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Level Crossings @ Lansdowne, Sandymount, Sydney Parade: Excessive Length of Time Down

  • 04-11-2019 6:24pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,392 ✭✭✭ blobert


    Hello,

    Not 100% sure if this is the correct forum vs rail one but thought I'd try here.

    I've recently moved to live right beside Sydney Parade train station.

    I work in Ballsbridge just over the level crossing at Serpentine Avenue so I tend to cross over the tracks multiple times a day as a pedestrian at a few different barriers. I cannot drive anywhere without having to cross at level crossings, often several times in a trip.

    I'm finding the length of time that these barriers are down per day to be crazy and I'm hoping to find out a bit of info as to why this might be and how it could be improved.

    Firstly I'm wondering how the level crossings from Lansdowne road to Merrion Gates are controlled? Do they close when a train rolls over a certain section of track in advance of them (I'm thinking this might be the best explanation as to how they are so dysfunctional) or some other way?

    Secondly, does anyone know why they are set to be closed so so far in advance of a train arriving? I'm assuming somewhere along the way someone was overly conservative with their calculations of what was needed but the end result is that for every DART, commuter train, very rare freight trains, the barriers tend to close several minutes before the train actually arrives.

    Then, if 2 trains happen to be passing in opposite directions, because of whatever incredibly conservative calculations are being used you get a double effect of this were there tracks are down for 5+ minutes for an event that lasts about 10 seconds (the trains crossing).

    I find this incredibly frustrating on a personal level (where I'm often spending 10-15+ minutes a day standing at the barriers and, if I were to drive home any time about 5-6pm there will be a tailback of several hundred metres of cars on my road, very specifically because of the barriers being down so long causing a delay of up to 20 minutes) But also I find it frustrating in that it's very clearly just been done incorrectly and could proabbly be massively improved with very little effort.

    If anyone could shed any light on how this system works as is I'd really appreciate so I can begin my quest to fix it!

    Thanks in advance


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,915 ✭✭✭ Vic_08


    So you don't have any understanding of how they work but you are sure they are "dysfunctional, incredibly conservative, etc. How about you reserve the judgement until you aren't pig ignorant of the topic?

    The crossings are operating correctly and cannot have their sequences shortened without significantly disrupting the service or removing the safety features that make it exceedingly unlikely for a train to ever pass over a crossing that is occupied.

    Railway crossings are governed by the railway signalling. In order for a train to pass the crossing needs to be closed and verified (signaller looks at CCTV of crossing) before the signal preceding it can be cleared. The crossing needs to be cleared in advance as railway signals operate in a chain, if the signal before the crossing is red the one before that will be yellow which will slow down the train, to run without disruption the crossing has to be cleared before the train is required to brake for the yellow.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,803 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011


    The fix for it is to dispose of the spurious complaints at Merrion Gates and get the bridge built; and close the others entirely with pedestrian/cycle bridges with lifts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,670 ✭✭✭ IE 222


    blobert wrote: »
    Hello,

    Not 100% sure if this is the correct forum vs rail one but thought I'd try here.

    I've recently moved to live right beside Sydney Parade train station.

    I work in Ballsbridge just over the level crossing at Serpentine Avenue so I tend to cross over the tracks multiple times a day as a pedestrian at a few different barriers. I cannot drive anywhere without having to cross at level crossings, often several times in a trip.

    I'm finding the length of time that these barriers are down per day to be crazy and I'm hoping to find out a bit of info as to why this might be and how it could be improved.

    Firstly I'm wondering how the level crossings from Lansdowne road to Merrion Gates are controlled? Do they close when a train rolls over a certain section of track in advance of them (I'm thinking this might be the best explanation as to how they are so dysfunctional) or some other way?

    Secondly, does anyone know why they are set to be closed so so far in advance of a train arriving? I'm assuming somewhere along the way someone was overly conservative with their calculations of what was needed but the end result is that for every DART, commuter train, very rare freight trains, the barriers tend to close several minutes before the train actually arrives.

    Then, if 2 trains happen to be passing in opposite directions, because of whatever incredibly conservative calculations are being used you get a double effect of this were there tracks are down for 5+ minutes for an event that lasts about 10 seconds (the trains crossing).

