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Limerick Light Rail

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


    What ever happened to the last mid-western transport strategy?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭ roadmaster


    pigtown wrote: »
    What ever happened to the last mid-western transport strategy?

    http://www.mwasp.ie/documents/Public%20Transport%20Feasibility%20Study.pdf

    There is a small bit about Light Rail in it at 3.2, Highlighting potential pitfalls and comparisons to projects in the UK


  • Registered Users Posts: 405 ✭✭ McAlban


    I have previously crayoned this...

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=104109837

    The Report also shows the Foynes Rail Line Going no where near Rathkeale or Adare!


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,992 ✭✭✭✭ namloc1980


    This won't happen - not in this half century anyway. At best Limerick should aim for improved bus service on major routes in and out and upgrading and using the heavy rail infrastructure that already exists. Light rail is a pipe dream though.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 13,226 Mod ✭✭✭✭ marno21


    namloc1980 wrote: »
    This won't happen - not in this half century anyway. At best Limerick should aim for improved functional bus service on major routes in and out and upgrading and using the heavy rail infrastructure that already exists. Light rail is a pipe dream though.

    Fixed that. Bus service in Limerick is pathetic. Car commutes can be upto 4x faster. Why bother if that's the case


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  • Registered Users Posts: 72,646 ✭✭✭✭ colm_mcm


    Monorail!


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    The existing lines have potential. Reinventing the wheel is unnecessary.

    A parkway type station in Ballysimon could attract people from the east of the city, to both local and intercity services.


  • Registered Users Posts: 625 ✭✭✭ yermanoffthetv


    If I had a quid for every artist impression of a lovely piece of infrastructure that never materialized in this country Id be typing this from a hotter climate. €350m was the quote in 2007 which even in Celtic tiger fever, was laughably optimistic.

    Light rail is a non runner, It would cost as much if not less to have a bespoke system running on the road as to relay much of the track with tram lines. I would however agree with exploring if using the existing in use and disused alignments can be made into some sort of urban transit system.

    Putting on my Walter Mitty pants Id like to see a 2/3 car dmu starting from a spur from the main line at Coonagh/new LIT campus with a P&R and stops at Moyross>Kings Island/Lowercross>Parkway(interchange with Dublin coach CC-UL bus)City Centre>Childers Rd.>Crescent SC>Fr Russell Rd>Mungret Woods>Raheen BP + P&R >Glencairn>Kilteragh >back in the opposite direction.

    It pretty much ignores the east side of the city as the Nenagh line is too far away to be useful and I don't see a way to get even a light rail or tram out to UL/Castletroy with out tunneling or buying a serious amount of land and property.

    It would however connect many residential areas with schools, colleges, shopping and business parks and alleviate some traffic coming in from the N west and S West and get some traffic off the Dock Rd, Childers Rd and the R526. Thats just my view on it though.
    ShannonTram


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,121 ✭✭✭ ClovenHoof


    Makes a hell of a lot more sense than the Western Rail Corridor ever did. Alingments though populated areas all around the city.

    There are cities in Europe with populations under 50K that have light rail services so get over yourself some of you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,992 ✭✭✭✭ namloc1980


    ClovenHoof wrote: »
    Makes a hell of a lot more sense than the Western Rail Corridor ever did. Alingments though populated areas all around the city.

    There are cities in Europe with populations under 50K that have light rail services so get over yourself some of you.

    Ireland doesn't do large scale investment in public transport. It's not a government priority or even on its agenda to do any form of public transport investment outside the GDA, other than a few new buses here and there. All well and good bringing up other countries but in those places the population and politicians expect and support decent public transport. Not so here.


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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    I agree with both of you above, but I do think that priority number one for both Limerick and Cork is to get the damn M20 built.

    Priority number two (hopefully in parallel) is to improve their bus services greatly. No point in talking about fancy light rail when you have a very poor bus service and very few people using it. Light rail (Luas) is what you do when buses reach their maximum capacity (as in the road capacity, a bus being full when you have a bus only every 30 minutes doesn't count!). I don't know Limerick well, but I suspect neither Cork nor Limerick are anywhere near that point yet. You need to learn to walk before you run.

    In fairness I do know that the quality of the bus services is coming on in leaps and bounds in Cork, I hope that the same is happening in Limerick.

    Of course it is a very good idea to plan ahead for having light rail some time in future. Plan where the line would go, retain ownership of the route, encourage high density development along the route, etc.

