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Tunnel from Dublin to Holyhead

  • 02-04-2013 2:16pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,306 ✭✭✭ NeVeR


    Do you ever think Ireland would have a tunnel like the Channel Tunnel ( England to France )

    From point to point it would be about 115km - 120km probably twice the size of the Channel Tunnel.

    It would mean travel time to the Holyhead would be less then 30 minutes if they used the high speed trains.


    Now I know the cost would be massive and would probably take about 8-10 years.. But do ya ever see something like that happening ?


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Comments

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


    It gets kited on occasion and the last time it was kited was around 5 or 6 years ago (Engineers Ireland possibly did it that time). Not in my lifetime anyway. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,708 ✭✭✭ Curly Judge


    NeVeR wrote: »
    Do you ever think Ireland would have a tunnel like the Channel Tunnel ( England to France )

    From point to point it would be about 115km - 120km probably twice the size of the Channel Tunnel.

    It would mean travel time to the Holyhead would be less then 30 minutes if they used the high speed trains.


    Now I know the cost would be massive and would probably take about 8-10 years.. But do ya ever see something like that happening ?

    The Channel Tunnel was half the length, mostly drilled through chalk and serves two huge populations.
    Even then the companies involved had to be bailed out and restructured several times to prevent them from going under.
    Do your own sums.
    Anyway, as someone who crosses the Irish Sea regularly, from a number of
    ports north and south, I think we are adequately served.
    Anyone who has a phobia about sailing or flying might disagree of course!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 5,737 MidlandsM


    it's a great idea........where's me shovel?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ ardmacha


    it's a great idea........where's me shovel?

    Good idea. The west to east track could be 1600mm and the east to west track 1435 mm.


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


    Yesterday was the 1st April. :D


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    NeVeR wrote: »
    It would mean travel time to the Holyhead would be less then 30 minutes if they used the high speed trains.

    Of course, Irish Rail will only schedule match-day services to use the tunnel and average times will be a lot longer than 30 minutes because an inadequate number of passing-loops will see that trains are held up beyond the scheduled times.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,306 ✭✭✭ NeVeR


    Right.. I'll start on the Ireland the America one then... :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,306 ✭✭✭ NeVeR


    Well a flight is never an hour or less... don't get me wrong the time in the air would be an hour or less.. but having to get to the airport 90 - 120 minutes before hand.. and then wait 20-40 minutes for bags does add up.

    But all points in here are valid.. Doesn't make sense to build one to Holyhead.. umm.. need a better idea :)


  • Site Banned Posts: 166 ✭✭ Cash is king


    MidlandsM wrote: »
    it's a great idea........where's me shovel?



    Better ring Anika Rice!!:D


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


    Here is a quote from yours truly from a similar thread 2-3 years ago:
    There are certain aspects of this plan which could make it viable and others which won't. Let's start with the aspects that wouldn't make it viable:

    1. The fact that the project is €15 billion in a conservative cost to construct. If the infrastructure is only serving those who go to London and back, it will obviously be unviable. Currently, the numbers doing this trip is 8,000,000 annually. It is pretty hard to grasp the idea of making the construction costs back without having high price fares attached. Let's assume the fares are €100. Even then, it would still take about 20 years at least to get the money back. Let's not forget that the these fares would also be taxed which would further delay the returns of the project cost bringing it up to 30 or possibly 40 years.

    2. Another factor making the project unviable is the bail out of Anglo Irish Bank which is one of the governments high priorities. This would also put tax hikes on the fares system of the infrastructure in question.

    3. Let's not forget the fact that the Irish Planning Board effectively took 5 years to receive the plans for Metro North and give it the green light. If this is the case and with the scale of The Tuskar Tunnel, it would probably be at least a decade before construction would begin from a conservative estimate.

    4. As pointed out by other people, the current state of the national rail infrastructure is laughable with the mostly single track nature of it ergo, making it very difficult for sub-sea trains to reach their desired speed without some sort of delay. If the Tuskar Tunnel were to be built, it would have a knock on effect whereby most of the single track lines would have to be doubled or possibly quadrupled and then dual-gauged. By extension, this would bring the price of the Tuskar Tunnel project up to roughly €30 billion.

    I am probably missing a lot of other factors against the proposal as well so feel free to enlighten me!biggrin.png As I have said, there are certain purposes which could be attached to the proposal that might make it work. Might is the operative word in this case and a big one at that. Let me explain:

    1. If the line became part of an extension to existing inter-rail routes, it might work. The may involve making a through route on the London side of things to remove the need to change trains. There may also need to be two types of passenger train, one which negotiates it's way to popular Irish tourist destinations and one which would be express for business customers.

