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Cork suburban rail expansion

13

Comments

  • #2


    You can run departures from Cork at 4 per hour (2 non-stop to Mallow plus 2 stopping at the proposed 3 or 4 stations) without intermediate passing loops or turnbacks. You might need some track alterations at Mallow. Passing loops or turnbacks between Cork and Mallow would be a scandalous waste of money when similar facilities are much more urgently needed on the Dublin suburban network


  • #2


    cgcsb wrote: »
    There's no way a battery can store enough power to move a train at 200km/h or more between Hazelhatch and Mallow even in the distant future, that's electric jet plane talk. Hydrogen is a tech that will be useful to replace diesel on the lesser used lines, that's the approach Germany has taken. You may see it being used on Dublin to Westport in the future but it doesn't offer the breaking and accelleration efficiency that electric trains have and there's still bulky transport of fuel to consider and of course the energy inefficiency of using electricity to create hydrogen to power trains vs using just using electricity to directly power trains.

    Still very early days for hydrogen. Current hydro trains are already within our current intercity fleet performance and capabilities. With 4 or 5 stop intercity services breaking and accelerating efficiencies will be rather minimal between electric and hydrogen. Some of these lesser German lines would have higher frequencies than parts of our core Intercity network. Electrification is by no means cheap. Its questionable if demand would justify electrification beyond Kildare. Even allowing for a generous increase in frequency across the board its unlikely we'll see 10 tph beyond Kildare for a very long time and you don't need to go much further south before that number dwindles right down.

    With the direction and expansion into wind power we seem to be taking, producing hydrogen with the excess power during off peak demand would be a very efficient way of reusing power. There is already plans for a rather large hydrogen production plant in Cork to the extend we will become exporters of the fuel.

    Ideally if hydrogen power can advance to produce 125mph trains and improved performances I think it would be much better to invest in bringing the infrastructure up to 125mph running rather than putting up wiring and upgrading any electrical infrastructure previously in place within the suburban networks.


  • #2


    You can run departures from Cork at 4 per hour (2 non-stop to Mallow plus 2 stopping at the proposed 3 or 4 stations) without intermediate passing loops or turnbacks. You might need some track alterations at Mallow. Passing loops or turnbacks between Cork and Mallow would be a scandalous waste of money when similar facilities are much more urgently needed on the Dublin suburban network

    A 10min frequency to Blarney was been mooted in the plans. Presumably a stopper service with a limited maximum speed is going to take in the region of 30/35mins to travel between Cork and Mallow which will delay intercity services. Cork to Blarney will be a blank canvas. Stations need to be built from scratch. Building 2 island platforms at Blarney from the beginning wouldn't be a waste of money.


  • #2


    Wow, I've literally never seen anything in this state move as quickly and efficiently, maybe the temporary sub standard cycle tracks in Dublin but never anything involving substantial infrastructure works. All it took was a decision to actually just stfu and do it after decades of chat, reports, press releases and glossy brochures.

    Edit:
    I take it back the construction of over 1,000km of motorway in the late 00's and early 10's was nothing short of heroic and easily one of the fastest road building programs in Europe since Hitler's autobhann schemes. Clearly there is great potential in this country when we just decide to actually go and do something.

    We must have forgotten how to do things recently (in the late 20th century) because the early Irish state cleared the colonial era slums, built entire towns (Marino, Crumlin, Cabra, Shannon) along with airports, they brought paved roads to every single boreen in the state with electricity and telegram poles to match. This was done with basically no money and completed in 1 or 2 decades, a complete transformation.

    More of the same please, I hope this is a return to the more can-do ways of bygone eras before we had glossy brochures, reports and consultations. Start lashing up power lines on the commuter rail network and closing crossing points. Get the tunnel boring machines going for metrolink and start building the cbcs. The state has the money in cash and access to nearly unlimited finance, just get and do it. Worry about marketing, logos and brochures after it's done. Take the same attitude to housing while at it.


