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Wider electrification of rail around Dublin

  • 23-10-2017 4:32pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 90 ✭✭ CreativeSen


    Of course if they electrified the Connolly to Maynooth line, Drumcondra would be a Dart Station.

    So the must recent chatter I heard about that, and correct me if I am wrong, is that they will electrify north to Balbriggan before West to Maynooth. AFAIK they have no plans to electrify the Maynooth line.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 60,996 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    AFAIK they have no plans to electrify the Maynooth line.

    There are plans to electrify the Maynooth line.

    It would benefit far more from it than Balbriggan due to station spacing and curvature (electric acceleration is much superior).


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,646 ✭✭✭ thomasj


    L1011 wrote:
    It would benefit far more from it than Balbriggan due to station spacing and curvature (electric acceleration is much superior).

    L1011 wrote:
    There are plans to electrify the Maynooth line.

    It would make more sense to electrify maynooth line first.

    1. Congestion on the northern line

    2. You will still need trains for Drogheda and Dundalk if you electrify Balbriggan only, on the maynooth line you've covered the whole line.

    3. Integration - you have green line at broombridge, metro at drumcondra and red line at connolly


  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭ vrusinov


    Maynooth would be a new line, which may need trains, interchanges, depots, etc.
    Electrification north is an extension of existing DART line, so should be easier and faster to implement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,347 ✭✭✭✭ MJohnston


    vrusinov wrote: »
    Maynooth would be a new line, which may need trains, interchanges, depots, etc.
    Electrification north is an extension of existing DART line, so should be easier and faster to implement.

    That's a bit misleading, it's the existing line, but electrified instead of commuter rail.

    DART to the north suffers from the significant problem of being on the Northern Line. It already has capacity problems, without adding more to it. DART to Balbriggan would therefore require additional tracking, which the much lower usage Sligo line would not.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    If the Maynooth service was electrified, then the likely service would be
    Bray to Maynooth and Bray to Malahide, with a Howth to Howth Junction shuttle. Some Bray services would continue to Greystones as now.

    Of course it could operate Connolly to Maynooth, or even Docklands to Maynooth.

    If there is a shortage of rolling stock, the commuter diesels could be used to augment the service during busy times.

    If the service is there people will use it - if it is frequent, reliable, and quick.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭ roadmaster


    If the Maynooth service was electrified, then the likely service would be
    Bray to Maynooth and Bray to Malahide, with a Howth to Howth Junction shuttle. Some Bray services would continue to Greystones as now.

    Of course it could operate Connolly to Maynooth, or even Docklands to Maynooth.

    If there is a shortage of rolling stock, the commuter diesels could be used to augment the service during busy times.

    If the service is there people will use it - if it is frequent, reliable, and quick.

    What's the furthest you could run the dart in theory distance wise?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,183 ✭✭✭ sdanseo


    roadmaster wrote: »
    What's the furthest you could run the dart in theory distance wise?

    Anywhere you have track can be electrified but assuming you mean for it to be effective, around 50km end to end or max. 45 mins from one end of the line to the city - whichever is greater. Beyond that, people will start to value the seat over the convenience.
    If the Maynooth service was electrified, then the likely service would be
    Bray to Maynooth and Bray to Malahide, with a Howth to Howth Junction shuttle. Some Bray services would continue to Greystones as now.

    Howth should already be a shuttle, I think it's more tradition that keeps it as-is. Capacity on the Northern Line is affected by this and there are a lot more passengers on the Northern Line.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,347 ✭✭✭✭ MJohnston


    sdanseo wrote: »
    Anywhere you have track can be electrified but assuming you mean for it to be effective, around 50km end to end or max. 45 mins from one end of the line to the city - whichever is greater. Beyond that, people will start to value the seat over the convenience.

    Arguably we're at a point now where all trains can (and should) be electric, no matter the distances involved. Specifically for DART trains that's probably a good radius to use though.


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


    MJohnston wrote: »
    Arguably we're at a point now where all trains can (and should) be electric, no matter the distances involved. Specifically for DART trains that's probably a good radius to use though.

    When you start to look at medium to long distance, electric doesn't make sense.

    Basically electric is best suited when you have a lot of stations close to one another. So basically urban mass transit type services (DART, LUAS) as you benefit from the faster acceleration/deceleration times at each station.

    With intercity, you normally only have a small number of stops (if any) and so you don't really benefit from it. At least not enough benefit for the very high cost of installing it (hundreds of millions).


