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Does rail transport have a future in Ireland?

  • 30-05-2012 6:15pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,497 ✭✭✭ yer man!


    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.
    There is still the fact the rail can be electrified whereas buses can't really (bus hybrids aren't great). Personally I find rail to be more comfortable compared to a bus, even in Ireland and would gladly take the train if the price wasn't that much different to the bus which sometimes it isn't. Rail in Ireland has a long way to go to meet the continental standard but I still prefer it to our current bus network.


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


    Rail has a great future as shown in the UK and on the Continent etc, but no, not a very rosy picture in Ireland, thast because of the years of under-investment and lazy management which sees us around 40 or more behind the UK from a position of actaully modernising a decade before them.

    What do i think should be done? Well keep all the suburban stuff is a given as it is useful even if it doesnt make a profit, and invest in Cork,Limerick,Galway and Belfast to Dublin by upgrading to 125mph minimum. Other lines can be closed or kept on a secondary level so long as major investment isnt needed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,183 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    the problem is that over the last 10 years, we've seen €8bn spent on motorways and less than €2bn spent on rail including buying a completely brand new rail fleet. So the actual expenditure on track infrastructure has been pitiful. Old track (mostly single track) and old bridges = slow trains

    This has led to a decline in popularity of the railway. Still, the Dublin-Cork line does well because it is faster than bus journeys and faster than many car journeys, depending which train you get. If we bought new locamotives (capable of 210km/hr) and upgraded the old track on the cork,galway and belfast lines, then we could have 200km/hr running.

    Making rail a good bit faster than road. Our railway lines would then be equally competitive as they are in the UK, Sweeden and Denmark.

    RE: the western railway corridor, that was a practical joke played on the tax payer by some badly behaved FF politicians.


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


    I beleive Irish Rail operate in MPH.

    My car journey to, lets say. Dublin would be far quicker than the train and I'm talking about the Cork line here. I don't have a bus alternative.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,771 ✭✭✭✭ flazio


    Does Rail travel HAVE to be so Dublin centric? There are other cities in Ireland after all.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,961 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    flazio wrote: »
    Does Rail travel HAVE to be so Dublin centric? There are other cities in Ireland after all.

    Yes, since most of the rest of the country has been ruined by ribbon development we can't run trains anywhere else. You need large population centres for rail to be viable and we don't have many.

    Most of the population now lives a car journey to a train station so unless they are commuting it doesn't make sense to drive to a station to go somewhere, then when they arrive at the the destination they have no transport and need to wait around for buses or pay out for taxis.

    If we'd had proper planning we could have built up towns to make them viable for rail but we didn't so trains are only going one way on this Island, as we can't afford to make them faster than cars for private transport and IIRC the country is too small to make rail freight viable.


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


    flazio wrote: »
    Does Rail travel HAVE to be so Dublin centric? There are other cities in Ireland after all.

    yep, thats where the tracks go to...


    mind you , you might find the odd city at the other end of them....


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


    Del2005 wrote: »
    If we'd had proper planning we could have built up towns to make them viable for rail but we didn't so trains are only going one way on this Island, as we can't afford to make them faster than cars for private transport and IIRC the country is too small to make rail freight viable.

    I know what you mean but I have this image of them unloading new trains in Cork etc and a big pile of them in Heuston :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,784 ✭✭✭✭ Winters


    Allowing the large scale growth of towns with no rail links was the death of proper transport and planning in Ireland.

    Does anyone know Clongriffin Station? Look out the window, it’s an ideal example where planning is backwards. 75% of the immediate lands in the catchment of the station have not been developed. Then go up the road to Balgriffin, Belmayne and the new homes, apartments and developments in the Malahide Road area. Appalling example of planning dictated by developers and not the LA which has just added to our woes.

    If IE had any cop on they would have objected to any development outside a 2km radius of their stations. However the mistakes should never have happened and DCC and Fingal are the worst culprits.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,097 ✭✭✭ pigtown


    flazio wrote: »
    Does Rail travel HAVE to be so Dublin centric? There are other cities in Ireland after all.

