Adamstown be feasible. Send all the inter city traffic to Heuston and have Maynooth and Adamstown as interchange stations between suburban and intercity traffic. Keep the existing line between Maynooth and Connolly clear for suburban/DART services.

    Engineeringwise it is do-able, the line would have to be on embankment to cross the Liffey and M4 however that area is mostly greenfield so an alignment could be found. A few houses dotted about and the grounds of Castletown house so it would not be easy but still possible. However operationally would it be worth it?

    Positives as I see it, consolidate more intercity traffic to Heuston, open up a few extra paths through Connolly, separate stopping and express services on the Maynooth line and get more use out of the large station in Adamstown and four tracked section of line into Heuston. Also adds a bit of redundancy into the network. Negatives, may not suit Mullingar commuters, high level line needed to cross M4, no new areas served.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,998 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    Reopening the Mullingar-Athlone line and reinstating the missing movement at Glasnevin Junction would be my relatively similar "missing gap" tasks to start with.


  • Registered Users Posts: 721 mk6705


    I really dislike your idea of using Adamstown as an interchange station, anything that slows down InterCity services is a bad thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,419 ✭✭✭ Cool Mo D


    Apologies if I am indulging in a bit of crayoning here, but it's nearly Christmas sure it's the time of year for fantasy! I have just been thinking about where it may be useful to fill in missing gaps in the national rail network for the most benefit (disclaimer I am a student in transport engineering, but this is nothing to do with coursework just a personal interest). Politics aside, and I apologise in advance for focusing on Dublin as that's where I am from that is where I know, I shall leave suggestions for elsewhere to people more familiar.

    Main problem in Dublin with the current rail network is the Connolly bottleneck. While I am 100% for the interconnector I am wondering in the medium term would removing inter city traffic from Connolly help at all. Specifically the Sligo/Mullingar traffic. From a map of the rail network you can see that the Sligo and Cork lines pass within 10km of each other between Maynooth and Celbridge. Would creating a railway line branching off from the mainline just after Maynooth and joining the Cork line just before Adamstown be feasible. Send all the inter city traffic to Heuston and have Maynooth and Adamstown as interchange stations between suburban and intercity traffic. Keep the existing line between Maynooth and Connolly clear for suburban/DART services.

    Engineeringwise it is do-able, the line would have to be on embankment to cross the Liffey and M4 however that area is mostly greenfield so an alignment could be found. A few houses dotted about and the grounds of Castletown house so it would not be easy but still possible. However operationally would it be worth it?

    Positives as I see it, consolidate more intercity traffic to Heuston, open up a few extra paths through Connolly, separate stopping and express services on the Maynooth line and get more use out of the large station in Adamstown and four tracked section of line into Heuston. Also adds a bit of redundancy into the network. Negatives, may not suit Mullingar commuters, high level line needed to cross M4, no new areas served.

    I definitely think it's a good idea. As a plus, it could knock 30 minutes off commuter trains to Dublin (although they would end up at Heuston instead of Connolly). It makes even more sense with the Interconnector.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    It's a great idea.

    Anyone any idea on how much it would cost?

    Might finally put an end to the constant delays on the Maynooth commuter service.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,884 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    would be more effective IMO to add a third track to Clonsilla-Glasnevin Junction and send all IC services to Docklands.

    There's loads that could be done to speed up overall journey times but they involve focing people to make changes they currently don't make. I would terminate either all Maynooth DARTs in Connolly P7 or all Malahide DARTs in Connolly P4 and force passengers to change to the other line, which would significantly reduce conflicting movements and allow more reliable operations all round. Howth-Howth Junction would obviously also become a 2 car shuttle, timed to meet arriving/departing DARTs at the junction.

    The problem is people see changing trains as a reduction in service, even though it might mean a faster and more reliable overall journey. They then write to their TD who then puts pressure on the minister who then rings CIE and nothing happens.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 581 Transportuser09


    Im sure there would be uproar as Heuston is further from the city centre than Connolly, even though its existing commuters seem to cope.