    I find this incredibly frustrating on a personal level (where I'm often spending 10-15+ minutes a day standing at the barriers and, if I were to drive home any time about 5-6pm there will be a tailback of several hundred metres of cars on my road, very specifically because of the barriers being down so long causing a delay of up to 20 minutes) But also I find it frustrating in that it's very clearly just been done incorrectly and could proabbly be massively improved with very little effort.

    If anyone could shed any light on how this system works as is I'd really appreciate so I can begin my quest to fix it!

    Thanks in advance

    There is no way around it. Ideally the gates should be down at little earlier so trains can travel faster. Gates need to be down even if the train is going to stop at the station before crossing the level crossing in case it over runs the station.

    Your fellow neighbour's objected to plans to close the Merrion Gates with a replacement bridge, so I'd suggest you start there.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 310 ✭✭ BlackandGreen


    I know the feeling OP. There are a good few intercity crossings I have to deal with and sometimes they do be down for excessive lengths of time.
    There's a couple on the Waterford - Dublin and Wexford - Dublin line that even stay down for several minutes AFTER the train has passed.
    I'd only hazard a guess it's down to inadequate and old signalling technology.

    When you see countries able to lower and raise the crossing -/+ 30 seconds of the train it's a bit frustrating.
    Hell even in the US with some of their rickety freight rural freight lines you see the crossing operated just as fast.


    On another note.

    There's a couple on the Clonmel - Waterford line manually operated, that do be closed for similar lenghts of time.
    When the train pulls into Carrick on Suir from Clonmel, even though it's already passed the crossing, you have to wait for 5+ minutes until the train has stopped at the platform, moved off and then I think the same person who operates the signal box on the platform, has to walk back to the gates and open them long after the train has pulled away from the platform.
    Can be frustrating.


    Vic_08 wrote: »
    So you don't have any understanding of how they work but you are sure they are "dysfunctional, incredibly conservative, etc. How about you reserve the judgement until you aren't pig ignorant of the topic?

    These kinds of comments are what make this website such a crappy place to browse sometimes. The irony of calling somebody pig ignorant while talking in such a tone. The hell is your problem?
    Just answer the question nicely. Not everyone is a train gazing know it all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,806 ✭✭✭ goingnowhere


    If motorists didn't crash into the gates the rules might not be so conservative

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7rP_dEKZuQ

    In 35 years there hasn't been a train vs car incident at any DART level crossing as the gates close, are visually cleared by CCTV before the train is allowed pass

    The DART is afforded the lowest of 6 levels of priority at the level crossings, turning it up a notch or two would cut several minutes off train times


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,670 ✭✭✭ IE 222


    I know the feeling OP. There are a good few intercity crossings I have to deal with and sometimes they do be down for excessive lengths of time.
    There's a couple on the Waterford - Dublin and Wexford - Dublin line that even stay down for several minutes AFTER the train has passed.
    I'd only hazard a guess it's down to inadequate and old signalling technology.

    When you see countries able to lower and raise the crossing -/+ 30 seconds of the train it's a bit frustrating.
    Hell even in the US with some of their rickety freight rural freight lines you see the crossing operated just as fast.


    On another note.

    There's a couple on the Clonmel - Waterford line manually operated, that do be closed for similar lenghts of time.
    When the train pulls into Carrick on Suir from Clonmel, even though it's already passed the crossing, you have to wait for 5+ minutes until the train has stopped at the platform, moved off and then I think the same person who operates the signal box on the platform, has to walk back to the gates and open them long after the train has pulled away from the platform.
    Can be frustrating.

    Waterford and Wexford lines are single track lines. The signalling works in block sections. The trains needs.to enter and LEAVE the block for the system to work safely.

    The US probably has one of the worst crossing collision rates due to the lack of safe crossings, how often do we see trains ploughing through trucks on crossings, imagine how much longer you'd be delayed if that was to happen.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,676 ✭✭✭✭ beauf


    blobert wrote: »
    ...
    I've recently moved to live right beside Sydney Parade train station...

    Without being smart you really should have researched this if you were moving bedside them.

    After a while you'll get to know the schedule and it will be second nature to adjust your journey times to avoid the closings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,392 ✭✭✭ blobert


    Thanks very much for the replies guys, I really appreciate them!