    Well Limerick city has already got rail lines running north, south, east and west. All it requires is a bit of investment to create a comprehensive suburban rail network.


  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ chooochooo


    Yes. It does.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,593 ✭✭✭ Poxyshamrock


    pigtown wrote: »
    Well Limerick city has already got rail lines running north, south, east and west. All it requires is a bit of investment to create a comprehensive suburban rail network.

    A station at the parkway would work well with the large catchment area and UL.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 Irish and Proud


    I've used the train to Cork a few times and there are pros and cons compared with car travel IMO:

    Pros:

    1) Fast and relaxing (scenic) journey - cuts out the stress of driving and wallops the bus in terms of speed;

    2) Good rail link between Heuston and Connolly (Red Line);

    3) Food and toilets available without the need to stop off - also available at main stations;

    4) You don't have to worry about parking upon arrival.

    Cons:

    1) Not as fast or direct as driving by car;

    2) Baggage can be a source of major discomfort upon interchanging or walking;

    3) Less opportunity to visit places of interest along the way or around destination;

    4) Have to walk to reach Cork City Centre.

    Even:

    1) Price - €70 would cover a return trip for both modes IMO;

    2) Constant speed restrictions on Cork Line, but Cork Road is prone to accidents, works and diversions;

    3) Both journeys are scenic but - have to concentrate on driving / may not get a window seat on train;

    4) Motoring is faster, but getting into town is still via congested substandard roads - Rail terminates at one point regardless of where people need to go.

    If anyone has anything to add...


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


    You left off the two biggest cons of the Cork to Dublin train:

    1) Slow, a train should never be slower then by car for the same journey.

    2) Expensive, €80 return!

    Aircoach is €22 return and is faster (to O'Connell St) .

    And a few other things:

    3) Charges for booking online, but no charge for booking at station, crazy, should be the other way around.

    4) Inflexible booking system online, e.g. can't change booking to different time, etc.

    5) Charge for bringing bike on intercity train is €16 return!! Nuts. It is almost as expensive as a return ticket for a person on the new Aircoach direct bus service between Cork and Dublin (€22 return) and you can bring your bike for free on Aircoach.

    Pros:

    1) Excellent website, probably the best transport website in Ireland. They just need to sort the booking system now (I believe this is coming).


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


    Rail certainly does have a future.

    However rail is expensive to do and only works in certain scenarios:

    1) Commuter/mass transit rail into and around large cities. e.g. London Underground, Metro, DART, LUAS, etc.

    This is the most important and effective use of rail. Many large cities would be totally crippled without rail. For instance there is no way at all that you could move 12 million people into and around London without the underground.

    2) High speed intercity rail between large cities (e.g. 1 million or more people at both ends). Very successful between large cities across continental Europe, Asia, etc.

    3) Rail freight where you have very heavy loads (e.g. mining ore, etc.) that needs to travel very long distances (e.g. across the US).

    However unfortunately many of these situations don't exist in Ireland and therefore I believe rails future is limited in Ireland:

    1) Really only Dublin has a population size and density to justify mass transit rail like the DART, Luas and future projects like MN and DU.

    Cork maybe just about big enough for some commuter rail.

    2) Ireland is not really well suited to intercity rail. We have only one 1m+ city. Intercity trains are slow, slower then car and even bus coach!! While it might get a little faster, there is unlikely to ever (well not in the next 30 years) be a justification for high speed intercity rail. We unfortunately just don't have the population density to justify it.

    The reality intercity rail will likely struggle along, trying to compete with much cheaper bus travel. The reality is there will be a lot of cost cutting in the future of Irish Rail.

    3) Ireland is probably the least suited country in the world for rail freight. We are an island, with the majority of the population in the center of the country. Short distances, with a fantastic road network to every city and also every city is also has a large port.