    Had the RPA not laid claim to it reopening the old line to Broadstone would probably have been a more ideal solution.

    As it stands, I think the proposed DU plans are a better solution to solving the Connolly bottleneck than sending Sligo trains to Heuston, Docklands is nearer the city centre than Heuston. Regardless I think it is more the suburban services that use up most of the capacity than the Sligo trains.


  • Registered Users Posts: 929 ✭✭✭ Brian CivilEng


    Obviously I'm a huge supporter of the interconnector (or the my gaff in Raheny to the Bull and Castle in Christchurch express as I like to call it). It's the biggest missing gap in the rail network in the city.


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


    Might be cheaper (i.e. less pricey) to do a grade separated curve from the east end of Broombridge Station diving under the intended Line D depot site and the Batchelors Plant on Bannow Road to a flat junction with the Park Tunnel cutting at Fassaugh Avenue bridge. Sligo trains would henceforth operate from Heuston P10, with Connolly passengers joining at Clonsilla or Maynooth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 897 crucamim


    MYOB wrote: »
    Reopening the Mullingar-Athlone line and reinstating the missing movement at Glasnevin Junction would be my relatively similar "missing gap" tasks to start with.

    What is meant by "the missing movement as Glasnevin Junction"?


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,998 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    crucamim wrote: »
    What is meant by "the missing movement as Glasnevin Junction"?

    Trains can't come from the park tunnel and go on to the Midland line to head to Docklands. They used to be able to, but the trackwork isn't present anymore.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 897 crucamim


    MYOB wrote: »
    Trains can't come from the park tunnel and go on to the Midland line to head to Docklands. They used to be able to, but the trackwork isn't present anymore.

    Thank you. I suspected that is what you meant.

    Is it not the case that, when the trackwork existed to allow trains coming from the Phoenix Park tunnel to join the Midland line along the canal, there was no trackwork to allow them to take the line through Drumcondra station?

    I am no expert on railway infrastructure BUT I suspect there would be very serious safety implications in having a double junction in such a short length of track. By "double junction" I mean having the trackwork for trains coming from Drumcondra Station to continue out west towards Maynooth and, at the same place (or nearly the same place), having the trackwork for trains which had come out of Docklands on the Midland Line to cross over to the other line to go under the canal (and railway) towards the Phoenix Park.

    It may well be that I am talking through my hat. What I know about railway infrastructure is not worth knowing. Perhaps, someone with expertise in this field could add to my knowledge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 304 ✭✭ runway16


    1) Interconnector
    2) Athlone - Mullingar. Its ridiculous that the "Midland gateway" towns which are advertised on the fancy signs as being connected, arent actually connected save for a poor secondary road.
    3) Cork - Limerick - Galway direct running
    4) Heavy rail link to Dublin airport, with Belfast and Sligo trains calling there.
    5) Limerick - Ennis - Galway line serving Shannon airport


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,998 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    crucamim wrote: »
    Thank you. I suspected that is what you meant.

    Is it not the case that, when the trackwork existed to allow trains coming from the Phoenix Park tunnel to join the Midland line along the canal, there was no trackwork to allow them to take the line through Drumcondra station?

    No idea.
    crucamim wrote: »
    I am no expert on railway infrastructure BUT I suspect there would be very serious safety implications in having a double junction in such a short length of track. By "double junction" I mean having the trackwork for trains coming from Drumcondra Station to continue out west towards Maynooth and, at the same place (or nearly the same place), having the trackwork for trains which had come out of Docklands on the Midland Line to cross over to the other line to go under the canal (and railway) towards the Phoenix Park.

    It may well be that I am talking through my hat. What I know about railway infrastructure is not worth knowing. Perhaps, someone with expertise in this field could add to my knowledge.