    Railway crossings are governed by the railway signalling. In order for a train to pass the crossing needs to be closed and verified (signaller looks at CCTV of crossing) before the signal preceding it can be cleared. The crossing needs to be cleared in advance as railway signals operate in a chain, if the signal before the crossing is red the one before that will be yellow which will slow down the train, to run without disruption the crossing has to be cleared before the train is required to brake for the yellow.

    If I'm reading this right it implies there is a human watching the junctions and clearing/controlling them? This would seem to allow more scope for improvement than a fully automated system. Do you know what gives the initial signal for the barriers to descend, is it a train passing over a certain point on the tracks?
    There is no way around it. Ideally the gates should be down at little earlier so trains can travel faster. Gates need to be down even if the train is going to stop at the station before crossing the level crossing in case it over runs the station.

    At Sydney parade station this evening the barriers went down. Over 2 minutes later the northbound DART arrived and stopped at the station. It was a further 1.5 minutes or so before the train left and the barriers went back up. This was a single train and the barriers were down for the guts of 4 minutes for a 10 second event (the train passing the junction very slowly). This just seems massively inefficient.

    With the idea that the barriers have to be down before they enter the station in case they overrun the station, how often does that happen? Is the driver the only thing stopping the train? Why could they not just delay whatever it is that's giving the signal to close each junction till the train is nearer the station, as I said it's frequently several minutes between barrier going down and train even reaching the station.

    With the train overrunning, the platforms seem to be far longer than the train, the platform at Sydney Parade is circa 200m long. Could the trains not stop 100m from the end of the platform if they wanted to have built in leeway for if they somehow overrun?

    I just can't imagine the way it's being done at the moment is the best possible way it can be done. I've lived very close to train junctions in the Netherlands and in Austria, in the case of the former, by tracks that had a more trains per day than where I'm living now. The barriers seemed to be down a fraction of the time they are here.
    Your fellow neighbour's objected to plans to close the Merrion Gates with a replacement bridge, so I'd suggest you start there.

    Agreed, I can't understand why they objected to that, it seemed a massive improvement to the current situation
    If motorists didn't crash into the gates the rules might not be so conservative

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7rP_dEKZuQ

    I would argue it's the exact opposite, motorists speed up/try to get through because they know they will have a crazy wait time if they do not. They also know that, after the barriers go down that it will be several minutes before any train arrives. I know personally I'll normally speed up coming up to the barriers out of fear of getting stuck behind them for ages.

    I'm sure it must be possible to have a system that is as safe as reasonably possible while not having the barriers closed for as much of the day as they currently are. I think this has been exacerbated by the more frequent DARTS, if there's a train every 10 minutes in each direction for much of the day then you've essentially got the barriers down for several minutes every 5 minutes or so which will really add up.
    After a while you'll get to know the schedule and it will be second nature to adjust your journey times to avoid the closings.
    Not really possible, the trains will vary from scheduled times by +1-3 minutes a lot of the time so even if in theory there should be no train between 10:05 to 10:08am as per schedule in reality there is every chance the barriers will be closed then due to a train being slightly ahead/behind schedule.

    Anyway, I still have complete faith this can be improved so any further information as to how the current system works would be much appreciated!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,676 ✭✭✭✭ beauf


    Adjust to the train times and allowing for delays is easy. Changing the signalling on the countries busiest line and something had been argued over for decades is what's impossible.

    If anything they want to reduce the number of crossings and opening's and give the trains higher priority.

    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/50m-plan-to-end-traffic-nightmare-at-level-crossing-on-dart-tracks-35165700.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,670 ✭✭✭ IE 222


    blobert wrote: »
    Thanks very much for the replies guys, I really appreciate them!




    If I'm reading this right it implies there is a human watching the junctions and clearing/controlling them? This would seem to allow more scope for improvement than a fully automated system. Do you know what gives the initial signal for the barriers to descend, is it a train passing over a certain point on the tracks?



    At Sydney parade station this evening the barriers went down. Over 2 minutes later the northbound DART arrived and stopped at the station. It was a further 1.5 minutes or so before the train left and the barriers went back up. This was a single train and the barriers were down for the guts of 4 minutes for a 10 second event (the train passing the junction very slowly). This just seems massively inefficient.

    With the idea that the barriers have to be down before they enter the station in case they overrun the station, how often does that happen? Is the driver the only thing stopping the train? Why could they not just delay whatever it is that's giving the signal to close each junction till the train is nearer the station, as I said it's frequently several minutes between barrier going down and train even reaching the station.

