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Irish Times - Proposal to bring train journey times between cities below two hours

  • 29-08-2011 10:33am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0829/1224303143746.html
    Proposal to bring train journey times between cities below two hours
    TIM O'BRIEN

    TRAIN TRAVEL times of less than two hours between Dublin and the regional cities of Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway are being proposed by Iarnród Éireann.

    The move, in response to faster travel times on the State’s new motorways, would see work get under way on the development of high speed services to Cork and Galway beginning next year.

    The plan is subject, however, to Government approval of an additional €175 million in funding – or €35 million a year between 2012 and 2016 – to improve speeds to Cork and Galway.

    Phase two of the plan would tackle speeds on the routes between Dublin and Limerick and Dublin and Waterford.

    Iarnród Éireann believes the move is necessary because currently it cannot compete with the shorter travel times offered by new motorways.

    Decline in passenger numbers is inevitable without faster services to compete with car journeys already taking about two hours to Galway and less than three hours to Cork.

    Iarnród Éireann has told the Government it wants to cut about 30 minutes off rail travel times to Cork and Galway as the first phase of its initiative.

    At present just 50km of the 263km Dublin to Cork route is capable of the desired 160km/h inter-city speed.

    None of the Dublin to Galway route is capable of running at 160km/h. The maximum speed between the cities is 130km/h – and that is available on just over half of the route.

    Phase one would also have knock-on benefits for other services to and from Limerick, Kerry and Mayo as major sections of these journeys (Dublin-Limerick Junction for Limerick, Dublin-Mallow for Kerry, and Dublin-Athlone for Mayo) would see line speeds improve.

    The company has estimated the cost of the 2012-2016 programme at €175 million, or approximately €35 million per annum.

    The phase one works would lead to journey time improvements on each route as follows:

    * Dublin to Cork would see an improvement of 25 minutes, reducing typical journey times to about two hours and 20 minutes.

    * Dublin to Galway would improve by 33 minutes to under two hours and seven minutes.

    * Dublin-Westport/Ballina would see knock-on journey time improvements of 22 minutes to about three hours and five minutes.

    * Dublin to Limerick journey time improvements of 16 minutes would lead to travel times of about two hours.

    * Some 20 minutes would be shaved off the almost four-hour journey from Dublin to Killarney/ Tralee.

    * Dublin to Waterford journey time improvement would be seven minutes, bringing the trip down to about two hours and 13 minutes.

    The company said its long-term goal would be to reduce speeds further, bringing all inter-city travel within the two-hour time frame.

    The new Intercity fleet – 67 CAF Intercity carriages operating on the Dublin-Cork fleet, and the 183-carriage Intercity railcar fleet on other routes – is capable of 160 km/h speeds, so no further investment in fleet would be required.

    Given the timing of this I'm assuming it's basically a pre-budget submission to try and reduce any cuts that might come in at Budget time? Of course to reduce Galway trip by 33 minutes I'm assuming they are gonna have to put some double track in? it's all very vague not too surprising when it comes to IÉ, Opinions?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    This just goes to show the ineptitude of Irish Rail.

    They spent 100's of millions on new trains and track upgrades for safety over the past 10 years, but at the same time they didn't bother asking for the relatively little extra money to reduce journey times!!!

    Well IMO IR should be told where to stick it. As attractive as it would be to reduce times, I don't think the reductions are great enough to justify that money when times are so tight and there are much more needy projects out there.

    I don't think making the train a little faster is going to make it competitive with the road. Take Cork to Dublin (I'm a Corkonian living in Dublin) as an example.

    - Train takes 2:20
    - Car takes 2:20 but door to door (obviously varies where you live, but IME of a few friends they all say the same)
    - Car is cheaper (specially if you take a friend, partner, car pool, etc.)
    - You get to use your car at both ends

    Of course train has it's advantages, like being able to do work/watch a movie on it. But the point being reducing the time isn't going to make any difference to those who already have decided to switch to car.

    So I would argue, instead license direct non stop bus services between all our cities (doesn't require any subsidy) and spend the 175 million on other more important projects (hospitals, education, public transport in cities, etc.).

    When times improve and we have more money, we should of course take a look at this again, but not now.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    I told the useless cnuts as much 3 years ago! :(

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=57243855&postcount=6
    The Galway - Dublin train will be no faster than it was in 1968 or even possibly 1948 ( well over 2 hours) while a car will do it in less than 2 hours outside the rush hour ...by 2010.

    The move will more likely be to EXPRESS buses at the expense of rail post 2010 .

    The Motorways will simply murder Iarnród Éireann I fear .