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    roadmaster wrote: »
    What's the furthest you could run the dart in theory distance wise?

    It really depends on the number of stops. The Darts can travel at up to 100 Km/hr at least. (The earlier trains have a max of 100 k,/hr and later ones 110 km/hr)

    I think 45 mins either side of the centre of the city, which gives a radius of up to 45 km. Including stops, I think 30 km is about as far as would be reasonable. Bray is 30 mins from CC, with Greystones another 7 mins or so. Maybe if the traffic was there, Wicklow could be done, but the single track renders that moot. However, Bray is slow between Dunlaoughrie and Dalkey, so not a good measure.

    The problems arise from driver shift patterns and passenger patterns - there is no point in going out 30 km with an empty train after the first 10 km. Maynooth is an excellent destination.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,816 ✭✭✭ donvito99


    Iarnrod Eireann have talked about wider electrification once the present fleet needs replacing post 2030.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,347 ✭✭✭✭ MJohnston


    bk wrote: »
    At least not enough benefit for the very high cost of installing it (hundreds of millions).

    Ah well, yes, but he did say 'in theory', a realistic assessment is another kettle of fish entirely ;)

    I do think we'll reach a point relatively quickly where we could have intercity battery-powered passenger trains. Certainly Irish Rail have been talking about hybrids for a while although those don't contain batteries, but I could see a not-so-distant future where there are "tri-brid" (I just made that up entirely) locomotives, with battery storage primary engine, pantographs for overhead electric running and battery recharging where available, with a rarely-used backup diesel engine.

    Again, whether I see that actually happening with Irish Rail is another question, but I think that technology isn't too far away from being affordable for rail operators.

    Annnnyyyywaayyyy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,693 ✭✭✭ Chivito550


    bk wrote: »
    When you start to look at medium to long distance, electric doesn't make sense.

    Basically electric is best suited when you have a lot of stations close to one another. So basically urban mass transit type services (DART, LUAS) as you benefit from the faster acceleration/deceleration times at each station.

    With intercity, you normally only have a small number of stops (if any) and so you don't really benefit from it. At least not enough benefit for the very high cost of installing it (hundreds of millions).

    Any intercity train I've got in Western Europe has been electrified. Germany, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria etc. If the benefit wasn't there, then I'm sure they wouldn't have bothered investing in it.

    It's also much better for the environment.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    bk wrote: »
    When you start to look at medium to long distance, electric doesn't make sense.

    Basically electric is best suited when you have a lot of stations close to one another. So basically urban mass transit type services (DART, LUAS) as you benefit from the faster acceleration/deceleration times at each station.

    With intercity, you normally only have a small number of stops (if any) and so you don't really benefit from it. At least not enough benefit for the very high cost of installing it (hundreds of millions).

    No, I would put it the other way. Electric is the only solution for frequent stopping urban trains. Diesels are not suitable because of slow acceleration, noise and pollution. The London Underground has been electric for ever, as has the NY Subway.

    On inter-city, electric are king with diesel only being worth considering if there is no overhead wire.


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


    Chivito550 wrote: »
    Any intercity train I've got in Western Europe has been electrified. Germany, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria etc. If the benefit wasn't there, then I'm sure they wouldn't have bothered investing in it.

    It's also much better for the environment.

    There are many, many, non electrified intercity lines around Europe.

    Most of the ones you mention above are High Speed Rail, HSR, that is a whole different story, you absolutely need electrification to do HSR, but then that is a completely different conversation.

    If you are just electrifying our existing tracks, without doing actual HSR, then you are spending hundreds of millions, for little or no benefit.

    BTW some countries like the Netherlands have electrified without having HSR. The reason being, if you have train frequencies sub 10 minutes, then you need electrification for the reliability of it. We are nowhere near that on our intercity lines.

    As for the environmental argument, it is a little bogus. Of course electric trains are better for the environment, but you would have to consider the environmental cost of scrapping the current fleet when they aren't even half way through their life yet and building new trains, doing that would have a very high negative environmental cost.

    Also you would have to consider if the 100's of millions it would cost, could be spent in other ways that would have in better environmental impact, for instance, more wind farms, more subsidies to making homes more energy/heat efficient, more subsidies towards EV's etc.