    With the train overrunning, the platforms seem to be far longer than the train, the platform at Sydney Parade is circa 200m long. Could the trains not stop 100m from the end of the platform if they wanted to have built in leeway for if they somehow overrun?

    I just can't imagine the way it's being done at the moment is the best possible way it can be done. I've lived very close to train junctions in the Netherlands and in Austria, in the case of the former, by tracks that had a more trains per day than where I'm living now. The barriers seemed to be down a fraction of the time they are here.



    Agreed, I can't understand why they objected to that, it seemed a massive improvement to the current situation

    /quote]

    All crossings on the Dart network are automated. Yes there is CCTV and someone watching over it but the crossing itself will operate automatically once an oncoming train is detected rather than someone sitting in a room waiting to press a button.

    You should read up about rail signalling and the blocks and how they work to get a better understanding of it.

    There is no quick and easy fix to the situation. Sydney Parade works off signalling and train movements between Sandymount and Booterstown essentially.

    The close proximity of stations and level crossings doesn't help. Once a Northbound DART has a proceed signal after leaving Booterstown its cleared to cross Merrion Gates and enter Sydney Parade station which means them gates need to be closed as well. There is not enough space to put in an additional set of signals inbetween Merrion Gates and the start of the platform which would allow a train to fully clear the Merrion Gates and accounts for the safe stopping distance needed. The line is also signalled for bi-directional movements which also narrows down the possibilities.

    In terms of gates closing before the train enters the station not all trains are scheduled to stop there. The line speed also determines how long in advance the gates need to be closed which is highly reduced due to these crossings. A non stopping train will reach the gate before a stopping train would.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 731 ✭✭✭ smackyB


    Hi OP, have you considered using the pedestrian bridge at the station to avoid the long wait? Just use your leap card to tag on at one side and then walk over the bridge and tag off at the other side and get the full amount credited back onto the card. You may have to wait a few seconds to be able to tag off again as I think there's a timeout of a minute or so between tagging on and off again.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    i know it's not an operational issue, but in terms of prioritisation, the maths is interesting. an eight carriage DART has a capacity of something like 600 or 800 people, yeah? closing a road for five minutes to get 600 people through is reasonable; especially since getting that many people over the level crossing in cars would probably take half an hour.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,072 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    i know it's not an operational issue, but in terms of prioritisation, the maths is interesting. an eight carriage DART has a capacity of something like 600 or 800 people, yeah? closing a road for five minutes to get 600 people through is reasonable; especially since getting that many people over the level crossing in cars would probably take half an hour.

    Up to 1,400 on a DART.

    Which is why the only solution to these issues is to close the crossings and replace them with over/under passes.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    wow. i had in my head that each carriage had a capacity of 100 or 120.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,190 ✭✭✭ lucernarian


    Vic_08 wrote: »
    So you don't have any understanding of how they work but you are sure they are "dysfunctional, incredibly conservative, etc. How about you reserve the judgement until you aren't pig ignorant of the topic?

    The crossings are operating correctly and cannot have their sequences shortened without significantly disrupting the service or removing the safety features that make it exceedingly unlikely for a train to ever pass over a crossing that is occupied.

    Railway crossings are governed by the railway signalling. In order for a train to pass the crossing needs to be closed and verified (signaller looks at CCTV of crossing) before the signal preceding it can be cleared. The crossing needs to be cleared in advance as railway signals operate in a chain, if the signal before the crossing is red the one before that will be yellow which will slow down the train, to run without disruption the crossing has to be cleared before the train is required to brake for the yellow.

    I used to be a lot more active here and it's the tone and content of nasty and priggish posts like these that drive people away. Especially on the C&T forum, it's rife with crap like this.


    As for the topic... yes it's true that other countries where the same laws of physics apply, where speed limits are often higher compared to the south Dublin crossings, still have shorter durations of closure. The Netherlands especially. Why is there such a difference?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,571 ✭✭✭ Marty Bird


    OP I’ve been traveling on this line for many years in recent years they have actually made changes so the crossings are closed for shorter periods. But with the 10 min DART service something had to give.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,412 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    At Sydney Parade, a North bound train triggers the gates 3 min before arriving, with the Merrion Gates closing at the same time as the SP gates. For South bound trains, the gates close 2 min before the train arrives. The gates open for NB trains some 30 to 40 seconds after the train clears the gates, and for SB trains it is immediately it clears the gates. As a general rule, the gates will always open after two trains pass, even if there is another waiting, but there are exceptions.