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,329 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    It's a shame that IR, even in boom times, only ever seemed interested in doing the absolute minimum to keep up with the competition. Whenever I use an intercity service I've found the trains relatively busy so, anecedotally, the demand for services is there.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    The fact is that for a country the size and population density of Ireland, road is the most appropriate means of transporting goods and people.
    For rail to become competitive with road transport, large government investment and cost differential funding would be required. Would this investment would provide value for money? - the short answer is absolutely not!

    In Ireland, the dispersed and relatively low density pattern of residential development results in demand for many rail movements being too low to make it viable to provide for high-frequency, competitively priced rail transport options. It is likely that even an unrealistically high level of investment and impractically ambitious programme of improvement to the inter-urban rail network would only have a small impact on traffic levels.

    So to sum up, IE should be told to p;ss off.

    One could even go as far as to question why we need an inter-urban rail system in Ireland at all. We transport less than 1% of freight by rail (and this is falling all the time). Express coach services are quicker, more economical and more environmentally friendly than running trains.

    So here's a radical sugestion - scrap IE entirely - unless of course anyone can give me a single reason why we need it.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    Chop it from Portlaoise southwest and Portarlington west and Kildare or Kilkenny and Arklow southeast....leaving a commuter network to Dublin. They won't carry freight so they have no other use.

    Spend the money on express buses/express roads instead.


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


    The fact is that for a country the size and population density of Ireland, road is the most appropriate means of transporting goods and people.
    For rail to become competitive with road transport, large government investment and cost differential funding would be required. Would this investment would provide value for money? - the short answer is absolutely not!

    In Ireland, the dispersed and relatively low density pattern of residential development results in demand for many rail movements being too low to make it viable to provide for high-frequency, competitively priced rail transport options. It is likely that even an unrealistically high level of investment and impractically ambitious programme of improvement to the inter-urban rail network would only have a small impact on traffic levels.

    So to sum up, IE should be told to p;ss off.

    One could even go as far as to question why we need an inter-urban rail system in Ireland at all. We transport less than 1% of freight by rail (and this is falling all the time). Express coach services are quicker, more economical and more environmentally friendly than running trains.

    So here's a radical sugestion - scrap IE entirely - unless of course anyone can give me a single reason why we need it.

    Congratulations on one of the most short sighted, evidence free posts in the forum. The government has spent 16 billion in the last 10 years subsidising a motorway network that is vastly under capacity, while the total amount spent subsidising the railway is less than half a percent of the Governments yearly budget.
    Even now, the Government is spending 97 million on the Tralee bypass, which doesn't even bypass the main route to Dingle, meaning it's only useful to a handful of people in Tralee. Spending under 200 million to greatly improve intercity journey times (note: cities, not dispersed settlements are what are being served here), is well worth it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    Get rid of Irish Rail and bring in the Europeans to run our railways. People who actually have a clue.

    Irish Rail just don't seem to give a crap until its too late and they realise their jobs are at risk. Lose them - they're holding back the country at this stage.


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


    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    Congratulations on one of the most short sighted, evidence free posts in the forum. The government has spent 16 billion in the last 10 years subsidising a motorway network that is vastly under capacity, while the total amount spent subsidising the railway is less than half a percent of the Governments yearly budget.
    Even now, the Government is spending 97 million on the Tralee bypass, which doesn't even bypass the main route to Dingle, meaning it's only useful to a handful of people in Tralee. Spending under 200 million to greatly improve intercity journey times (note: cities, not dispersed settlements are what are being served here), is well worth it.

    Where's the €16 billion figure coming from? According to Irish Times last year total cost of Intercity Motorway network was €8billion, of which €5.3 billion came from the exchequer. that's a third of your €16b figure

    See thread here:
    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=66011731


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    Congratulations on one of the most short sighted, evidence free posts in the forum. The government has spent 16 billion in the last 10 years subsidising a motorway network that is vastly under capacity, while the total amount spent subsidising the railway is less than half a percent of the Governments yearly budget.
    Even now, the Government is spending 97 million on the Tralee bypass, which doesn't even bypass the main route to Dingle, meaning it's only useful to a handful of people in Tralee. Spending under 200 million to greatly improve intercity journey times (note: cities, not dispersed settlements are what are being served here), is well worth it.


    Well done on all the evidence you've provided.

    Let's make this simple.

    Give me a reason why we need an inter-urban rail service and I'll tell you why you're wrong.

    I might even use 'evidence'.