    Rail freight makes zero sense and has zero future in Ireland.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 Irish and Proud


    bk wrote: »
    <snip>
    3) Ireland is probably the least suited country in the world for rail freight. We are an island, with the majority of the population in the center of the country. Short distances, with a fantastic road network to every city and also every city is also has a large port.

    Rail freight makes zero sense and has zero future in Ireland.

    I'm not too sure about that... :confused:

    A new freight service (by a private third party) is AFAIK operating from Ballina Mayo to Dublin Docks - it's was said to be successful because of the high cost of fuel for road hauliers. Also, I guess that where motorways (such as along the N24) are omitted, freight rail might be quite viable as an interim solution. Of course, there's already a railway from Limerick to Rosslare Europort (I'm sure the recently decommissioned section towards Rosslare) is still fit for operation or that it could be rendered so at relatively low cost.

    I'm am a road enthusiast, but I also like railways! :D

    Regards!


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,771 ✭✭✭✭ flazio


    bk wrote: »
    Rail certainly does have a future.

    However rail is expensive to do and only works in certain scenarios:

    1) Commuter/mass transit rail into and around large cities. e.g. London Underground, Metro, DART, LUAS, etc.

    This is the most important and effective use of rail. Many large cities would be totally crippled without rail. For instance there is no way at all that you could move 12 million people into and around London without the underground.

    2) High speed intercity rail between large cities (e.g. 1 million or more people at both ends). Very successful between large cities across continental Europe, Asia, etc.

    3) Rail freight where you have very heavy loads (e.g. mining ore, etc.) that needs to travel very long distances (e.g. across the US).

    However unfortunately many of these situations don't exist in Ireland and therefore I believe rails future is limited in Ireland:

    1) Really only Dublin has a population size and density to justify mass transit rail like the DART, Luas and future projects like MN and DU.

    Cork maybe just about big enough for some commuter rail.

    2) Ireland is not really well suited to intercity rail. We have only one 1m+ city. Intercity trains are slow, slower then car and even bus coach!! While it might get a little faster, there is unlikely to ever (well not in the next 30 years) be a justification for high speed intercity rail. We unfortunately just don't have the population density to justify it.

    The reality intercity rail will likely struggle along, trying to compete with much cheaper bus travel. The reality is there will be a lot of cost cutting in the future of Irish Rail.

    3) Ireland is probably the least suited country in the world for rail freight. We are an island, with the majority of the population in the center of the country. Short distances, with a fantastic road network to every city and also every city is also has a large port.

    Rail freight makes zero sense and has zero future in Ireland.

    In relation to freight. I'd be reluctant to sell off the rolling stock just in case.
    The last two big freezes were tough and expensive to keep the roads open throughout and yet rail travel was a lot less disrupted, I'd certainly keep the option open, should the roads take another turn for the worse.


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


    I'm not too sure about that... :confused:

    A new freight service (by a private third party) is AFAIK operating from Ballina Mayo to Dublin Docks - it's was said to be successful because of the high cost of fuel for road hauliers.

    Yes it exists, but it literally makes up less then 1% of all freight moved in Ireland.

    The reality it only exists due to subsidies and watching a recent news piece about it it is very clear that the private operators are desperately looking for more subsidies from the government for it.

    They were wheezing on about it being more environmentally friendly and how unfair it was that the motorways get so much subsidies.

    The reality is it is just a play to squeeze as much subsidies as possible out of the government for their "green" alternative.

    In reality it isn't competitive with road freight.

    I'd be shocked if it ever reached even 2% of all freight. Forget about it, rail freight in Ireland is pure fantasy.
    flazio wrote: »
    In relation to freight. I'd be reluctant to sell off the rolling stock just in case.
    The last two big freezes were tough and expensive to keep the roads open throughout and yet rail travel was a lot less disrupted, I'd certainly keep the option open, should the roads take another turn for the worse.

