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Cork-Dublin-Belfast - High speed rail

  • 23-08-2018 11:10pm
    #1
    Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 13,234 Mod ✭✭✭✭ marno21


    As per the NDP, a feasibility study on such a project vs investment in the existing rail line is to begin before February 2019.

    Any word on this since?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    Would it be totally be beyond the realm of possibility that they would build a new high speed line (capable of 300km/h for example), and leave the existing line to service the towns already on there (with the possibility of re-opening stations like Charleville for example). I know we haven't created a new rail line since the Vitorian era, but seriously a 1 hour trip to Cork would be nice (no idea what it would cost)


  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    Rulmeq wrote: »
    Would it be totally be beyond the realm of possibility that they would build a new high speed line (capable of 300km/h for example), and leave the existing line to service the towns already on there (with the possibility of re-opening stations like Charleville for example). I know we haven't created a new rail line since the Vitorian era, but seriously a 1 hour trip to Cork would be nice (no idea what it would cost)

    While a new 300 km/h line would be brilliant, it is unlikely due to cost. High speed rail is notoriously expensive and it's doubtful we have the market to justify the expenditure.

    An upgraded line with a max running speed of 250 km/h and tilting trains might be feasible.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,194 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    There wouldn't really be much of a point in high speed rail (300km/h+ in Ireland) because the distance between stops is to small, you'd have to run them as expresses with only one or 2 stops on the main intercity routes, hard to justify doing that parallel to an existing railway that's underfunded.

    It's more likely we'll see electrification and upgrade of the main lines, like in Denmark/Sweden and other countries similar to our own, to high speed (200-250km/hr). Such a service could deliver Dublin-Cork in 1hr30 which defeats the motorway by a long shot. Putting in 300km/hr rail might deliver the same journey in about 100 minutes, but you'd be spending tens of billions just to save 20 minutes on the train, which at 250km/hr would already have roads licked on the speed front.

    I'd propose building a new high speed line between Drogheda and Heuston via Dublin airport and a new tunnel under the urban bits, then have express trains run Belfast-Drogheda-Dublin Airport- Dublin Heuston - Portarlington- Limerick Junction-Cork in about 4-4.5 hours of a journey at 160km/hr then start gradually upgrading parts of the track, electrifying it, using hybrid diesel Electric trains at first. Then gradually after 10-15 years of scheduled upgrades you have a high speed service completing Belfast-Cork in about 2.5 hours. With stops at Portarlington and Limerick Junction you'd be allowing for the vast majority of Ireland's population to access the high speed line (connecting the only three metropolitan areas and the main airport in double quick time) with only one change or less.

    The biggest problems would be the Drogheda-Heuston section, which would require expensive tunneling. The electrification would be expensive but could be done gradually. also the not controlling almost half of the Dublin-Belfast line is another barrier.

    This all takes a back seat to commuter journeys within urban areas which are horrendous in Ireland at the minute. Commuter journeys are far more numerous, we do them twice a day, and they've been getting longer and longer. That needs to be sorted first. Hopefully by 2030 Dublin will have a functional rail/bus based reliable public transport system and the other cities will have bus connects. Then serious money needs to connect the cities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    Charleville is open BTW.


  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    Frostybrew wrote: »
    Charleville is open BTW.
    I thought I read some article about a local councillor who wanted it opened, it might have been a different station down around that area.


    I still don't see why we couldn't just have a completly new alignment, we did it for the motorways. What's so special about the existing lines that we can't create new ones - it was the same when there was a discussion about a rail link to Shannon, everyone was asking "and what part of the WRC should it join?" I mean why? Why can't we have a direct line from Limerick under the Shannon to SNN (apart from cost, which is always going to be an issue)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    Rulmeq wrote: »
    I thought I read some article about a local councillor who wanted it opened, it might have been a different station down around that area.


    I still don't see why we couldn't just have a completly new alignment, we did it for the motorways. What's so special about the existing lines that we can't create new ones - it was the same when there was a discussion about a rail link to Shannon, everyone was asking "and what part of the WRC should it join?" I mean why? Why can't we have a direct line from Limerick under the Shannon to SNN (apart from cost, which is always going to be an issue)

    I think it was Killmallock or Knocklong that they were trying to reopen.