    2. If Galway or Shannon were to be used as one of the major trans-atlantic freight ports, the level of freight traffic could very well lead to extremely high use of the Tuskar Tunnel ergo, speeding up the rate of returns of its cost. This is assuming that other atlantic freight ports from France, Spain and England don't compete.

    3. Also, from the Irish side, we would need to give potential foreign users an incentive to use the route. This may involve anything from the construction of Theme Parks along the rail route to seaside resorts like those seen in the Balearic Islands and Spain. However, these would need to be located in key locations. Otherwise, the train may end up taking to many stops which would be off-putting to potential users.

    While it could be argued that the Earth's oil supply is rapidly depleting, this shouldn't prevent aircraft and boat engineers from developing planes, helicopters, ferries and cruisers which run on different fuel types (hydrogen, solar-power, electricity etc.). Failing this, it may be a last resort to construct a sub-sea rail link between ourselves and Great Britain. I would love to think that this concept is viable now. Sadly, the skeptic in me finds it difficult to see the viability of such an ambitious undertaking even a century down the road.


  • Registered Users Posts: 892 ✭✭✭ dam099


    Here is a quote from yours truly from a similar thread 2-3 years ago:



    While it could be argued that the Earth's oil supply is rapidly depleting, this shouldn't prevent aircraft and boat engineers from developing planes, helicopters, ferries and cruisers which run on different fuel types (hydrogen, solar-power, electricity etc.). Failing this, it may be a last resort to construct a sub-sea rail link between ourselves and Great Britain. I would love to think that this concept is viable now. Sadly, the skeptic in me finds it difficult to see the viability of such an ambitious undertaking even a century down the road.
    Perhaps if commercial nuclear fusion is ever cracked and delivers on its potential of bountiful cheap electricity long distance high speed train lines and tunnels might become an option especially if the alternatives to oil you mention don't come to fruition once the oil supply starts to run out. Of course fusion coupled with either some major battery technology advances or cheaper electricity improving the economics of hydrogen production would mean aircraft and boats could run on electricity or hydrogen as you suggest.

    Then there is the fact that the estimate that commercial fusion is 50 years away has been the same for over 50 years now so probably a 50-100 year timeframe at least before we see it.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    Let's park the tunnel costs for a second and look at if the end product would be useful...
    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    Holyhead would be like Folkestone and Frethun are to the Channel Tunnel.

    Why would an rail Irish Sea tunnel be so less attractive than Channel Tunnel services?

    Anyway, as someone who crosses the Irish Sea regularly, from a number of ports north and south, I think we are adequately served.

    The Channel Tunnel was build to not meet current demand at the time of its planned but future demand. Passenger and freight.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,336 ✭✭✭ tonc76


    monument wrote: »
    The Channel Tunnel was build to not meet current demand at the time of its planned but future demand. Passenger and freight.

    Every road, rail line, tunnel, port be it air or sea etc are always designed to meet future demand based on projections.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


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


    The Channel Tunnel was built to link London with all the other major centres of Europe.Not only that but it has it's own high speed link into the heart of London and a high-speed network in mainland Europe too to link into.

    There never will be a case to build a tunnel under the Irish Sea.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    tonc76 wrote: »
    Every road, rail line, tunnel, port be it air or sea etc are always designed to meet future demand based on projections.

    Yes, indeed. But based on other posts these seemed to be a need to post what I said.

    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    The question of greater numbers is more linked to the question of is a tunnel viable rather than the question on hand: Would the services a tunnel could offer be useful to people?

    Also: There's less than 90km in the difference between London-Paris and London-Dublin.
    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    I don't know how you're getting to that conclusion. Can you explain?

    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    I can't see why.

    For example, if a Dublin-Holyhead tunnel was possible then Dublin-London services would use High Speed Two and could use Crewe and possibly also Birmingham Interchange for connecting services.

    Plowman wrote: »
    In order to be economically viable and desirable to passengers, a high-speed rail tunnel would have to outdo air and sea travel in some way, which I don't think is currently possible. Air travel outdoes a potential tunnel when it comes to speed, ticket price, travel time, frequency, and destinations served.

    Time Dublin Airport says to arrive 90 minutes before UK fight.

    Eurostar says to arrive 10 to 30 minutes before a train depending on your ticket (I've bought a ticket less than 10 minutes before a departure once but even if I was a regular traveller, I would not make a habit of that!). And using Eurostar's current average speed (with is due to increase again with newer trains), a Dublin-London train would be in London in 2 and 40 minutes of travel time. So that would be comparable to air given the time at the airport at both ends, the flight time and the time into central London

    Aircraft rules require you to turn off laptops etc for about 10 minutes (or more or less?) on each end and phones off for the trip -- so down time is large for business users using air.