    There are cameras fitted with ANPR that can detect and take procedings against motorists that try to 'beat' the gates and race through while the red lights flash and the gates close. The speed limit is 30 km/hour. As far as I know, no-one has been prosecuted to date by the system.

    The Merrion Road traffic causes major tail backs in the evening that far exceed those caused by the gates.

    The reason for the objections to the Merrion Gates improvement scheme was that it was wrapped into s cycle lane scheme that would take parking places and front gardens from locals on the Merrion Road. The project for the bridge was clever in that it was routed through two car parks, either side of the line - a brilliant low cost solution.

    Pity it did not go ahead.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 22,676 ✭✭✭✭ beauf


    I used to be a lot more active here and it's the tone and content of nasty and priggish posts like these that drive people away. Especially on the C&T forum, it's rife with crap like this.


    As for the topic... yes it's true that other countries where the same laws of physics apply, where speed limits are often higher compared to the south Dublin crossings, still have shorter durations of closure. The Netherlands especially. Why is there such a difference?

    In fairness its a bit of naive question/premise for thread in the first place.

    Who knows what you're comparing with in the Netherlands. Like with like? Budget, traffic on line? Bit of a how long is length of string.
    An average of 11 people are killed on Dutch level crossings every year

    The solution is to remove crossings entirely or build a bridge. My whole lifetime they've been arguing this on the trainline near me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,484 ✭✭✭✭ Jamie2k9


    I know the feeling OP. There are a good few intercity crossings I have to deal with and sometimes they do be down for excessive lengths of time.
    There's a couple on the Waterford - Dublin and Wexford - Dublin line that even stay down for several minutes AFTER the train has passed.
    I'd only hazard a guess it's down to inadequate and old signalling technology.

    When you see countries able to lower and raise the crossing -/+ 30 seconds of the train it's a bit frustrating.
    Hell even in the US with some of their rickety freight rural freight lines you see the crossing operated just as fast.


    On another note.

    There's a couple on the Clonmel - Waterford line manually operated, that do be closed for similar lenghts of time.
    When the train pulls into Carrick on Suir from Clonmel, even though it's already passed the crossing, you have to wait for 5+ minutes until the train has stopped at the platform, moved off and then I think the same person who operates the signal box on the platform, has to walk back to the gates and open them long after the train has pulled away from the platform.
    Can be frustrating.

    Which ones on Waterford/Dublin route, this shouldn't be the case after the train passes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,529 ✭✭✭✭ Idbatterim


    With the merrion gates scheme, could they ditch whatever issues are causing the scrapping of the plan ? This is ridiculous and specific to this banana republic , that nothing can get done to “ protect” the .01% from losing a few irrelevant meters to front gardens which they spend no time in ...


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,412 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Idbatterim wrote: »
    With the merrion gates scheme, could they ditch whatever issues are causing the scrapping of the plan ? This is ridiculous and specific to this banana republic , that nothing can get done to “ protect” the .01% from losing a few irrelevant meters to front gardens which they spend no time in ...

    It was part of a larger scheme to bury the costs. If it was stand alone, it would need justifying, and a cost/benefit analysis, and a load of other procurement stuff - and all for a bit of a bridge, and who would be bothered enough to get involved in such a project?.

    It was really part of Dart Expansion, and was to be sneaked in as part of something else. If it was built, the SP gates would remain, but the traffic would be just local as it would be more effective to use the bridge.

    Before my time, but I believe that before the Dart (1982), the SP level crossing used to close for much longer than it does now, so count you blessings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,440 ✭✭✭ cdaly_


    IE 222 wrote: »
    You should read up about rail signalling and the blocks and how they work to get a better understanding of it.