    There's nothing special about existing lines, its just the cost of a new high speed line from Cork to Dublin is too expensive. For example the cost of HS2 from London to Birmingham has been estimated at £48 billion. Thats the equivalent 48 M20's or 48 LUAS lines. While Cork to Dublin probably wouldn't be that expensive due to a less urban landscape, you would still be talking in the region of 20 to 30 billion.

    The 48 billion can be justified in the UK as multiple large cities and urban areas benefit. We don't have the population density or distances here to make it economically viable.

    Upgraded lines is the next best option.


  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    Frostybrew wrote: »
    For example the cost of HS2 from London to Birmingham has been estimated at £48 billion.


    Wow, just went through the wikipedia page for that project, that seems extremely expensive for what they are getting. I don't know the exact cost of the ICE in Germany, but there's no way they are paying £400million per mile.

    I know this is much older (1999 - 2006), but it was a new line, and is capable of 300km/h - and it's between 2 major urban centres, and it cost in the region of €6billion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne%E2%80%93Frankfurt_high-speed_rail_line

    Even with inflation, I don't see how the UK are paying that much...


  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    Rulmeq wrote: »
    Wow, just went through the wikipedia page for that project, that seems extremely expensive for what they are getting. I don't know the exact cost of the ICE in Germany, but there's no way they are paying £400million per mile.

    I know this is much older (1999 - 2006), but it was a new line, and is capable of 300km/h - and it's between 2 major urban centres, and it cost in the region of €6billion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne%E2%80%93Frankfurt_high-speed_rail_line

    Even with inflation, I don't see how the UK are paying that much...

    Believe me, I would absolutely love a high speed LGV style line between Cork, Dublin, and Belfast; just can't see how it would be anywhere close to viable.

    The UK would have a larger urban footprint than Germany; which generally leads to extensive tunnelling, which really drives the price up. Cologne and Frankfurt are relatively compact in comparison to London and Birmingham.


  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    Frostybrew wrote: »
    Believe me, I would absolutely love a high speed LGV style line between Cork, Dublin, and Belfast; just can't see how it would be anywhere close to viable.

    The UK would have a larger urban footprint than Germany; which generally leads to extensive tunnelling, which really drives the price up. Cologne and Frankfurt are relatively compact in comparison to London and Birmingham.


    Yeah, even at €6billion it's unrealistic :( There are people who are still trying to claim that spending €1billion on a motoroway between Limerick and Cork isn't acceptable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ ncounties


    Every town along the existing line do not need a high speed rail connection. An intercity from Belfast having to stop at Drogheda or Dundalk for a load of commuters to eventually pile on would defeat the purpose of a high speed intercity service. These populations will benefit from the fact that their line is now electrified and their existing services can accelerate quicker between stations. To build a new tunnel to go via Dublin airport, and then under a huge swath of Dublin's North Side would be insane as well for the actual through put it in terms of passengers it would achieve.

    This money would be better spent on the Dart interconnector for which the high speed train could travel through at a restricted speed from Connolly to Heuston and onwards on the Cork line, as well as extending Metro North (I refuse to name it by its new FG name) to meet the line at Donabate, where passengers can alight for the short journey to the airport.

    If I had my way, the line would be developed up to a continuous 200kph for it's entirety. The line would also be branched to Limerick. Services would run from Gt. Victoria St, calling at Donabate, Connolly, Heuston, Limerick Junction and Kent (and vice-versa). With the total journey being sub-three hours. Passengers from Belfast could expect to be checking in at Dublin within one hour of departure. Whilst Cork passengers could expect the same within two hours. As for return in investment, this is not quantifiable, and I really don't like the concept which we in the "West" have moved to, that requires civil infrastructure to be a Government profit centre. Urban roads are a cost centre for christ sake.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Eleanor Wide Grocery


    Could Hyperloop running at 1,500 km/h not be cheaper (certainly faster), essentially most of it is a just an aul vacum tube.

    Musk calculated just $6bn for a line from SF to LA, bargain.


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 9,211 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatInABox


    Could Hyperloop running at 1,500 km/h not be cheaper (certainly faster), essentially most of it is a just an aul vacum tube.

    Musk calculated just $6bn for a line from SF to LA, bargain.

    Until there's a hyperloop up and running somewhere, those numbers are just fantasy.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Eleanor Wide Grocery


    CatInABox wrote: »
    Until there's a hyperloop up and running somewhere, those numbers are just fantasy.