    It works in Transport Tycoon :pac:

    Realistically it doesn't seen in any way dangerous. Signals would be there to stop traffic coming through no matter what manoeuvres are going on and the presence of points doesn't make something more dangerous if the correct speed restrictions are in place

    Of course a grade seperated junction would be nicer but impossibly destructive to put in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    Bit of kite flying.

    Nobody uses the canal between Maynooth and Dublin.

    Fill it in and let the ICs and outer commuters use the new tracks.

    That'll give the Dunboyne and Maynooth lines much improved reliability.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    Zebra3 wrote: »
    Bit of kite flying.

    Nobody uses the canal between Maynooth and Dublin.

    Fill it in and let the ICs and outer commuters use the new tracks.

    That'll give the Dunboyne and Maynooth lines much improved reliability.

    You forgot the :D face. I take it you're obviously having a laugh.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    Actually, I'm not.

    The canal was originally built to move goods (and people?). It doesn't serve that purpose any more. All it seems to be used for is for people to walk along it.

    So why not bring the land back into the use it was originally intended for? :confused:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    The Maynooth/Dublin line is already double track and four tracking it would achieve little as it is the platform capacity at Connolly Station that is the problem rather than number of running lines on the section to Maynooth. Your suggestion of filling in the Royal Canal is the sort of Philistine thinking that bedevilled this country in the 1970s leaving us with the Civic Bunkers on Wood Quay, the Frascati Shopping Centre at Blackrock and the ESB offices at Fitzwilliam Street.
    civic.gif
    1241022760427IMG2070124585.png
    ESB-HO-EXTERIOR.JPG

    I really thought we had moved on from there? The fact that the Royal Canal is still little used, after millions being spent on its restoration, reflects more on those charged with developing tourism in Ireland than the potential of the canal itself. In the UK leisure activity on canals is a massive draw and in fact canals are quite congested with pleasure craft but of course this is Ireland where we do things differently. :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,266 ✭✭✭ patrickbrophy18


    I have often thaught as per dowlingm's comment on Line D that Broadstone Station should be re-instated for heavy rail use. I am aware that Connolly is a bottleneck for rail traffic. However, Broadstone Station (sorry, bus depot) has a huge amount of potential if it were to be re-instated for heavy rail use. I am also for DART Underground and the use of the Phoenix Park Tunnel for Passenger services. If a second 3km underground DART line where to be bored from Broadstone Station to St Stephen's Green with additonal stops at Jervis and Temple Bar, it would fill the last remaining gap of the city center transport jigsaw puzzle. Basically, people living in Cherrywood or Sandyford who go to college in NUI Maynooth would only have to make a change at St. Stephen's Green. In a similar vain, people from Maynooth, Leixlip or Blanchardstown wishing to go to Dundrum or Sandyford would change at St. Stephens Green for the LUAS.

    As well as this, it would also free up a huge amount of space at Connolly for passenger services through the Phoenix Park Tunnel where there is a huge demand. While the existance of the Red Luas Line between The Point and Heuston is somewhat plausible, it is quite redundant between The Point and Connolly itself given that there is already an extensive and under-used network of heavy rail infrastrucure along this stretch. Nevermind the fact that this mico rail network feeds to The Phoenix Park Tunnel. In fact, given that the end of this heavy rail infrastructure is beside a fully functional cargo and ferry port makes it an ideal asset for international interchange. It is by a similar demonstration that a lack of vision undermines the potential of the Rosslare Europort, Waterford, Cork and Galway lines and their respective sea ports.

    On the note of a Dublin Port Railway Station. In time, a new rail line could be built with relative ease between the hypothetical Dublin Port and Blackrock DART Stations. Perhaps, it could complement the Eastern Bypass Route often discussed on similar forums. This could accompany land reclamation and coastal town center development projects which should help in boosting coastal defences from predicted sea-level rizes. I can remember a plan which surfaced half a decade ago from the short-lived Progressive Democrats which envisaged a rather unrealistic plan to transform the port and surrounding environs into a Manhattan type skyline. I am also aware that the Dublin City Council currently have a similar plan in mind which would give cause to the construction of the aforementioned rail line.