  • #2


    Sorry to put a damper on this but two weeks back, in this article, we were told that €274 million was going to get us:
    • 8 new stations at Blarney, Monard, Kilbarry, Tivoli, Dunkettle (P&R), Carrigtwohill West, Water Rock & Ballynoe.
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • Electrification of the network
    • 10 min frequency Glounthane-Midleton/Cobh, 5 min frequency Kent-Glounthane, 10 min frequency Kent-Blarney
    • 22 new 2 car train sets required
    • 62km of overall network

    From everything I’ve read the more recent “announcement” is little more than a press release containing a few soundbites which tells us that that €184 million is going to get us:
    • No New Stations 3 stations (Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli) which will be built “in time”, whatever that means
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • A through running line (much of which is already in situ) and possibly an outdoor platform on that exposed and windswept open space behind Kent station
    • Re-signalling in preparation for electrification

    Missing from this are 5 stations, (or maybe more) no electrification, no rolling stock, no line improvements. Sounds like most of it will go on doubletracking Glounthane to Midleton which based on what was said here is actually just sorting out a short-sited decision 20 years ago

    Has there been wicked construction inflation in the last two weeks or am I missing something ?


  • #2


    Hibernicis wrote: »
    Sorry to put a damper on this but two weeks back, in this article, we were told that €274 million was going to get us:
    • 8 new stations at Blarney, Monard, Kilbarry, Tivoli, Dunkettle (P&R), Carrigtwohill West, Water Rock & Ballynoe.
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • Electrification of the network
    • 10 min frequency Glounthane-Midleton/Cobh, 5 min frequency Kent-Glounthane, 10 min frequency Kent-Blarney
    • 22 new 2 car train sets required
    • 62km of overall network

    From everything I’ve read the more recent “announcement” is little more than a press release containing a few soundbites which tells us that that €184 million is going to get us:
    • 3 stations (Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli) which will be built “in time”, whatever that means
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • A through running line (much of which is already in situ) and possibly an outdoor platform on that exposed and windswept open space behind Kent station
    • Re-signalling in preparation for electrification

    Missing from this are 5 stations, (or maybe more) no electrification, no rolling stock, no line improvements. Sounds like most of it will go on doubletracking Glounthane to Midleton which based on what was said here is actually just sorting out a short-sited decision 20 years ago

    Has there been wicked construction inflation in the last two weeks or am I missing something ?

    €274m was never realistic. I don't know why that figure was included. 62km of track electrification and resignalling alone will cost €274m.

    Also, the €184m doesn't include construction of the three stations.


  • #2


    Hibernicis wrote: »
    Sorry to put a damper on this but two weeks back, in this article, we were told that €274 million was going to get us:
    • 8 new stations at Blarney, Monard, Kilbarry, Tivoli, Dunkettle (P&R), Carrigtwohill West, Water Rock & Ballynoe.
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • Electrification of the network
    • 10 min frequency Glounthane-Midleton/Cobh, 5 min frequency Kent-Glounthane, 10 min frequency Kent-Blarney
    • 22 new 2 car train sets required
    • 62km of overall network

    From everything I’ve read the more recent “announcement” is little more than a press release containing a few soundbites which tells us that that €184 million is going to get us:
    • 3 stations (Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli) which will be built “in time”, whatever that means
    • 10km of double tracking between Glounthane & Midleton
    • A through running line (much of which is already in situ) and possibly an outdoor platform on that exposed and windswept open space behind Kent station
    • Re-signalling in preparation for electrification

    Missing from this are 5 stations, (or maybe more) no electrification, no rolling stock, no line improvements. Sounds like most of it will go on doubletracking Glounthane to Midleton which based on what was said here is actually just sorting out a short-sited decision 20 years ago

    Has there been wicked construction inflation in the last two weeks or am I missing something ?

    €274m was the cost guesstimate from the CMATS plan. It isn't realistic at all to deliver everything that is in CMATS.


  • #2


    I presume that there is no immediate need for electrification as the rolling stock to be used will be diesels anyway, freed up when the new DART+ units arrive?

    If not part of this funding package, you would hope the Blarney station P&R at least could be funded from elsewhere, the M20 pot possibly. Or maybe Minister Ryan could push P&Rs and fund both it and Dunkettle separately.


  • #2


    Peregrine wrote: »
    €274m was never realistic. I don't know why that figure was included. 62km of track electrification and resignalling alone will cost €274m.

    Also, the €184m doesn't include construction of the three stations.

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    So basically no electrification, no new stations, no new rolling stock, no platform in Kent station ?