    The first phase of HyperloopTT is expected to be completed in time for the World Expo (2020) in the UAE.

    Mumbai-Pune hyperloop might be next, the first Indian commercial hyperloop between the two cities is targeted to roll by 2025. Expected to be cheaper than plane tickets between the cities.

    Virgin Hyperloop One has already tested 240mph in Nevada, but aims to begin full-scale production testing by 2021 in the US.


  • Registered Users Posts: 881 ✭✭✭ Bray Head


    The EU audit office did a big report on high-speed rail in Europe recently. They found build costs of €12m to €28m per kilometre.

    You could pick something near the low end for Belfast-Cork - say €15m per kilometre - as there are no big natural obstacles. Road distance is about 420km. That comes in at €6.3bn for the whole project. That is the entire capital budget of Ireland and Northern Ireland for a year.

    The line might save at best two hours. Or a whopping €53m per minute saved. You need very large passenger numbers to make this work on cost-benefit grounds, and there simply aren't enough people in Cork, Dublin and Belfast to make a decent case.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    Whatever about high speed I definitely think there is a case for electrifying the Dublin to Belfast line. If there was to be a United Ireland then Belfast should definitely be developed as a second city to Dublin plenty of room for the city to expand at a higher density to Dublin and Cork which it already has.

    Line speeds need to be brought up and there needs four tracking as far Malahide and then we should be looking at electrication. I see Dublin to Belfast being a perfect candidate for electrication as it sees a fairly high amount of commuter movements as well as Intercity movements at both ends of line between Dublin and Dundalk but also between Portadown and Belfast. There also potential for more services to Newry from both sides of the border.


  • Registered Users Posts: 881 ✭✭✭ Bray Head


    Stephen15 wrote: »
    Whatever about high speed I definitely think there is a case for electrifying the Dublin to Belfast line. 
    Serious question: what is the cost of electrification per kilometre?


  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    Bray Head wrote: »
    Serious question: what is the cost of electrification per kilometre?
    I can't find the link, but there was an IE report a few years back that estimated it at 500k per km (although I've seen it reported as high as €1million/km)


  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    Rulmeq wrote: »
    I can't find the link, but there was an IE report a few years back that estimated it at 500k per km (although I've seen it reported as high as €1million/km)

    Yes I remember reading IE's Strategic Rail review and they recommend electrification for Cork and Belfast as it is more cost effective than diesel over a long period of time. I imagine €1m per km is feasible which would put it around the €500million mark. I wonder what the cost would be to bring the line speed up to 250km/h, or even 300km/h. Higher speeds would mean rebuilding intermediate stations and creation of more direct curves, as well as quad tracking around Dublin, and possibly tunnelling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,194 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    ncounties wrote: »

    This money would be better spent on the Dart interconnector for which the high speed train could travel through at a restricted speed from Connolly to Heuston and onwards on the Cork line, as well as extending Metro North (I refuse to name it by its new FG name) to meet the line at Donabate, where passengers can alight for the short journey to the airport.

    Physically impossible to start a tunnel from Connolly to bring it Heuston. DART Underground was planned be between Docklands and Inchicore.

    The problem with running high speed rail is there isn't any space on existing track between Drogheda and Dublin City Centre,even conventional speed service cant run on time with 10 minute DARTs hence the need for a new alignment via Dublin Airport
    ncounties wrote: »
    With the total journey being sub-three hours. Passengers from Belfast could expect to be checking in at Dublin within one hour of departure. Whilst Cork passengers could expect the same within two hours. As for return in investment, this is not quantifiable

    It is of course quantifiable. That's how projects get built.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,194 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    Could Hyperloop running at 1,500 km/h not be cheaper (certainly faster), essentially most of it is a just an aul vacum tube.

    Musk calculated just $6bn for a line from SF to LA, bargain.

    hyperloop is a fantasy in it's present form, the plan is to run small vehicles in the loop accommodating individuals or small groups :eek: and that it would be 'on demand' i.e. it'd be a low capacity system for the super rich, not a public transport option. When thy build one with large vehicles on a schedule we'll see.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,194 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    Bray Head wrote: »
    The EU audit office did a big report on high-speed rail in Europe recently. They found build costs of €12m to €28m per kilometre.

    You could pick something near the low end for Belfast-Cork - say €15m per kilometre - as there are no big natural obstacles. Road distance is about 420km. That comes in at €6.3bn for the whole project. That is the entire capital budget of Ireland and Northern Ireland for a year.