    In relation to murphaph's comment on the possibility of a Howth Junction shuttle DART to Howth itself, it could be an absolute ingenious concept or a complete flop depending on how you look at it. I am often hearing stories of how the frequency of service between the Howth and Malahide stretches is completely unballanced. This can also be exacerbated by the Christmas/New Year timetable changes. It is here where an interchange at Howth Junction could work in the favour of passengers from both lines. Lets not forget that the Malahide Stretch is also shared by Commuter and Enterprize services from Louth and Belfast respectively without worrying about the complications of a switch track for the Howth section. This often leaves the longer distance services open to huge delays. As such this paragraph and those preceeding it highlight exactly how the overall rail infrastructure in Dublin and nationwide isn't being used to it's potential.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,646 ✭✭✭ thomasj



    I really thought we had moved on from there? The fact that the Royal Canal is still little used, after millions being spent on its restoration, reflects more on those charged with developing tourism in Ireland than the potential of the canal itself. In the UK leisure activity on canals is a massive draw and in fact canals are quite congested with pleasure craft but of course this is Ireland where we do things differently. :rolleyes:

    I have seen it quiet busy at times especially over the summer. The royal canal boat cruises seem to do well, alongwith fishing etc

    Of course the damn river is frozen over at the moment! So not much going on! :D


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


    Kinda funny that they spent over 30years restoring the Royal Canal and now you propose filling in a section of it's mainline. Only in Ireland :rolleyes:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    murphaph wrote: »
    I would terminate either all Maynooth DARTs in Connolly P7 or all Malahide DARTs in Connolly P4 and force passengers to change to the other line, which would significantly reduce conflicting movements and allow more reliable operations all round.

    Got the 15:44 Maynooth service from Connolly on Tuesday and it left from Platform 4. Thought this was very odd.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Zebra3 wrote: »
    Got the 15:44 Maynooth service from Connolly on Tuesday and it left from Platform 4. Thought this was very odd.

    Only odd when it comes to Irish Rail. Connolly shed is in fact the short term "missing link" in their system right down to what was platform 1. Its empty most of the day and perfect for terminating extra trains.

    *Cue* - somebody telling me why it can't be done.:rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 581 Transportuser09


    DWCommuter wrote: »
    Only odd when it comes to Irish Rail. Connolly shed is in fact the short term "missing link" in their system right down to what was platform 1. Its empty most of the day and perfect for terminating extra trains.

    *Cue* - somebody telling me why it can't be done.:rolleyes:

    Could split-signalling (is that the term?) help? That is have the platform(s) signalled to allow two passenger trains on the one track. Its done in other countries, but the length of the individual trains would be limited. Although the Pace-Docklands services are only 4 cars so maybe it could work. The problem could be in the evening peak when most Drogheda and Maynooth services are eight cars long.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,170 ✭✭✭✭ Captain Chaos


    The problem could be in the evening peak when most Drogheda and Maynooth services are eight cars long.

    8 car DMU sets do operate and terminate at platform 1 in Connolly. The first/last door though is on the platform ramp.

    There is no problem with more than one train leaving a section of track where only one enters at stations. I have watched many times at Connolly. A 141 class hauling a DART set from Inchicore would terminate at p4. Another DART set would arrive from Fairview and the two sets would couple up and leave then the 141 would leave after. It's done all the time or was with shunt releasing locos.