    Generally: It's unclear how you can say that air outdoes a tunnel on speed, ticket price, travel time and frequency, and destinations when you seem to lack the basic knowledge of how the Channel Tunnel operates and how that manages with rail or high-speed rail works across Europe and else where... and even how in the US Amtrak has a decent market share in the short to mid distance intercity market without decent high-speed (the Acela Express can reach the old standard of HSR, but not the newer higher speed and not on dedicated track).

    Plowman wrote: »
    This post has been deleted.

    Roll-on, roll-off... just like Eurotunnel offers? Expect far less affected by the weather...

    BannerAbout.jpg

    While Eurostar may hold onto most of the profile and coverage. The tunnel handles walk-on passengers on the Eurostar, cars and trucks on the Eurotunnels' le shuttle, and rail freight. It's all three, not one or the other.

    Plowman wrote: »
    Finally, I think we are looking at this from an Ireland-centric perspective, in which such a project would benefit Irish people, mainly those living near Dublin. What benefits, if any, would access to a small city on a distant island bring to Londoners, and British taxpayers living in the southeast?

    Did you note the bit where I said: "Let's park the tunnel costs for a second and look at if the end product would be useful"?

    1.8 million people live in the Greater Dublin Area alone, any rail route could include both Dublin and Belfast and wider areas on the Irish and UK sides.

    You'll find loads of people and companies who pay tax to the British government have business activity in Dublin and other parts of the island of Ireland. It's also still a mystery why you think a tunnel would only be able to serve Dublin-London movements of people and fright... but can we focus on if the services would be desirable to potential end users? You seem to think the answer is no but you have yet to explain why.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ CelticRambler


    Don't know if it was covered in the other thread(s) but everyone's overlooking the gradient required to get under the Irish Sea. The English Channel at Folkestone/Calais is pretty shallow but the run-down from Folkestone is nearly 6 miles (a bit shorter on the Calais side). If you're not going to corkscrew straight down, the terminal would probably have to be somewhere like Malahide or Celbridge or Bray, and it wouldn't arrive in Holyhead.

    Also, I don't know where this 30 minutes is coming from. It's 35 minutes platform-to-platform on the Shuttle, assuming no delays and not including the post-arrival security checks, doors opening and slow drive through the carriages to actually reach the platform. Time to check-in - anything up to two hours. Sure, you can take a chance and leave it to the T-20 that's printed on your confirmation e-mail, but if the car in front has a dodgy reading on the drug/explosives test, you've just missed your crossing.

    I use the Shuttle quite often and wouldn't allow any less than 2 hours (yes two hours) for the whole trip from check-in to exit. And yes, this all refers to the car & freight operation - the only part of the Eurotunnel adventure that's actually making any money. Oh, and the promised "branch line" services (e.g. Ashford-Lille) ended up being reduced to nothing useful. I can get a TGV to Lille, but there's nothing for it to connect to ...


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭ kravmaga


    NeVeR wrote: »
    Do you ever think Ireland would have a tunnel like the Channel Tunnel ( England to France )

    From point to point it would be about 115km - 120km probably twice the size of the Channel Tunnel.

    It would mean travel time to the Holyhead would be less then 30 minutes if they used the high speed trains.


    Now I know the cost would be massive and would probably take about 8-10 years.. But do ya ever see something like that happening ?

    No I dont ever see it happening as it is not financially viable and no business case for a tunnel between Ireland and UK. The current shipping transport in place meets the requirements of the travelling public and transport providers.

    I am sure this subject has been discussed here last year on boards.

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


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    I use the Shuttle quite often and wouldn't allow any less than 2 hours (yes two hours) for the whole trip from check-in to exit. And yes, this all refers to the car & freight operation - the only part of the Eurotunnel adventure that's actually making any money. Oh, and the promised "branch line" services (e.g. Ashford-Lille) ended up being reduced to nothing useful. I can get a TGV to Lille, but there's nothing for it to connect to ...

    Eurostar is in profit and has been for a number of years now:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/eurostar-profits-double-on-surge-for-the-olympics-8548575.html


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,279 kidneyfan


    Dublin Holyhead is IMO the least viable route.
    The most sensible if the tunnel costs are not considered is Rosslare to Fishguard as this brings one most quickly to the south of England which is the great cash cow of the British Isles.

    Larne - Stranraer is another viable route but this only leads to Scotland. As the costs would be largely borne by the Republic what is the point in a tunnel in Northern Ireland to a poorer country than the Republic?

    The shortest route is TWO TUNNELS from Ballycastle to Campbelltown and Campbelltown to the Scottish Mainland. This would also result in the destruction of three areas of outstanding natural beauty.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    kidneyfan wrote: »
    Dublin Holyhead is IMO the least viable route.