    This is something that Cork has been doing with the Cork Area Strategic Plan and the new plans for the Docklands down there.

    You have to remember that most of the route that Luas takes in Dublin is along an old railway line that was retained and kept in ownership for almost 50 years before Luas was eventually built on it. Limerick and Cork most likely need to be thinking ahead 50 years like this, rather then expecting to be getting this sort of development in the short term.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,283 ✭✭✭ irishguy


    This isn't going to happen any time soon and shouldn't happen, Limerick doesn't have the population density for it. Proper investment into a high frequency bus network and M20 is where the money should go.
    Limerick is probably the best served city in Ireland for road infrastructure capacity even more so when the northern distributor road gets competed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    bk wrote: »
    You have to remember that most of the route that Luas takes in Dublin is along an old railway line that was retained and kept in ownership for almost 50 years before Luas was eventually built on it.
    No, much of the Green Line was sold off and had to be bought back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,852 ✭✭✭ SeanW


    bk wrote: »
    I agree with both of you above, but I do think that priority number one for both Limerick and Cork is to get the damn M20 built.

    Priority number two (hopefully in parallel) is to improve their bus services greatly. No point in talking about fancy light rail when you have a very poor bus service and very few people using it. Light rail (Luas) is what you do when buses reach their maximum capacity (as in the road capacity, a bus being full when you have a bus only every 30 minutes doesn't count!). I don't know Limerick well, but I suspect neither Cork nor Limerick are anywhere near that point yet. You need to learn to walk before you run.

    In fairness I do know that the quality of the bus services is coming on in leaps and bounds in Cork, I hope that the same is happening in Limerick.

    Of course it is a very good idea to plan ahead for having light rail some time in future. Plan where the line would go, retain ownership of the route, encourage high density development along the route, etc.

    This is something that Cork has been doing with the Cork Area Strategic Plan and the new plans for the Docklands down there.

    You have to remember that most of the route that Luas takes in Dublin is along an old railway line that was retained and kept in ownership for almost 50 years before Luas was eventually built on it. Limerick and Cork most likely need to be thinking ahead 50 years like this, rather then expecting to be getting this sort of development in the short term.
    You're right about most of this, but not all. It isn't necessary to wait for the roads to be maxed out with full buses to build light rail. Because light rail attracts people to public transport in a way that buses never do. Buses are noisy, smelly, slow, bouncy and they're less than ideal for people with luggage, wheelchairs, prams and so on. Electric trams are quiet, clean (at the point of use, though the electricity to supply them may not be) a little faster when they have offline rights of way, smooth and with level boarding, are better for people who have any kind of mobility restriction.

    If you look at the United States during the 1950s when all the car, oil and tyre companies shut down all the streetcar lines, they replaced them with bus services and while these were probably good buses, it soon became a class divide between people who could afford to buy a new car every two years vs. poor people who were stuck with the bus. Previously, streetcars had been used by the lower and middle classes.

    One uses the bus because when one has no other choice. If you cannot drive to where you need to go, there are no trains/trams and you can't go somewhere else (like a different branch of the same store or something) you use the bus because it's the only way. Nobody likes using the bus.

    My point is that if you're waiting for the roads to be maxed out with full buses as the criteria to build light rail, no, you will be waiting a looooooong time. All that you need is a plan to have trams well used. Light rail also changes development patters - would you prefer to live somewhere that a bus connects you to the central area, or where there is a tram/metro etc? QED.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 697 ✭✭✭ wordofwarning


    SeanW wrote: »
    You're right about most of this, but not all. It isn't necessary to wait for the roads to be maxed out with full buses to build light rail. Because light rail attracts people to public transport in a way that buses never do. Buses are noisy, smelly, slow, bouncy and they're less than ideal for people with luggage, wheelchairs, prams and so on. Electric trams are quiet, clean (at the point of use, though the electricity to supply them may not be) a little faster when they have offline rights of way, smooth and with level boarding, are better for people who have any kind of mobility restriction.

    So instead of using modern, clean and smooth buses we should just throw a ton of money at a Luas line? Literally 80% of the problems you have listed with buses can be addressed with newer modern buses ie the new Dublin Buses are actually pretty nice to ride on. They have tons of room for prams etc.

    If someone has notions, that they won't use public transport as they don't like buses, I find it hard that they will love a luas where they will likely be standing rather than sitting on a bus.