  • Registered Users Posts: 581 Transportuser09


    Sorry what I meant was could you fit say, a four car M3/Pace train and a eight car Drogheda/Maynooth set, with a suitable gap in between, on one platform (platform 4 is the only one I can think of that might be long enough). I've seen two trains use the one platform in Belfast Central. I'm sure there would be room for two four-car railcars but as capacity would be at its scarcist in the morning/evening peak then this would be when many commuter services would be eight car, so it would not be much use if it could only take two four-car sets. On the other hand if this was possible it would mean an newly constructed asset going unused if no trains served Docklands at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ coolperson05


    Sorry what I meant was could you fit say, a four car M3/Pace train and a eight car Drogheda/Maynooth set, with a suitable gap in between, on one platform (platform 4 is the only one I can think of that might be long enough). I've seen two trains use the one platform in Belfast Central. I'm sure there would be room for two four-car railcars but as capacity would be at its scarcist in the morning/evening peak then this would be when many commuter services would be eight car, so it would not be much use if it could only take two four-car sets. On the other hand if this was possible it would mean an newly constructed asset going unused if no trains served Docklands at all.

    Just wondering why the Docklands isn't used more anyway? Like if they put some intercity trains in there? Isn't it connected by Luas to the Red line anyway so it's similar to trains arriving in Heuston i.e. You need the Luas to get anywhere?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 DWCommuter


    Just wondering why the Docklands isn't used more anyway? Like if they put some intercity trains in there? Isn't it connected by Luas to the Red line anyway so it's similar to trains arriving in Heuston i.e. You need the Luas to get anywhere?


    Docklands and the entire Spencer Dock site was developed by CIE with property first, transport second. CIE have always treated their core function as a kind of allergic reaction. A bit like that spot you constantly treat but won't go away.

    Docklands can't do Heuston intercity services because its not connected to the PPT. Realistically Spencer Dock could have and should have been developed as a replacement for Heuston, but the half hearted quest for the Interconnector and the drive for being a property magnet cursed the site into oblivion. What exists now is a "temporary" station that will still be there when our kids are grandparents.

    CIE are the worst transport company in the developed world and no amount of excuse making will change that. Every last one of its employees and management need to be sat down and made see the error of their well established ways and then be subjected to a cull to end all culls. I have absolutely no respect for any of them in their capacity as employees of that company. Fortunately my humanitarian nature still accepts them as people in this world, but even that is being tested on a daily basis.


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


    I have often thaught as per dowlingm's comment on Line D that Broadstone Station should be re-instated for heavy rail use.
    I disagree. Dublin is not so large that we need yet another terminal station. If frequent DARTs were sent into Broadstone it would cause substantial conflicts with service ex Connolly just as with Howth and the Northern Line. As for tunnelling from Broadstone, the diagonal route from Broadstone to Stephen's Green is almost certain to hit something problematic since apart from Lower Domenick Street there are no convenient streets to use in minimise impacts on foundations. Not saying it can't be done, but it's not a no-brainer either.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    A question that's not really a "missing gap" but more of a lack of use of existing track...

    Why can a Belfast-Dublin or outer suburban train not be put onto the other track to overtake a DART during the morning rush hour?

    For eg, why can the Dublin destined IC or OS train when it hits say Howth Junction not be put on the other track and then when it passes the DART at Kilbarrack or Raheny be brought back onto the usual southbound track?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,419 ✭✭✭ Cool Mo D


    Since we're on the subject of crayoning, I put together a map of what a better, and possibly cheaper alternative to 4-tracking the Northern Line.

    It involves 4 tracking Connolly to Clontarf, a tunnel from north of Clontarf station to near the M1-M50 interchange, and an above ground line along the M1 to Rush and Lusk, with an airport parkway station at the airport M1 interchange. The DART would terminate at new platforms at Rush and Lusk station.

    It would likely be cheaper than 4-tracking the northern line, as no houses would have to be aqcuired, no stations would have to be rebuilt (except Clontarf road), and there would be no need for any undergroud stations. The airport would be served by either a people-mover or the same shuttle buses as the long-term car park.

    Map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid= 213422641025856065467.00049bc559e9b6167c92d


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