    Based on what?
    kidneyfan wrote: »
    The most sensible if the tunnel costs are not considered is Rosslare to Fishguard as this brings one most quickly to the south of England which is the great cash cow of the British Isles.

    Such a route is not shorter from Dublin! And you'd lose out on quicker connections to lots of larger cities in the UK.

    A Rosslare to Fishguard route would also require massive costs in upgrading or new railways from Dublin to Rosslare and from Fishguard to London (beyond any upgrading planned). The Holyhead route would just require Dublin-Belfast upgrades (which there's a case for without a tunnel) and between Holyhead-High Speed Two.

    kidneyfan wrote: »
    Larne - Stranraer is another viable route but this only leads to Scotland. As the costs would be largely borne by the Republic what is the point in a tunnel in Northern Ireland to a poorer country than the Republic?

    The shortest route is TWO TUNNELS from Ballycastle to Campbelltown and Campbelltown to the Scottish Mainland. This would also result in the destruction of three areas of outstanding natural beauty.

    Any NI - Scotland tunnel would also have to deal with the deepest of waters in the Irish Sea and/or err... an underwater canyon!


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


    monument wrote: »
    an underwater canyon!

    One full of dumped ordnance from WW2 even.

    The only feasible route is bridge out to an artificial island 10-15 miles off Ireland and 10 miles off Wales _somewhere_ and then go underwater in a shallow bit of the irish Sea. Even then it would be insanely expensive and there are no High speed rail lines proposed in England north of Birmingham right now....well not till 2032 :)

    Lets leave it a few years shall we....and do read the Vision for Crewe. :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,197 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    Half the flights from Dublin Airport are too the UK and an even greater proportion from the other airports. The Irish sea is also very busy in terms of freight and passengers.

    There may be something to be said for it, but the initial capital costs are gigantic, the channel tunnel was a financial nightmare in the early years and that was before you had the option of flying to the UK for €10 with low fare airlines. The train service would be entering a very competitive market from day 1. Also the railway gauge in Ireland is different to Britain, which means major changes to existing surface railways and/or more expensive rolling stock.

    If the UK government alone wanted to invest in a Glasgow-Belfast link I'd be 100% supportive (with no implications for the republics delicate public finances) and it could well be the start of a very popular Cork-Dublin-Belfast-Scotland route.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,279 kidneyfan


    monument wrote: »
    Such a route is not shorter from Dublin! And you'd lose out on quicker connections to lots of larger cities in the UK.

    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    The only feasible route is bridge out to an artificial island 10-15 miles off Ireland and 10 miles off Wales _somewhere_ and then go underwater in a shallow bit of the irish Sea.

    It is much shorter from Dublin than driving across the Irish sea to the Isle of Anglesea, across that, over to Birmingham (first useful connection) and down to London.

    "Larger cities in the UK" other than Birmingham are economically worthless. It is all about how fast you get to London.

    You have to be able to substantially beat the flying time to London. That means a sealed underground motorway to Rosslare with a MINIMUM speed limit of 200 MPH (underground motorway would have to begin at Belfast) and Superhighways in GB with a speed limit free lane.

    Supercars MUST be provided to all users of the supertunnel!This would be a driving tunnel. Why would I get the train like a beggar rather than just fly to London?

    What is really needed is some sort of moving bridge device that would sit atop the water.

    Passengers would enter on foot or with a vehicle and the bridge device would actually move across the very surface of the water with them atop it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ lanyard


    Investing in air travel would be far more beneficial:
    • Why do passengers traveling from the UK have to present their passport to gardaí at Dublin Airport? The Common Travel Area seems to have been forgotten.
    • Bring in Nextgen Air Traffic Control system - it will decrease travel time and increase capacity



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,488 ✭✭✭ CelticRambler


    monument wrote: »

    Well, yeah, the number is "2" (2011, first time ever & 2012) and the "profit" is really magic money. £52m reported profits on £800m sales in 2012, but 40% of that (=£320m) is direct subsidy from the French and British governments, so if (when?) that gets cut someone will have to write off another few billions. :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 270 ✭✭ Richard Logue


    For the amount of money needed for a tunnel, a lot more fast ferries would be a better and significantly cheaper option.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,197 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    When HS2 is up and running, a Manchester-London journey will take just over an hour, making it commutable. If we did have a tunnel, a Dublin-Manchester journey could be the same time. I would say that having manchester within commuting distance of Dublin would increase the ammount of Irealnd-UK journeys significantly. The easier it is to get somewhere, the more people will go. At present there are 6 flights each way per day between Dublin and Manchester.


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