    A BRT is a good compromise for smaller cities. It is like a tram without the cost. But there is zero point in throwing money at a BRT or Luas as there is no desire to fix the existing issue with buses ie poor timing etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    SeanW wrote: »
    Nobody likes using the bus.
    That's not true for a large number of people.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,852 ✭✭✭ SeanW


    So instead of using modern, clean and smooth buses we should just throw a ton of money at a Luas line?
    I'm not suggesting this as a rule, rather to recognise that a tram will be more attractive to a lot of people than a bus. More importantly, it will also affect development patterns as people will want live near it. Therefore, you shouldn't look solely at the current bus system (whatever its condition) as the sole guide to whether a tram line would work or not.
    Literally 80% of the problems you have listed with buses can be addressed with newer modern buses ie the new Dublin Buses are actually pretty nice to ride on. They have tons of room for prams etc.
    I know, I use them daily in my commute. They're not bad, I'll admit, but if I had a Metro or a tram or could drive instead, I would probably do so. They're noisy, the spew ungodly levels of fumes into the areas they stop sometimes and when someone has to get on with a wheelchair or powerchair, they can be accommodated, but the driver has to make a big production out of it. Lower the bus, huge amounts of beep-beep-beeping, automatic announcements the floor folds out. And woe betide the whole bus if the on-board computer fails to recognise that the floor has been folded back up. None of this on the tram.
    If someone has notions, that they won't use public transport
    Only about the top 10% "have notions" as you put it and will avoid public transport as a general rule. The other 90% are all to play for.
    I find it hard that they will love a luas where they will likely be standing rather than sitting on a bus.
    And yet, that is exactly what happens in Dublin. I don't get to use the Luas much, but every tram I see has standees. In many cases, those Luas users abandoned an alternative service that would have been demonstrably more in their interests to use, such as the former 90 bus.

    In fact, I distinctly remember an old post, I think it was on Rail Users Ireland a few years after the Luas opened, a tip "if you need to go between Heuston and Connolly, use the 90 bus, its faster than the Luas, and it's practically empty because everyone else doing the same journey is on the Luas ..." the 90 bus was scaled back in the years that followed and I think since abandoned. The fact that the Luas is able to fill a 50 metre tram to capacity every few minutes should tell you something.

    Both of the tram services are maxed out beyond capacity in key areas (Red line from Heuston in, the Northern part of the Green line. The same is true for the DART in both directions and the Maynooth Commuter.
    A BRT is a good compromise for smaller cities. It is like a tram without the cost. But there is zero point in throwing money at a BRT or Luas as there is no desire to fix the existing issue with buses ie poor timing etc.
    Yeah, but it's still a bus.
    Victor wrote:
    That's not true for a large number of people.
    People use buses, to be sure, but I think that's largely because there is no metro/tram available instead, or because you are going into a city's central area and the bus lanes let you skip the traffic/avoid paying for parking. Buses are also useful if you're in Dublin and need to get somewhere like Mullingar after 7PM and the intercity railway has shut down for the evening. Or if the bus is cheaper than the train. But does anyone actually LIKE it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,168 ✭✭✭ roadmaster


    The way technology is going at the moment I am sure electric buses that will have a good range are only around the corner. Surely this would be the way to go with a public transport system for our smaller cities like limerick and larger towns. They would be good for the environment and would not need streets to be dug up like a rail system. Once they are ran effectifly and the hours/ routes people want it would be win win


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    SeanW, you are of course right that light rail is more attractive then buses. But I disagree with you that modern buses are dirty and uncomfortable as you make out. The main attraction of light rail is it's reliability. It is just much less likely to get stuck in traffic.

    However I believe Cork and Limericks public transport usage is in the single digit.

    That leaves absolutely zero economic justification for building expensive light rail.

    Cork and Limerick need to focus on vastly improving their bus services and see a resultant significant increase in bus usage before the idea of light rail would be even taken seriously. And in reality as others have said above, BRT is more realistic first step.
    roadmaster wrote: »
    The way technology is going at the moment I am sure electric buses that will have a good range are only around the corner. Surely this would be the way to go with a public transport system for our smaller cities like limerick and larger towns. They would be good for the environment and would not need streets to be dug up like a rail system. Once they are ran effectifly and the hours/ routes people want it would be win win

    Full EV single deck buses are now pretty well developed and widely available. London is replacing their 300 single deck buses with full EV buses over the next three years.