    Go on - just one reason will do.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    Ever since I can remember IE have been constantly promising the magic 2 hours Galway - Dublin journey time with every investment round. I no more believe them than I do the tooth fairy. Get rid of the parasites. :(


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


    dubhthach wrote: »
    Where's the €16 billion figure coming from? According to Irish Times last year total cost of Intercity Motorway network was €8billion, of which €5.3 billion came from the exchequer. that's a third of your €16b figure

    See thread here:
    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=66011731

    16 billion is the NRA's expenditure over the last 10 years. A lot of that is justified, but all of that represents a subsidy from taxpayers to our road network.


  • Registered Users Posts: 327 ✭✭ jc84


    Can't they just upgrade it to high speed rail, even 2 hours from Limerick to Dublin is a joke, rail in Ireland is so slow


  • Registered Users Posts: 162 ✭✭ Mack_1111


    D.L.R. wrote: »
    Get rid of Irish Rail and bring in the Europeans to run our railways. People who actually have a clue.


    The Mc Carthy report suggested that CIE should be privatised! The French company that very successfully runs the LUAS has approached the Government with proposals to take over/run Dublin bus! I'd imagine if IR could be run as a going companies would be looking for that to!


  • Registered Users Posts: 162 ✭✭ Mack_1111


    That should read "going concern then companies"


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    dubhthach wrote: »
    Where's the €16 billion figure coming from? According to Irish Times last year total cost of Intercity Motorway network was €8billion, of which €5.3 billion came from the exchequer. that's a third of your €16b figure

    See thread here:
    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=66011731

    Come on now, you're well aware that there was a significant spend by the NRA on projects over the past decade or so that weren't in the "intercity motorway network'' spend which that article was concerned with. Shur the M50 upgrade was the guts of a billion on it's own, nevermind the cost of buying out the toll.

    175 million seems quite reasonable given the overall benefits it will give in terms of time saved. It's the cost equivalent of one road bypass of a small to medium sized town like Ennis, or indeed the cost of re-opening the WRC:rolleyes:.


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


    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    16 billion is the NRA's expenditure over the last 10 years. A lot of that is justified, but all of that represents a subsidy from taxpayers to our road network.

    The €16b also includes all non motorway national roads as well as maintenance. Your claim that €16b was spent on just the "Motorway network" doesn't hold water.


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


    Come on now, you're well aware that there was a significant spend by the NRA on projects over the past decade or so that weren't in the "intercity motorway network'' spend which that article was concerned with. Shur the M50 upgrade was the guts of a billion on it's own, nevermind the cost of buying out the toll.

    175 million seems quite reasonable given the overall benefits it will give in terms of time saved. It's the cost equivalent of one road bypass of a small to medium sized town like Ennis, or indeed the cost of re-opening the WRC:rolleyes:.

    you missing my point. Cool McD took 10 years of NRA budgeting and used that to make the following point:
    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    The government has spent 16 billion in the last 10 years subsidising a motorway network that is vastly under capacity

    If you are going to make a statement about the actual costs at least be scientific and add up the relevant costs.

    As for WRC, my stated opinion was that the money should never have been spent on it. Instead it should have been used to at least Dual track Galway to Athenry or to improve other sections of mainline.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    The inter-urban road network developed may have cost a significant amount of money - but it is by far the more economical option compared with rail.

    In terms of cost per km of motorway constructed we're about average with EU members - this figure is nothing short of amazing when you consider that our land acquisition costs are the highest in the EU.

    In other words - our private sector contractors/engineers were able to compensate for the fact that the IFA screwed billions out of the tax-payer because of our spineless government civil servants and their little deal with the IFA around 2002.

    The last thing this country should be doing is giving more money to public bodies like IE.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    dubhthach wrote: »
    you missing my point. Cool McD took 10 years of NRA budgeting and used that to make the following point:


    If you are going to make a statement about the actual costs at least be scientific and add up the relevant costs.
    .

    Indeed the 16bn figure Cool McD argued may be a little on the high side but The 5.3 bn figure you've cited is definitely on the low side.

    The M50 upgrades, the DPT, the M11 builds, M18, N22/25 projects are amongst the many costly projects on the 'network' not included in the calculations in the article you've cited.

    Given the benefits of the modestly costed IE proposal versus the benefits offered by some of the more dubious roads projects given funding over the past decade or so then Cool McD's overall point is accurate - you need public subsidies in order to build a world class infrastructure- which our motorway network most certainly is, but which our railway network most certainly isn't.

    Nitpick about the figures all you like but if the state is in the position to build bypasses of small towns, even in times of fiscal crisis, then it should be well able to commit to funding a railway upgrade programme of equal cost but of far greater merit.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    Spend the money on express buses/express roads instead.

    And you don't even need to spend money on it, just license the routes to private operators and you are done.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    The inter-urban road network developed may have cost a significant amount of money - but it is by far the more economical option compared with rail.