    The minister for transport has made it very clear that maintaining the new motorway network is priority number one. The majority of his budget is going to motorway maintenance, at the expense of rail and other new projects. So we aren't going to see a repeat of this situation.


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


    I'm not too sure about that... :confused:

    A new freight service (by a private third party) is AFAIK operating from Ballina Mayo to Dublin Docks - it's was said to be successful because of the high cost of fuel for road hauliers. Also, I guess that where motorways (such as along the N24) are omitted, freight rail might be quite viable as an interim solution. Of course, there's already a railway from Limerick to Rosslare Europort (I'm sure the recently decommissioned section towards Rosslare) is still fit for operation or that it could be rendered so at relatively low cost.

    I'm am a road enthusiast, but I also like railways! :D

    Regards!

    How would you fund re-opening the closed section east of Waterford? All the staff are gone and theres that bridge to maintain and operate.
    There are no facilities at Rosslare for freight trains, who will fund their installation and the signalling upgrades necessary to operate them?
    There are no facilities for freight ships to dock at Riosslare....it just goes on...


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    bk wrote: »
    You left off the two biggest cons of the Cork to Dublin train:

    1) Slow, a train should never be slower then by car for the same journey. Why? Is there some God given law that states this?

    2) Expensive, €80 return! As usual your bias shows through as you quote the maximum fare.

    Aircoach is €22 return and is faster (to O'Connell St) .

    And a few other things:

    3) Charges for booking online, but no charge for booking at station, crazy, should be the other way around. Nothing to do with railways per se but more to do with the shambolic operator.

    4) Inflexible booking system online, e.g. can't change booking to different time, etc. As for 3 above.

    5) Charge for bringing bike on intercity train is €16 return!! Nuts. It is almost as expensive as a return ticket for a person on the new Aircoach direct bus service between Cork and Dublin (€22 return) and you can bring your bike for free on Aircoach. As for 3 and 4!

    Pros:

    1) Excellent website, probably the best transport website in Ireland. They just need to sort the booking system now (I believe this is coming).

    And a website is a reason to travel inter-city? Incidentally, the site is better than it was but still poor in my opinion.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,372 ✭✭✭ steamengine


    Just because someone has discovered a bus that travels non-stop to Cork in 2 3/4 hours is a basic reason to rate the the entire Irish rail system as superfluous to requirements. The comparison doesn't even stack up as the train to Cork is a stopping service. If it were a non-stop service then it would be a non contest and one would have the added comfort of knowing that having a 'leak' en route wasn't a problem. I agree with JD, the bias is wearisome.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,961 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    I'm not too sure about that... :confused:

    A new freight service (by a private third party) is AFAIK operating from Ballina Mayo to Dublin Docks - it's was said to be successful because of the high cost of fuel for road hauliers. Also, I guess that where motorways (such as along the N24) are omitted, freight rail might be quite viable as an interim solution. Of course, there's already a railway from Limerick to Rosslare Europort (I'm sure the recently decommissioned section towards Rosslare) is still fit for operation or that it could be rendered so at relatively low cost.

    I'm am a road enthusiast, but I also like railways! :D

    Regards!
    flazio wrote: »
    In relation to freight. I'd be reluctant to sell off the rolling stock just in case.

    The problem rail freight has in this country is we just aren't big enough to make it viable. We have a few companies running a limited service on direct routes.

    To get freight to where we need it, our towns and villages, it will still need to get onto a truck from the station. The extra handling of loading from ship-truck-train-truck-customer will eat any "green" benefit and the costs will go up hugely. Rail freight works with large loads going long distances, we don't have either.
    flazio wrote: »
    The last two big freezes were tough and expensive to keep the roads open throughout and yet rail travel was a lot less disrupted, I'd certainly keep the option open, should the roads take another turn for the worse.

    Rail is also affected by snow and ice and if the roads are closed the goods still won't get the to customer. It'll just sit in a rail yard rather than a haulage yard.