    We should certainly do the same with our single decker buses.

    Double Deckers are far harder to build as full EV for a variety of reasons. So far only a handful of demo protypes exist in London. So we might want to give that a few more years to develop.

    However hybrid battery/diesel double deckers are VERY well developed now and all new double deckers bought in london over the last 5 years have been hybrids and we should be doing the same from today.

    Another possibility is hybrid/bio-gas buses, good from government policy perspective.

    BTW an interesting fact, a typical modern Diesel car like a Volkswagen Golf, prodcues more then twice the amount of NOX and PM's as a modern Euro 6 bus like those used by DB/BE!

    Yes, in total, not per passenger, literally a diesel car produces more then twice the amount of NOX/PM's as the bus next to it! Without even taking into account the 80 or so people sitting on the bus!

    This is due to the vastly tighter emission rules for trucks and buses, then the ones for cars which were massively watered down at the behest of the European car companies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,344 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu


    Belfast is much bigger than either city and they've gone with BRT.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,163 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    loyatemu wrote: »
    Belfast is much bigger than either city and they've gone with BRT.

    Purely because the UK government isn't prepared to spend big money on infrastructure in peripheral cities. Any normal European country would have a city the size of Belfast kitted out with a multi-line light rail in a jiffy. The Republic of Ireland apes UK policy on most matters.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    And because they make buses in Ballymena.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Victor wrote: »
    And because they make buses in Ballymena.

    The BRT coming to Belfast is from VanHool, a Belgian company.

    But yes, Wrights make lots of the buses used in the UK and Ireland, including the majority of the DB and BE fleet over the past 10 years or so.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,824 ✭✭✭ wally79


    Light rail is a great solution. Based in Dublin and I can get a seat on the bus from right outside my door which drops me 5 mins from work or walk 10 minutes to stand on the luas which drops me 10 minutes from work.

    Luas wins every time because I know exactly how long my commute will take every day. I'm not at the mercy of variables like the schools going back or people driving on a wet day.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    wally79 wrote: »
    Light rail is a great solution. Based in Dublin and I can get a seat on the bus from right outside my door which drops me 5 mins from work or walk 10 minutes to stand on the luas which drops me 10 minutes from work.

    Luas wins every time because I know exactly how long my commute will take every day. I'm not at the mercy of variables like the schools going back or people driving on a wet day.

    I think everyone would agree that Light Rail is nicer then bus. But you do have to keep in mind the cost of it. It cost €700 million to build the two Luas lines and the current Luas Cross City project costs €365 million. So that is a total of over €1 billion!

    So you have to ask would spending 500 million each on a Luas line for Cork and Limerick be good value for money?

    That 1 billion could also buy you the M20 or a massive increase in the bus fleets of Cork and Limerick that would serve a much wider area of those cities then a single Luas line would.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    bk wrote: »
    I think everyone would agree that Light Rail is nicer then bus. But you do have to keep in mind the cost of it. It cost €700 million to build the two Luas lines and the current Luas Cross City project costs €365 million. So that is a total of over €1 billion!
    Don't forget the previous extensions, so a total of about €1.5 billion in capital costs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,516 ✭✭✭✭ Idbatterim


    in terms of the noise and smell from buses, agreed! But these will not be issues in the what minimum ten years it would take for this to become a reality?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,142 ✭✭✭ Middle Man


    Limerick light rail seems a good idea in principle and I've recently been looking into this very thing along with similar ideas for both Cork and Galway. For Limerick, I think a MetroLink style system where trams would travel on existing railways as well as street level tramways - this would require the use of the Irish broad gauge or double gauge on some lines. As some existing railways seem very constrained, it might be best to develop loop routes - for example, outbound by railway and inbound by street. There are a few obstacles like the aforementioned, but where there's a will, there's a way!


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 17,014 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Henry Ford III


    Aim high peoples!

    kilkenny-road-tain-tours-shot2.png


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  • Registered Users Posts: 78,208 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    Middle Man wrote: »
    double gauge
    Do you mean dual gauge, where trams and trains would mix?

    This wouldn't be allowed:
    * The buffers would need to line up vertically and horizontally.
    * Trains mass and speed is much higher than those of trams.
    * Tram structure probably wouldn't withstand a strike from a train.

    The only saving grace in Limerick is that there are currently no train services on the southern lines and any future service is likely to be limited.


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