    The line speed also determines how long in advance the gates need to be closed which is highly reduced due to these crossings. A non stopping train will reach the gate before a stopping train would.
    This is really the crux of the matter. This line is used by intercity and commuter trains as well as Dart. The gates must be closed long enough in advance for a non-stop train to not have to slow for the crossing.
    blobert wrote: »
    I would argue it's the exact opposite, motorists speed up/try to get through because they know they will have a crazy wait time if they do not. They also know that, after the barriers go down that it will be several minutes before any train arrives. I know personally I'll normally speed up coming up to the barriers out of fear of getting stuck behind them for ages.

    I'm sure it must be possible to have a system that is as safe as reasonably possible while not having the barriers closed for as much of the day as they currently are. I think this has been exacerbated by the more frequent DARTS, if there's a train every 10 minutes in each direction for much of the day then you've essentially got the barriers down for several minutes every 5 minutes or so which will really add up.
    I always make sure I have a book with me in the car. Makes waiting time into 'me time'...

    Before my time, but I believe that before the Dart (1982), the SP level crossing used to close for much longer than it does now, so count you blessings.
    While true, the frequency of trains was far lower. Outside of rush hour there would have been gaps of 90min+.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,392 ✭✭✭ blobert


    The line speed also determines how long in advance the gates need to be closed which is highly reduced due to these crossings. A non stopping train will reach the gate before a stopping train would.
    This is really the crux of the matter. This line is used by intercity and commuter trains as well as Dart. The gates must be closed long enough in advance for a non-stop train to not have to slow for the crossing.

    This is kind of what I thought the issue would be, that the system has to work for non stopping trains as well as the DARTs even though DARTs probably account for 90%+ of the trains coming through.

    I'm guessing there is an overall low speed limit for this section of track also.

    So how would this work, or why would it not work, in terms of improving things?

    (1) I'm estimating 90%+ of the trains are DARTs and will stop in all stations

    (2) Set whatever system they have for starting the barriers to close to trigger much later. Let's say at the moment it's 1.5km from the junction change it to 750m (these are just random figures)

    (3) The DARTs will probably be fine as they will be stopping shortly before the junction in most cases or just after, ie they have to be going slow at the junctions.

    (4) In the case of commuter/other trains (the less than 10%), we reduce their speed further if needs be so that the new shorter distance from the junction is still safe, ie while going at 20kmph or whatever it is that they can still safely stop in the 750m before the junction in the very unlikely event of someone being stuck. Other point I'd make on this is we're dealing with a hugely straight length of track, ie you can see 1+km ahead, so even if someone is stuck several junctions ahead, the train driver will be able to see this from a huge distance and stop in plenty of time.

    (5) I watch trains go by all day here and the commuter trains seem to always be crawling, I have no idea what the limit is but I suspect they are already going far below it so I dont think they would be affected much by a lowering of their speed. We're also talking about a 2.5km stretch of track from Lansdowne to Merrion gates so even if the speed was reduced from 30kmph to 20kmph it would make minimal difference in a journey to Rosslare or wherever. Like I say I suspect the actual average speed trains are currently traveling at on this stretch of track is well below what the limit is.

    Would this work?

    Finally I'd agree that the Merrion Gates bridge or digging under the tracks at the junctions would be by far the best solution. But I dont' see that happening anytime soon.

    I'm thinking if it is possible to improve the situation for all the thousands of people negatively affected by the junction system as it is, while not noticeably if at all degrading the experience of the many more thousands of people using the trains, then that would be the easier fix.

    It would also be easier to accomplish, ie you can sell it to Eoghan Murphy or similar as somthing he can get done to make him/Irish Rail look great with a lot less effort than building bridges/digging tunnels.

    Any further advice would be much appreciated.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,440 ✭✭✭ cdaly_


    As already mentioned:
    IE 222 wrote: »
    You should read up about rail signalling and the blocks and how they work to get a better understanding of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,440 ✭✭✭ cdaly_


    blobert wrote: »
    I'm thinking if it is possible to improve the situation for all the thousands of people negatively affected by the junction system as it is, while not noticeably if at all degrading the experience of the many more thousands of people using the trains, then that would be the easier fix.
    Most of those thousands are Dart users. Improving the situation for them would mean closing the crossings permanently, improving the Connolly station signalling mess and expanding the cross Liffey connector. Then you get increased Dart frequency and better capacity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27,594 ✭✭✭✭ end of the road


    blobert wrote: »
    This is kind of what I thought the issue would be, that the system has to work for non stopping trains as well as the DARTs even though DARTs probably account for 90%+ of the trains coming through.