    The line might save at best two hours. Or a whopping €53m per minute saved. You need very large passenger numbers to make this work on cost-benefit grounds, and there simply aren't enough people in Cork, Dublin and Belfast to make a decent case.

    but of course the cost wouldn't come in all in the one year and of course that's building new high speed, not retrofitting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 959 ✭✭✭ Rulmeq


    cgcsb wrote: »
    but of course the cost wouldn't come in all in the one year and of course that's building new high speed, not retrofitting.


    Not only that, but a direct route (from Celbridge, south of Naas, and kind of taking the route the M8 takes) is only just over 200km (admittedly it's ignoring the Belfast portion, and only gets people as far as Heuston), but at the lower range of those costs it's "only" €2.5billion (still no appetite* in Ireland for that expenditure on rail - and I'm also assuming that doesn't include the cost of the trains - I could be wrong on that, maybe the figure is the all in price)


    *The short termism annoys me about projects like this, these are hundred year investments, so spending €4billion on a metro that will still be in use in 2120 should not be looked at in terms of the cost today - do we really not want to leave anything as our legacy to future generations - we're leaving them the bills from our day-to-day spending, wouldn't it be nice if they got something out of it instead.


  • Registered Users Posts: 881 ✭✭✭ Bray Head


    cgcsb wrote: »
    but of course the cost wouldn't come in all in the one year and of course that's building new high speed, not retrofitting.

    They define high-speed rail as lines where 250km/h can be exceeded at some point on the journey.

    I don't think you could ever exceed 250km/h on the existing line with modifications. You would need to build a new one.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,586 ✭✭✭ Eleanor Wide Grocery


    cgcsb wrote: »
    hyperloop is a fantasy in it's present form, the plan is to run small vehicles in the loop accommodating individuals or small groups :eek: and that it would be 'on demand' i.e. it'd be a low capacity system for the super rich, not a public transport option. When thy build one with large vehicles on a schedule we'll see.

    A fantasy that is currently getting millions of dollars thrown at it from the US to India to UAE (with the 1st to come online 2020 for the world fair in Dubai)?

    Maybe Branson's HP1 new £386m test track in spain is just a casual hobby to burn up a few $100 for the laugh, and a new office in Dubai. Maybe France's rail operator SNCF has invested in it 'just for luck'. Maybe India isn't actually building a 15-km test track for the proposed Mumbai-Pune hyperloop this December.

    Musk's plans for the 35min jaunt (SF-LA) indicates pods of 28 people (much like a bus or train carriage really), only there will be more pods, more line capacity potential, higher frequency and more adaptable departure loads, topped off of course with much, much quicker journeys.


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


    I just spent a few weeks in Italy travelling on trains of all types there from 250KM/h high speed, to regional trains.

    While the HS were of course very exciting to be on, it was actually the regional trains that quietly impressed my.

    Electric double decker trains that really seemed to pack people in, but got up to speeds of 100+km/h with distances of only 3 or 4 km between stops! Imagine DART doing that!!

    I think electrifying lines and get trains up to higher speeds between close spaced stops on commuter lines would be more beneficial and economically achievable then spending 10 billion or so on high speed intercity.

    Of course the priority needs to be Metro, DART upgrades, Luas, Bus Connects, etc. That is where the real pain in public transport currently lies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 190 ✭✭ defrule


    I'm sceptical on the idea that we are too small or don't have enough population for HSR. For distances like Dublin to Cork or Dublin to Belfast, I don't believe demand will ever reach the point that you will start thinking HSR is a good idea.

    If magically we suddenly had a HSR from Cork to Dublin making the journey less than an hour. Suddenly, living in Cork and commuting to Dublin is on the table and you have opened up a entirely new market of users who are non-existent today.

    Sometimes you need to take the risk and invest. We should be investing in order to drive growth, but our mentality in Ireland is the opposite, invest to solve problem arising from growth.


  • Registered Users Posts: 322 ✭✭ Frostybrew


    defrule wrote: »
    I'm sceptical on the idea that we are too small or don't have enough population for HSR. For distances like Dublin to Cork or Dublin to Belfast, I don't believe demand will ever reach the point that you will start thinking HSR is a good idea.

