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Metro North & Irish Rail

  • 10-11-2014 1:39pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 527 ✭✭✭ MICKEYG


    Just came back from Amsterdam airport and as usual was impressed with the rail connections underneath the terminal.
    This then got me thinking. If we are going to be digging a big tunnel through the city to the airport why not think bigger and longer term (I know!). Very much crayon and envelope but wondering would it make sense. to have the Belfast line go through the airport and on to Heuston.
    You would end with the following;
    - Normal Metro North with stops from St Stephens Green to Swords (including airport)
    - in the same or a parallel tunnel have separate tracks for intercity trains which would go direct from airport to Heuston (with maybe a city centre stop). These tracks would of course need to veer west prior to O'Connell Street.
    - in the same or a parallel tunnel have separate tracks for northern arrow trains with less stops but at key intersections like Drumcondra.

    We could then, like in Amsterdam, run through trains from Cork to Belfast integrating the Irish Rail network. I am not sure if the other intercity services (Sligo/Wetsport?) that go to/from Connolly could reroute through this new terminal and through teh airport (heading west north of the airport)
    It would free up capacity on the city centre loop line.
    It would require the full electrification of the network but that would not be a bad thing.
    Ignoring the expense for the moment, would this be a positive thing?


Comments

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,134 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    A simple Dart link from Clongriffin to the airport would be a cheap start.


  • Registered Users Posts: 527 ✭✭✭ MICKEYG


    A simple Dart link from Clongriffin to the airport would be a cheap start.

    What I am talking about is a full solution, not part of one. The spur you mention does one thing but I am thinking of a broader solution to integrate all modes


  • Registered Users Posts: 947 ✭✭✭ xper


    Metro North would/will be a high frequency, multi-stop electrically powered line on a different gauge than Irish Rail and low, short platforms. It's a complete non starter to run inter city trains through the same tunnel bores. That leaves the option of boring parallel tunnels but there is no benefit of keeping to a paralleled route if you are not going to use the intermediate stops between the city centre and the airport. You could consider Dart Underground, which is probably going to be built before MN at the moment, which will provide an Irish Rail gauge line through the city centre connecting the Cork and Belfast lines, albeit not currently planned in a way that would allow intercity traffic in addition to DART services. It would need a significant redesign to do so, even if the tunnel had the capacity. And you'd still need a spur or loop line to get to the airport.

    I think the only workable solution of a Cork-Heuston-DublinCity-DublinAirport-Belfast high speed line would be a completely separate tunnel project and I really doubt the cost/benefit analysis would ever stand up.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,092 ✭✭✭ GerardKeating


    xper wrote: »
    Metro North would/will be a high frequency, multi-stop electrically powered line on a different gauge than Irish Rail and low, short platforms. It's a complete non starter to run inter city trains through the same tunnel bores. That leaves the option of boring parallel tunnels but there is no benefit of keeping to a paralleled route if you are not going to use the intermediate stops between the city centre and the airport. You could consider Dart Underground, which is probably going to be built before MN at the moment, which will provide an Irish Rail gauge line through the city centre connecting the Cork and Belfast lines, albeit not currently planned in a way that would allow intercity traffic in addition to DART services. It would need a significant redesign to do so, even if the tunnel had the capacity. And you'd still need a spur or loop line to get to the airport.

    I think the only workable solution of a Cork-Heuston-DublinCity-DublinAirport-Belfast high speed line would be a completely separate tunnel project and I really doubt the cost/benefit analysis would ever stand up.

    Or just make Metro North a DART.

    It could be extended past the Airport to the Northern Line near Rush, and maybe into DU as well, so one could run a train direct from Cork to Belfast.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,134 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Of course the MN should be irish rail guage. If it got to the airport, then it could continue to Clongriffin. Build the Clongriffin bit first, then problem solved.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,092 ✭✭✭ GerardKeating


    Of course the MN should be irish rail guage. If it got to the airport, then it could continue to Clongriffin. Build the Clongriffin bit first, then problem solved.

    It would be better to "continue" toward Rush/Lusk, mostly the same difference, but a shorter, more direct for Dublin Drogheda/Dundalk/Belfast services.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,134 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    It would be better to "continue" toward Rush/Lusk, mostly the same difference, but a shorter, more direct for Dublin Drogheda/Dundalk/Belfast services.


    .... or both.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 21,727 Godge


    xper wrote: »
    Metro North would/will be a high frequency, multi-stop electrically powered line on a different gauge than Irish Rail and low, short platforms. It's a complete non starter to run inter city trains through the same tunnel bores. That leaves the option of boring parallel tunnels but there is no benefit of keeping to a paralleled route if you are not going to use the intermediate stops between the city centre and the airport. You could consider Dart Underground, which is probably going to be built before MN at the moment, which will provide an Irish Rail gauge line through the city centre connecting the Cork and Belfast lines, albeit not currently planned in a way that would allow intercity traffic in addition to DART services. It would need a significant redesign to do so, even if the tunnel had the capacity. And you'd still need a spur or loop line to get to the airport.

    I think the only workable solution of a Cork-Heuston-DublinCity-DublinAirport-Belfast high speed line would be a completely separate tunnel project and I really doubt the cost/benefit analysis would ever stand up.