    I agree with what MJohnston says above, when it finally comes time to replace our intercity trains, we are more likely to look at hybrid battery biofuel or hybird battery trains then full electrification. Battery tech is advancing at an outstanding rate in EV's and buses and trains are starting to benefit from it too. Most of the benefits of electrification without all the high infrastructure cost.

    Sam Russell, absolutely, you are right that electric is king. It is more a case of us simply doing the best with what we have and deciding where to best to invest what little money we have.

    Bringing it back to this thread topic, electrifying (not HSR) Cork to Belfast would cost about 1 billion and would give you little in the way of speed improvements. Would that be worth it or would that money be better spent on Metro North?


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


    bk wrote: »
    There are many, many, non electrified intercity lines around Europe.

    Most of the ones you mention above are High Speed Rail, HSR, that is a whole different story, you absolutely need electrification to do HSR, but then that is a completely different conversation.

    If you are just electrifying our existing tracks, without doing actual HSR, then you are spending hundreds of millions, for little or no benefit.

    BTW some countries like the Netherlands have electrified without having HSR. The reason being, if you have train frequencies sub 10 minutes, then you need electrification for the reliability of it. We are nowhere near that on our intercity lines.

    As for the environmental argument, it is a little bogus. Of course electric trains are better for the environment, but you would have to consider the environmental cost of scrapping the current fleet when they aren't even half way through their life yet and building new trains, doing that would have a very high negative environmental cost.

    Also you would have to consider if the 100's of millions it would cost, could be spent in other ways that would have in better environmental impact, for instance, more wind farms, more subsidies to making homes more energy/heat efficient, more subsidies towards EV's etc.

    I agree with what MJohnston says above, when it finally comes time to replace our intercity trains, we are more likely to look at hybrid battery biofuel or hybird battery trains then full electrification. Battery tech is advancing at an outstanding rate in EV's and buses and trains are starting to benefit from it too. Most of the benefits of electrification without all the high infrastructure cost.

    Sam Russell, absolutely, you are right that electric is king. It is more a case of us simply doing the best with what we have and deciding where to best to invest what little money we have.

    Bringing it back to this thread topic, electrifying (not HSR) Cork to Belfast would cost about 1 billion and would give you little in the way of speed improvements. Would that be worth it or would that money be better spent on Metro North?

    Great post. Emerging Battery Technology will be a game changer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭ jim-mcdee


    L1011 wrote: »
    There are plans to electrify the Maynooth line.

    It would benefit far more from it than Balbriggan due to station spacing and curvature (electric acceleration is much superior).

    I live in Balbriggan and I couldnt care less whether it is electrified or not. What we want is faster trains. 45 mins to travel the 20 miles to connolly is taking the p. Even on days when there is heavy traffic I beat the train driving 9 out of 10 times. And I have a seat!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    jim-mcdee wrote: »
    I live in Balbriggan and I couldnt care less whether it is electrified or not. What we want is faster trains. 45 mins to travel the 20 miles to connolly is taking the p. Even on days when there is heavy traffic I beat the train driving 9 out of 10 times. And I have a seat!

    That is a major problem with public transport in Dublin - it is just too slow. Trains need to be reliable, fast, and frequent. The cost comes into it but if the first three are met, the cost will be paid.

    The running of diesels south of GCD slows Dart trains down, and when (if) the ten minute Dart service will be slowed more. It would make more sense to terminate all (most) diesels at GCD or Pearse and turn them back at the Boston sidings or at GCD. Of course electric trains to Maynooth would allow a faster turn around.

    Bray to Connolly is 22 Km and takes 43 mins which is an average of 30 km/H which is the speed of a cyclist. The Dart trains have a maximum of at least 100 km/h - surely they can manage a bit faster than 30 km/h.


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


    Bray to Connolly is 22 Km and takes 43 mins which is an average of 30 km/H which is the speed of a cyclist. The Dart trains have a maximum of at least 100 km/h - surely they can manage a bit faster than 30 km/h.

    The average speed of London Underground trains is just 33km/h, so it isn't that unusual.

    Of course faster would be nicer, but I think higher frequency and reliability are overall more important.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't 'Wider electrification of rail around Dublin' just a other name for expansion of the dart?


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't 'Wider electrification of rail around Dublin' just a other name for expansion of the dart?

    Well yes it could be, but I moved these posts from MN and I thought it would not disturb the thrust of the discussion to put it into a new thread. The discussion here appeared to be concentrating on electric aspect.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    bk wrote: »
    The average speed of London Underground trains is just 33km/h, so it isn't that unusual.