    We'd still need the same amount of trucks, or maybe more unless we redesign our ports to allow direct loading from ship to train, to deliver the goods to the customer.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 Irish and Proud


    I like the idea of Ireland having railways as well as motorways, but maybe as some posters point out, the small size of the country just doesn't lend well to economies of scale in terms of freight and long distance travel via the rail network. I also had a nice idea of completing the M17, M18 and M20 and then utilizing the Limerick to Rosslare railway to link up Waterford and Rosslare to the West etc - admittedly, I didn't think it through though.

    Another blow was the recent article on RTE News about cost cutting on the Rail Network - just what some poster(s) had suggested would happen. However, I do think commuter rail has a big future in Ireland. However, surely some long distance passenger services would be viable with a streamlined IE (would be a very tough job I know) and upgrades to allow speeds of up to 200kph (not high speed I know, but pretty fast though).

    It would just be a pity to mothball our railways.


  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ n900guy


    1) Really only Dublin has a population size and density to justify mass transit rail like the DART, Luas and future projects like MN and DU.

    Cork maybe just about big enough for some commuter rail.

    You have to remember that at the moment 1.8 million people live within 100km of Cork city. It was suited very well to rail 100 years ago before the rail got shut down. Loads of small stations and it worked well.
    2) Ireland is not really well suited to intercity rail. We have only one 1m+ city. Intercity trains are slow, slower then car and even bus coach!! While it might get a little faster, there is unlikely to ever (well not in the next 30 years) be a justification for high speed intercity rail. We unfortunately just don't have the population density to justify it.

    It totally is, but Dublin-centric road and rail mishandling has caused a lot of problems. There is no reason for Intercity services at 160km/h to not be the norm between Dublin --> Galway / Cork and Cork --> Limerick --> Galway. Linking up the major cities in a loop works very well, which is how the Randstad in the Holland works. The major cities in Ireland are in a triangle and are around 200-250km each apart. It should take no more than 90mins to go from Cork to Dublin, Dublin to Galway or Galway to Cork with Limerick halfway.

    Simply investing the required amount to connect the four cities in a loop would connect 80% of the population of the country.
    3) Ireland is probably the least suited country in the world for rail freight. We are an island, with the majority of the population in the center of the country. Short distances, with a fantastic road network to every city and also every city is also has a large port.

    The majority of the population are not in the centre of the country. 1,5 million people live east in Dublin and the Greater Dublin Area. 1,8 million people live in the south. the rest live in the west and BMW.


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


    90 minutes from Cork to Dublin? you are having a proverbial Giraffe.we can't even manage 100 mph running for any meaningful length and you are proposing an average speed of over 100mph which doesnt take account of acceleration or braking times and condemns all the intermedaite stations to no service or at best an inferior one.

    total pie in the sky yet again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 288 ✭✭ n900guy


    corktina wrote: »
    90 minutes from Cork to Dublin? you are having a proverbial Giraffe.we can't even manage 100 mph running for any meaningful length and you are proposing an average speed of over 100mph which doesnt take account of acceleration or braking times and condemns all the intermedaite stations to no service or at best an inferior one.

    total pie in the sky yet again.


    It is not essential to stop at every single station along the way. If you believe it is, you are well suited to a career in Train Management In Ireland As It Is Now.


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


    n900guy wrote: »
    It is not essential to stop at every single station along the way. If you believe it is, you are well suited to a career in Train Management In Ireland As It Is Now.

    if you beleive you will be able travel by train in Ireland at any time in the future at an average of nearly 120 mph and stop at ANY stations along the way then you may as well start work converting a Delorean now! Its just not possible, technically and economically. Do the Math!


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,249 ✭✭✭ run_Forrest_run


    Rail will have a future here if and only if the Government force the unions to release their vice-live grip on the entire system. Open up the rail lines to private companies and let IE face some competition. They are a bunch of incompetent fools who have been protected for far too long.


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