    In which case the various headlines and announcements sound like a lot of very misleading PR guff from the Greens and M.Martin. Reading back through the statements they are full of “will facilitate” “will enable” “will allow” etc. So misleading in fact that they even misled themselves:

    https://twitter.com/oliver_moran/status/1399845686565388300?s=20

    In his words "€185m will be used to put in place a commuter network from Mallow, Blarney and Blackpool to Tivoli, Little Island and Cobh/Midleton via Kent Station" when in fact it is doing nothing of the sort.

    Or to quote Micheal Martin "Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the enhanced commuter rail service will deliver the proposed transport network needed to underpin the significant population and employment growth envisaged for Cork under the NPF 2040. The €185.4m will allow increased connectivity between the Mallow to Cork lines and the Midleton/Cobh to Cork lines, including the upgrading of Kent station and new stations along the route."

    Fully appreciate that the double tracking and signalling work is a good thing and that it is a first step in a long series of steps needed to build a modern, efficient, green, frequent and reliable commuter rail network in Cork. And it should be publicised as such, not mis-sold as a commuter network from Mallow, Blarney and Blackpool to Tivoli, Little Island and Cobh/Midleton via Kent Station when in fact it is no such thing.

    Ryan expressed a lot of confidence in Iarnrod Eireann the other day, saying that they had all the expertise and skills necessary to deliver this quickly. I hope that the through running in Kent station isn't going to turn into another Iarnrod Eireann "Dart Underground" saga where they spend years looking for a gold plated solution when there is a perfectly adequate short-medium term solution already in place. Ditto double tracking the Glounthaune to Midleton stretch - while this is no bad thing in itself, is it the best use of resources at this time and is it a priority - in other words when will this become a necessity based on traffic volumes and train frequency ?

    I suspect we would get a lot more bang for buck if the money were spent on essential signalling, a few additional stations/station upgrades and some additional rolling stock.

    You know, what we really need is a single body responsible for Transport Infrastructure in Ireland that thinks strategically and prioritises and plans accordingly and which keeps this important stuff far away from the politicians generally and these Green amateurs in particular. Now there's a revolutionary thought. Let's start a campaign to get "Transport Infrastructure Ireland" set-up. It's badly needed.


  • #2


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    I presume that there is no immediate need for electrification as the rolling stock to be used will be diesels anyway, freed up when the new DART+ units arrive?

    If not part of this funding package, you would hope the Blarney station P&R at least could be funded from elsewhere, the M20 pot possibly. Or maybe Minister Ryan could push P&Rs and fund both it and Dunkettle separately.

    That makes sense. Or maybe prioritising a few adjacent stations, say the ones on the north western side (Blarney, Monard and Blackpool) and buying a couple of diesel train sets (second hand ?) would allow a rudimentary commuter service to get up and running and would help CCC prioritise house building on the corridor and its environs, while the great multi decade all encompassing grand master plan chugs away in the background for most of the rest of our lives. A bit like the original DART line in Dublin got going and inspired/cloned many other Dart Lines (admittedly almost 40 years later)


  • #2


    Even with a blank cheque, it would take a number of years to deliver this project in its entirety. Getting the infrastructure in place and prepped allows them to bring gradual improvements. Once the 2900 fleet is freed up with the arrival of the new Dart fleet, capacity and frequency increases could be implemented straightaway, the 41 ICRs arrival might even free up 2800s in Limerick for transfer if needed. You wouldn't have much left over from the €185m buying a new fleet for Cork. Stations can be added when required. Blarney, Monard, Tivoli and others along the Midleton are lightly populated currently. Kent will need extra platforms to run any kind of high frequency through service. I would imagine electrification will commence after the Dart upgrades.


  • #2


    The Youghal Greenway while a noble idea would be great if they re-opened the line from Midelton-Youghal.

    I can't see the Midelton-Youghal Greenway being the success the Waterford one is and it seems to be that a few residents in Youghal see it as a chance to rejuvenate the town.


  • #2


    Hibernicis wrote: »
    Ryan expressed a lot of confidence in Iarnrod Eireann the other day, saying that they had all the expertise and skills necessary to deliver this quickly. I hope that the through running in Kent station isn't going to turn into another Iarnrod Eireann "Dart Underground" saga where they spend years looking for a gold plated solution when there is a perfectly adequate short-medium term solution already in place. Ditto double tracking the Glounthaune to Midleton stretch - while this is no bad thing in itself, is it the best use of resources at this time and is it a priority - in other words when will this become a necessity based on traffic volumes and train frequency ?