    If magically we suddenly had a HSR from Cork to Dublin making the journey less than an hour. Suddenly, living in Cork and commuting to Dublin is on the table and you have opened up a entirely new market of users who are non-existent today.

    Sometimes you need to take the risk and invest. We should be investing in order to drive growth, but our mentality in Ireland is the opposite, invest to solve problem arising from growth.

    Run it as direct as possible, via Clonmel, Kilkenny, and Carlow. Tunnel through the Knockmealdowns. A two way commuter corridor for both Dublin and Cork. It's fantasy, I know. Still good to drag the crayons out once in a while.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    defrule wrote: »
    I'm sceptical on the idea that we are too small or don't have enough population for HSR. For distances like Dublin to Cork or Dublin to Belfast, I don't believe demand will ever reach the point that you will start thinking HSR is a good idea.

    If magically we suddenly had a HSR from Cork to Dublin making the journey less than an hour. Suddenly, living in Cork and commuting to Dublin is on the table and you have opened up a entirely new market of users who are non-existent today.

    Sometimes you need to take the risk and invest. We should be investing in order to drive growth, but our mentality in Ireland is the opposite, invest to solve problem arising from growth.

    The distances are suitable for high speed IMO as there are hs lines on the continent that are similar distances although they usually form part of a larger network of high speed lines rather than being out there on their own.

    I don't think high speed rail is really viable in this country however I do think line speeds need to improved big time on the lines we have. If we got say the line speeds up on the Dublin to Cork line got the line electrified and started running pendolinos on it you could get the journey time down to I would say around about 1h45mins or even 1h30mins likewise with Belfast which could be got down to about 1 hour without the need to go building totally new lines.

    Train speeds in Ireland are unacceptably slow not just for Intercity travel but for DART, Commuter and Intercity journies.


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


    defrule wrote: »
    If magically we suddenly had a HSR from Cork to Dublin making the journey less than an hour. Suddenly, living in Cork and commuting to Dublin is on the table and you have opened up a entirely new market of users who are non-existent today.

    have you ever looked at the cost of HSR train tickets in most countries? It would easily be €100 return.

    Very few people would be able to afford to commute Cork to Dublin every day at €100, so that idea is simple a non starter.

    HSR is intercity travel which means irregular travel, maybe once a week, but certainly not commuting.

    So you are talking about spending 10 billion to build HSR and then €100+ per ticket.

    Also you really don't want to encourage people to be commuting those sort of distances regularly. People in Ireland are already travelling too far for their commutes. The solution is not to encourage people travel even further, but to encourage people to live closer to their work, walk, cycle and take public transport to work. In other words encourage higher density city living.
    Stephen15 wrote: »
    The distances are suitable for high speed IMO as there are hs lines on the continent that are similar distances although they usually form part of a larger network of high speed lines rather than being out there on their own.

    Yes, absolutely the distance is fine. The issue is that to justify the high costs of HSR (both initial construction and ongoing ticket costs), you really need multiple big, million plus people, cities along the line.

    I als agree completely that we need to do far more with what we have and should be able to achieve reasonably higher speeds without building separate dedicated HSR lines.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ ncounties


    bk wrote: »
    have you ever looked at the cost of HSR train tickets in most countries? It would easily be €100 return.

    Very few people would be able to afford to commute Cork to Dublin every day at €100, so that idea is simple a non starter.

    HSR is intercity travel which means irregular travel, maybe once a week, but certainly not commuting.

    So you are talking about spending 10 billion to build HSR and then €100+ per ticket.

    Also you really don't want to encourage people to be commuting those sort of distances regularly. People in Ireland are already travelling too far for their commutes. The solution is not to encourage people travel even further, but to encourage people to live closer to their work, walk, cycle and take public transport to work. In other words encourage higher density city living.



    Yes, absolutely the distance is fine. The issue is that to justify the high costs of HSR (both initial construction and ongoing ticket costs), you really need multiple big, million plus people, cities along the line.

    I als agree completely that we need to do far more with what we have and should be able to achieve reasonably higher speeds without building separate dedicated HSR lines.

    Nonsensical comparison. I bet those journeys that you traveled on for over 100e a ticket were for distances well over 500kms. 200kph would be HS for Ireland, and there is no way in hell that would be the charge applied to a journey c. 160kms. I regularly traveled by ´High Speed´in England, and it was rarely over 20 pounds a ticket.


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