    I'm guessing there is an overall low speed limit for this section of track also.

    So how would this work, or why would it not work, in terms of improving things?

    (1) I'm estimating 90%+ of the trains are DARTs and will stop in all stations

    (2) Set whatever system they have for starting the barriers to close to trigger much later. Let's say at the moment it's 1.5km from the junction change it to 750m (these are just random figures)

    (3) The DARTs will probably be fine as they will be stopping shortly before the junction in most cases or just after, ie they have to be going slow at the junctions.

    (4) In the case of commuter/other trains (the less than 10%), we reduce their speed further if needs be so that the new shorter distance from the junction is still safe, ie while going at 20kmph or whatever it is that they can still safely stop in the 750m before the junction in the very unlikely event of someone being stuck. Other point I'd make on this is we're dealing with a hugely straight length of track, ie you can see 1+km ahead, so even if someone is stuck several junctions ahead, the train driver will be able to see this from a huge distance and stop in plenty of time.

    (5) I watch trains go by all day here and the commuter trains seem to always be crawling, I have no idea what the limit is but I suspect they are already going far below it so I dont think they would be affected much by a lowering of their speed. We're also talking about a 2.5km stretch of track from Lansdowne to Merrion gates so even if the speed was reduced from 30kmph to 20kmph it would make minimal difference in a journey to Rosslare or wherever. Like I say I suspect the actual average speed trains are currently traveling at on this stretch of track is well below what the limit is.

    Would this work?

    Finally I'd agree that the Merrion Gates bridge or digging under the tracks at the junctions would be by far the best solution. But I dont' see that happening anytime soon.

    I'm thinking if it is possible to improve the situation for all the thousands of people negatively affected by the junction system as it is, while not noticeably if at all degrading the experience of the many more thousands of people using the trains, then that would be the easier fix.

    It would also be easier to accomplish, ie you can sell it to Eoghan Murphy or similar as somthing he can get done to make him/Irish Rail look great with a lot less effort than building bridges/digging tunnels.

    Any further advice would be much appreciated.

    your idea is non-workable because it reduces safety and it emboldens the residents to refuse to except any actual sollutions to deal with those crossings which ultimately need to go.
    the residents are the minority. the railway has to be prioritized over the motorists.

    julian the journalist asange is innocent, free julian the journalist.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 43,471 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    i commute along the strand road and have mused before that if i lived there, i'd welcome the merrion gates being closed permanently. the issue with the strand road is the east link - so much traffic, including quite a lot of heavy traffic, originates from the east link and there's no clear routing of this traffic in a decent manner.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,412 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    your idea is non-workable because it reduces safety and it emboldens the residents to refuse to except any actual sollutions to deal with those crossings which ultimately need to go.
    the residents are the minority. the railway has to be prioritized over the motorists.

    Not entirely true.

    The Merrion Gates project was to ease the delays to traffic on Strand Road going towards Blackrock. This is a substantial problem. If that one project was successfully implemented then much of the rest becomes less important.

    Another approach might be to reduce the number of diesel trains south of GCD. Since there is now a ten minute Dart service, these trains crawl along behind a Dart, so why not just let the passengers take the Dart anyway - it would be no slower.

    Also some SB peek hour Darts could turn at DL, these would be extra over the ten minute service (if they had the rolling stock).

    Well, of course, when one problem tries to find a solution, it uncovers other problems that make it all worse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,818 ✭✭✭ donvito99


    blobert wrote: »

    I would argue it's the exact opposite, motorists speed up/try to get through because they know they will have a crazy wait time if they do not. They also know that, after the barriers go down that it will be several minutes before any train arrives. I know personally I'll normally speed up coming up to the barriers out of fear of getting stuck behind them for ages.

    Unbelievable.

    'Let me threaten the lives of myself and hundreds of others on an approaching train because I don't want to wait for a few minutes in my car'.

    If you live East of the Dart line on the southside you knew full well when you moved that access in the area is limited in order to facilitate a safe and vital transport link in the City and region as a whole.


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,412 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Of course one of the reasons for the long delay is the large number of cars and trucks that try to beat the gates and drive recklessly through the red flashing lights as the gates descend. If they respected them, then perhaps, perhaps Irish Rail might review the amount of time needed before the gates need to be safe.


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