    Not sure I agree with this. I see the sense in getting the signalling upgraded and the double tracking done first as these are the bones the commuter service can be built on. Starting the service and then having to go back and double track will only result in more disruption and cost. Once the basic infrastructure is in place, you can tack on stations later.

    I'd rather they do a proper job at Kent now too. Simply sticking another platform on the curve outside the existing main platforms is not going to achieve much. If anything, what gets done under this project will likely be it for a long time so better to do it right now. Surely it shouldn't be too difficult to create separate terminating and through platforms here?


  • #2


    GavRedKing wrote: »
    The Youghal Greenway while a noble idea would be great if they re-opened the line from Midelton-Youghal.

    I can't see the Midelton-Youghal Greenway being the success the Waterford one is and it seems to be that a few residents in Youghal see it as a chance to rejuvenate the town.

    Youghal as it is is a tiny place. It would only make sense if you earmarked the town for expansion as a commuter town, which IMO would be bad policy given how far it is from Cork.


  • #2


    My understanding is that there is two strands involved here

    A. EU funding is available for “recovery projects” that are both green/climate friendly and shovel ready. There are very few projects which tick these two boxes in Ireland atm so the Government applied for funding for the elements of Cork suburban rail which are straightforward, don’t require planning permission or major design etc.

    B. Exchequer funding will be released for other elements as they receive planning/are designed (electrification/stations etc)

    The EU funding is most welcome here as it’s independent of Irish capital budgets so this is in effect extra money.


  • #2


    loyatemu wrote: »
    Youghal as it is is a tiny place. It would only make sense if you earmarked the town for expansion as a commuter town, which IMO would be bad policy given how far it is from Cork.

    A station at Mogeely/Castlemartyr might cure some of the chronic traffic going through that part of the world.


  • #2


    Youghal station was an awful location, most of the residents of the town would have to drive to it anyway and most would just keep driving. Castlemartyr needs to be byassed anyway, that bypass, a P&R station east of Midleton plus the greenway would be better value and have more benefit than reinstating the rail line all the way to Youghal.


  • #2


    marno21 wrote: »
    My understanding is that there is two strands involved here

    A. EU funding is available for “recovery projects” that are both green/climate friendly and shovel ready. There are very few projects which tick these two boxes in Ireland atm so the Government applied for funding for the elements of Cork suburban rail which are straightforward, don’t require planning permission or major design etc.

    B. Exchequer funding will be released for other elements as they receive planning/are designed (electrification/stations etc)

    The EU funding is most welcome here as it’s independent of Irish capital budgets so this is in effect extra money.

    Thanks Marno21. Makes a lot more sense when it is set-out like that instead of politicians trying to present it as something that it isn't.


  • #2


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »

    If not part of this funding package, you would hope the Blarney station P&R at least could be funded from elsewhere, the M20 pot possibly.

    I personally think it should come from the M20 pot. Just an opinion.
    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    Youghal station was an awful location, most of the residents of the town would have to drive to it anyway and most would just keep driving. Castlemartyr needs to be byassed anyway, that bypass, a P&R station east of Midleton plus the greenway would be better value and have more benefit than reinstating the rail line all the way to Youghal.

    Yep, I strongly agree with this. I think a Mogeely station would only be viable in conjunction with a massive Urban Expansion project in Mogeely. Which, like Youghal, is unlikely.


  • #2


    Tender out for consultancy services for the Glounthane to Midleton double tracking project.

    https://irl.eu-supply.com/ctm/Supplier/PublicPurchase/191891/1/0

    This is moving quite fast.


  • #2


    Building new rail infrastructure based on diesel trains seems to be quite unique to Ireland. I’ve never seen it anywhere else in Europe in the modern era.

    I don’t think I’ve even ever seen diesel urban trains anywhere else in Europe.

    Maybe in the USA ? I know they’re used on long distance MBTA routes eg Boston to Worcester (76km) but I’ve never seen anything like this in the EU.

    The whole aim should be zero emissions.

    Lacking ambition is an understatement. Other EU green parties would be shocked.


  • #2


    Building new rail infrastructure based on diesel trains seems to be quite unique to Ireland. I’ve never seen it anywhere else in Europe in the modern era.

    I don’t think I’ve even ever seen diesel urban trains anywhere else in Europe.

    Maybe in the USA ? I know they’re used on long distance MBTA routes eg Boston to Worcester (76km) but I’ve never seen anything like this in the EU.