    Now there's a shock. It's cheaper to build motorways through the pristine, empty Irish countryside then it is to build rail projects through dense urban Dublin?

    Who knew?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭ Judgement Day


    Well done on all the evidence you've provided.

    Let's make this simple.

    Give me a reason why we need an inter-urban rail service and I'll tell you why you're wrong.

    I might even use 'evidence'.

    Go on - just one reason will do.

    Like many people you see CIE/IE as bad therefore railways per se are also bad. If you start from this standpoint there's no point in arguing with you. Ireland has more roads per head of the population than any other country in Western Europe and that was in 1948 when the Milne Report came out - before the motorways were built - how is it going to be sustained and is it sustainable from a strategic point of view anyway?


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


    Saying the motorway network is economical is pure fantasy. Not a single one of the interurban routes has enough traffic to justify a motorway link the whole way, and that includes Dublin - Cork.

    What I can't believe is that people believe that a very modest investment in the rail network, which will produce significant time savings for millions of people every year, is a waste of money, while defending massive overspending on the roads, by a state organisation probably more inefficient than Irish Rail.

    From an infrastructure perspective, obviously the motorway network is nice to have, but from the same perspective, a good railway network is equally justified.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    Like many ppeople you see CIE/IE as bad therefore railways per se are also bad. If you start from this standpoint there's no point in arguing with you. Ireland has more roads per head of the population than any other country in Western Europe and this was before the motorways were built - how is it going to be sustained and is it sustainable from a strategic point of view anyway?

    Well, that's one way to avoid having an argument that you feel you're going to lose I suppose.

    The statistic you quote is meaningless by the way in terms of the argument.

    And regards your question on sustainability, you'll need to re-phrase it if you want an answer as at present I've no idea what you actually mean.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    JD, I've asked you and others the same question multiple times and I have yet to get an answer.

    Please give us one single reason why Intercity Rail should continue to exist in Ireland?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    Now there's a shock. It's cheaper to build motorways through the pristine, empty Irish countryside then it is to build rail projects through dense urban Dublin?

    Who knew?


    Do you know what inter-urban means?
    Look it up before you embarrass yourself (again).


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Again Cool Mo D that is no answer.

    Please give us a single justification for intercity rail to continue to exist in Ireland?

    You can certainly argue that the motorway network was over engineered, no argument there.

    But the reality is we have it now and that money has already been spent. So the question now is do we continue to pump money into intercity rail for in my opinion, no justifiable reason or do we maximise the investment in the motorways, license direct non stop bus services and instead spend the money on other more needy projects?

    Again what is the justification for the continued heavy investment and subsidy of intercity rail in Ireland?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,298 ✭✭✭ Frank Black


    Cool Mo D wrote: »
    Saying the motorway network is economical is pure fantasy. Not a single one of the interurban routes has enough traffic to justify a motorway link the whole way, and that includes Dublin - Cork.

    What I can't believe is that people believe that a very modest investment in the rail network, which will produce significant time savings for millions of people every year, is a waste of money, while defending massive overspending on the roads, by a state organisation probably more inefficient than Irish Rail.

    From an infrastructure perspective, obviously the motorway network is nice to have, but from the same perspective, a good railway network is equally justified.


    Quite simply the most incorrect statement I've read on board in months (and I spend a lot of time in AH!).

    At the risk of repeating myself and others - please provided one reason as to why we need an inter-city service. You don't need to worry about 'equal justification', just one single reason.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,017 invinciblePRSTV


    Do you know what inter-urban means?
    Look it up before you embarrass yourself (again).

    The only one embarrassing themselves here is you with your pompous know it all attitude. You're all talk lad.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 ✭✭✭✭ Judgement Day


    bk wrote: »
    JD, I've asked you and others the same question multiple times and I have yet to get an answer.

    Please give us one single reason why Intercity Rail should continue to exist in Ireland?

    One reason - in case you haven't noticed, things are slowing down - Concorde is gone and even the fast ferries are running at reduced speeds to save on their fuel consumption. We are approaching a major crisis in fuel supply in the years ahead as consumption in Third World countries such as China/India and Russia increases (not to mention South America and Africa) - increasing prices, dwindling supplies - it's not rocket science as to where it's going to lead.

    Rail is needed for the future and is too important to left to halfwits in CIE and the Dept.of Transport whose only interest is in the lump or golden handshake. Countries that will prosper in the future are the ones that prepare for the forthcoming crises not the ones who bury their heads in the sand.

    Incidentally, I find it amusing to see that dubhthach - a Mod for Infrastructure - is so anti rail and it's typical of a country where politicians and the media always thinks of roads/airports when talking about infrastructure and rail if mentioned at all is an afterthought. :rolleyes:


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