    Of course faster would be nicer, but I think higher frequency and reliability are overall more important.

    That is 10% faster than Dart.


  • Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭ jim-mcdee


    bk wrote: »
    The average speed of London Underground trains is just 33km/h, so it isn't that unusual.

    Of course faster would be nicer, but I think higher frequency and reliability are overall more important.

    London underground has a higher average speed than Bray to the city? That's pretty bad. It's underground, stops every minute, and still has a higher average speed. Poor choice of it was intended to defend IR.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,265 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    What is the benefit in extending DART to Balbriggan? Will Malahide DARTs then run to Balbriggan (meaning longer travel times for people north of Malahide) or will we see new service patterns? North of Balbriggan would still need diesel trains but what level of service can be justified for the four stations north of county Dublin? I don't see any logic in extending DART to Balbriggan.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,401 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    On inter-city, electric are king with diesel only being worth considering if there is no overhead wire.
    Nah definitely not. Check this site for detailed maps on electrification:
    www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps

    Pick a place comparable to Ireland like Denmark or Greece or the Baltic states. Not much electrification.


  • Registered Users Posts: 158 ✭✭ vrusinov


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    What is the benefit in extending DART to Balbriggan?

    Higher frequency. It is better to wait 15 minutes + spend 45 minutes on the train that to wait 30 minutes + 30 minutes on the train.

    There is also a lot of shorter journeys between Balbriggan/Skerries/Rush/Donabate (line seems to be full of school/college students during certain hours) that will benefit from higher frequency and don't really care about speed.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    spacetweek wrote: »
    Nah definitely not. Check this site for detailed maps on electrification:
    www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps

    Pick a place comparable to Ireland like Denmark or Greece or the Baltic states. Not much electrification.

    I think you misread my post. I said that the only reason to use diesel is where there is no provision for running electric trains.

    Obviously, it is not economic to change all lines to electric. CIE got rid of horses very a very short time in the 1950s and switched from steam to diesel over a short time as well, also I think in the 1950s.

    I think it would be useful for IR to plan electrifying most of the commuter lines into Dublin including the PPT. This would allow the full integration of commuter and Dart services.


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


    jim-mcdee wrote: »
    London underground has a higher average speed than Bray to the city? That's pretty bad. It's underground, stops every minute, and still has a higher average speed. Poor choice of it was intended to defend IR.

    Brahhhhhh... Did I just get accused of defending Irish Rail!! LOL :D

    I usually get accused of being vehemently, militant, anti-IR!! :D

    My point was that such low speeds are very common for urban mass transit. High speed isn't really the point of mass transit.

    Interestingly NYC Subway average speed is just 28km/h, so DART is 10% faster then the NY Subway :P

    Interestingly the Paris Metro averages just 20km/h! So DART is about 45% faster then it!

    Not that being 10% faster or slower is really all that important when we are talking about speeds around 30km/h, that really wasn't the point I was making.

    The point is high speed isn't important for mass transit, non of these services come anywhere near the trains maximum potential speed. Improving frequency (e.g. every 10 minutes) is much more important for DART then ecking out small improvements in speed (though welcome if they can).


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭ roadmaster


    When talking about Diesel trains an important thing to remember is in the long term the combustion engine has had its day and will be obsolete. So i would imagine all are trains both dart and intercity will be electrified


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,086 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    bk wrote: »
    Brahhhhhh... Did I just get accused of defending Irish Rail!! LOL :D

    I usually get accused of being vehemently, militant, anti-IR!! :D

    My point was that such low speeds are very common for urban mass transit. High speed isn't really the point of mass transit.

    Interestingly NYC Subway average speed is just 28km/h, so DART is 10% faster then the NY Subway :P

    Interestingly the Paris Metro averages just 20km/h! So DART is about 45% faster then it!

    Not that being 10% faster or slower is really all that important when we are talking about speeds around 30km/h, that really wasn't the point I was making.

    The point is high speed isn't important for mass transit, non of these services come anywhere near the trains maximum potential speed. Improving frequency (e.g. every 10 minutes) is much more important for DART then ecking out small improvements in speed (though welcome if they can).

    Of course the Dart running times were based on the published timetable. The actual running times should include the occasional delays (like every day).

    Like I said elsewhere, Frequency, Reliability, and Speed are the important issues with train transport. Not sure how many goody points Dart get on each of those.


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