    The whole aim should be zero emissions.

    Lacking ambition is an understatement. Other EU green parties would be shocked.

    The plan is to electrify though, no?


  • #2


    Is the project actually called 'expansion'. This implies new lines, which is not the case. Should it not be 'modernisation'. As I understand no new lines will be built, it's simply an upgrade of what was built in the 19 century, no?


  • #2


    Building new rail infrastructure based on diesel trains seems to be quite unique to Ireland. I’ve never seen it anywhere else in Europe in the modern era.

    I don’t think I’ve even ever seen diesel urban trains anywhere else in Europe.


    Just because it is unusual does not mean it is wrong. Anyway with battery technology advancing so fast now, how long before overhead catenary is obsolete?

    Lots of ways of looking at this and not all of them are negative.


  • #2


    Just because it is unusual does not mean it is wrong. Anyway with battery technology advancing so fast now, how long before overhead catenary is obsolete?

    Lots of ways of looking at this and not all of them are negative.

    It should be possible to have a section of overhead catenary at stations ,so that a battery electric can rapid charge using a very tried and tested electrical connection - it could work great for Bev buses except for the mix of single and double deckers on the same routes ...


  • #2


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    Youghal station was an awful location, most of the residents of the town would have to drive to it anyway and most would just keep driving. Castlemartyr needs to be byassed anyway, that bypass, a P&R station east of Midleton plus the greenway would be better value and have more benefit than reinstating the rail line all the way to Youghal.

    How is it in an awful position ? It’s on the seafront and is on the western edge of the town and Midleton railway station isn’t slap bang in the town either. People in the areas around Midleton have to drive to the station to use it as it is.

    In all fairness you’re post gives off an air of just general dislike of that part of east cork. I know logic and forward thinking isn’t in plentiful supply at the best of times in this country but maybe preserving a railway line with potential to be reconnected to the rest of the network might be a good idea ?


  • #2


    Just because it is unusual does not mean it is wrong. Anyway with battery technology advancing so fast now, how long before overhead catenary is obsolete?

    Lots of ways of looking at this and not all of them are negative.

    You can be pretty confident it’s wrong if nobody else in Europe is doing it.

    We’re great for the old exceptionalism.


  • #2
    Just because it is unusual does not mean it is wrong. Anyway with battery technology advancing so fast now, how long before overhead catenary is obsolete?

    Lots of ways of looking at this and not all of them are negative.

    There are only a handful of battery operated trains in the world at the moment. They have extremely limited range and the increased weight due to batteries increases track wear.

    Overhead catenary has worked perfectly well for over 100 years. 400 kph high speed trains or 2000 people on a commuter train; it can do it all.

    I’m not saying the line should be electrified now, but long term we should electrify it like a normal European country. It’s €1m per km- not going to break the bank for corks small commuter network.


  • #2


    Markcheese wrote: »
    it could work great for Bev buses except for the mix of single and double deckers on the same routes ...

    The other issue with it for BEV buses is trying to safely maintain complicated electrical infrastructure out in public streets, brings all sorts of issues with it, plus planning permission, NIMBY's etc.

    As a result most bus operators are aiming for buses with all day battery range with in depot charging.

    Obviously such issues don't exist for rail lines, thus making overhead charging much easier to do.
    You can be pretty confident it’s wrong if nobody else in Europe is doing it.

    We’re great for the old exceptionalism.

    Except it isn't. They are literally 10's of thousand of Kilometres of Diesel operated rail lines over all of Europe.

    Take Germany for example, less then half their rail network is electrified. They have over 20,000 km's of Diesel operated lines.

    We are far from unique in this regard.
    There are only a handful of battery operated trains in the world at the moment. They have extremely limited range and the increased weight due to batteries increases track wear.

    Overhead catenary has worked perfectly well for over 100 years. 400 kph high speed trains or 2000 people on a commuter train; it can do it all.

    I’m not saying the line should be electrified now, but long term we should electrify it like a normal European country. It’s €1m per km- not going to break the bank for corks small commuter network.

    Battery trains have been limited until recently, however battery tech has come on leaps and bounds in the past 5 years and we are going to see BEV trains absolutely explode all across Europe over the next 5 years.

    Just as it is only now that we are starting to see BEV buses take off here.

    Most of those Diesel lines I mention above like in Germany will end up switching to BEV trains over the next decade.


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