    What happens the tunnelling machines when they reach Heuston with DART underground? Could they be left ready to build a tunnel from Heuston via say O'Connell St. to the airport?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,169 ✭✭✭ 1huge1


    In terms of a Belfast to Cork/Limerick direct train, I think the best we can hope for is the Clongriffin Dart Rail spur to the airport mixed in with Dart Underground. It's the only realistic option giving the cost to benefit analysis mixed in with the tight fiscal situation in my opinion.

    The next capital programme should be announced within the next 6 months (open to correction on this) so hopefully we will receive some clarity on a timeline at the very least...


  • Registered Users Posts: 837 ✭✭✭ Subpopulus


    In order to run Cork/Galway trains to Dublin airport via Dart Underground, they'll have to electrify the mainline tracks and replace all of the trains with electric ones. The most recent time that's going to happen is in the mid-to-late 2020's, when the current fleet of intercity trains will be up for renewal. Even then, that's not certain to happen, on account of the large capital investment required to electrify the lines.

    That's the gist of it. It's in the Rail 2030 document somewhere...
    http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/rail-vision-2030


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,297 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    Building a tunnel from Glasnevin Junction to Albert College Park and then the MN plan from there north would allow for a dedicated route to the airport with great capacity along the Royal Canal. It would probably be faster than MN because there would be no stops betwen Glasnevin Junction and Docklands (or maybe one serving Drumcondra/Croke Park). That gets rid of the most expensive half of the MN tunnel and the most expensive stations and gives a high frequency link to the airport and large population suburbs at less than half the price. The remainder of the MN tunnel to SSG could still be built at some time in the future if required.

    All Irish gauge of course so intercity services could also use the tunnel from Hueston via Phoenix Park Tunnel to the airport. It would be a viable option for a Cork - Hueston - Dublin Airport - Belfast services. In the absense of wider electrification of the network, a number of services could run between Hueston and the interchange with the northern line via the airport. It could also interchange with Maynooth and other services and Luas at Glasnevin Junction and Luas and Dart (post DU) at Docklands.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,902 ✭✭✭ afatbollix


    They should make a high speed rail link between Cork and Belfast with a tunnel through Dublin out to the airport.


    But I forgot my cheque book :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,453 ✭✭✭ strassenwo!f


    MICKEYG wrote: »
    Just came back from Amsterdam airport and as usual was impressed with the rail connections underneath the terminal.
    This then got me thinking. If we are going to be digging a big tunnel through the city to the airport why not think bigger and longer term (I know!). Very much crayon and envelope but wondering would it make sense. to have the Belfast line go through the airport and on to Heuston.
    You would end with the following;
    - Normal Metro North with stops from St Stephens Green to Swords (including airport)
    - in the same or a parallel tunnel have separate tracks for intercity trains which would go direct from airport to Heuston (with maybe a city centre stop). These tracks would of course need to veer west prior to O'Connell Street.
    - in the same or a parallel tunnel have separate tracks for northern arrow trains with less stops but at key intersections like Drumcondra.

    We could then, like in Amsterdam, run through trains from Cork to Belfast integrating the Irish Rail network. I am not sure if the other intercity services (Sligo/Wetsport?) that go to/from Connolly could reroute through this new terminal and through teh airport (heading west north of the airport)
    It would free up capacity on the city centre loop line.
    It would require the full electrification of the network but that would not be a bad thing.
    Ignoring the expense for the moment, would this be a positive thing?

    I fully understand what you are saying.

    But, it's really a question of priorities. Cork-Belfast,via Dublin, is a nice idea.

    The main focus for many (or most?) passengers on both Belfast-Dublin and Cork-Dublin is to get a rapid connection from Connolly or Heuston to the city centre.

    The main priority for most Dubliners is simply to get rapidly into and out of the city, every day. This, in my opinion, is more important than facilitating a direct Cork-Belfast link, much and all as I would like that to happen.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,134 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    How many people do you think travel from Cork to Belfast, or Belfast to Cork?

    The Dublin Belfast route is every two hours, and not packed. The Cork Dublin is hourly and is packed.

    Would not flying Cork to Belfast be more sensible? Certainly quicker.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,453 ✭✭✭ strassenwo!f


    I would think a lot of the demand for such a train ould be covered by an overmight train, leaving Cork or Belfast at 10 or 11, travelling at a reasonable pace and having a stopover of around 30 minutes in Dublin on its way, and arriving at its destination in the early morning at its destination, would be a good way to use the interconnector.

    In other words, it's hard to see it as a priority at the moment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,169 ✭✭✭ 1huge1


    How many people do you think travel from Cork to Belfast, or Belfast to Cork?

    The Dublin Belfast route is every two hours, and not packed. The Cork Dublin is hourly and is packed.

    Would not flying Cork to Belfast be more sensible? Certainly quicker.

    The economies of Dublin and Cork would be much closer linked than that of Dublin and Belfast I would imagine, not to mention the fact that the enterprise train is slow and unreliable competing with a decent bus service.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,134 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I cannot see any Irish Government going with a Cork Dublin Belfast rail service unless the EU paid for it.

    If the DU is not going to happen, then this will not either. I think the tunnel to Holyhead is more likely.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,492 KCAccidental



    Would not flying Cork to Belfast be more sensible? Certainly quicker.

    demand for that was pretty low not to mention the fatal crash a couple of years ago putting further people off.


  • Registered Users Posts: 527 ✭✭✭ MICKEYG


    Thanks for the responses. I agree that not many people would get the train from Belfast to cork. This would not the purpose. The idea would be that the whole network would be integrated which would encourage more use.


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