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Cork suburban rail expansion

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Comments

  • #2


    There aren’t Diesel urban commuter trains elsewhere in Europe. The comparison long distance lines / regional services with low population isn’t reasonable.

    The use of DMUs on Dublin and Cork urban services is bizarre.

    They simply are not used for short suburban services with with frequent stops. That’s normally EMUs.

    Bringing frequent diesel trains into city centres and urban areas creates local air and noise pollution and is just a very cheap and nasty, crude solution and one that can’t access green energy.

    The “Arrow” services should have been built as DART and the Cork commuter upgrade should also be EMUs

    Irish Rail seems to be obsessed with Diesel. They couldn’t even get their head around push-pull or DMUs until the 2000s, decades after other railway operators.

    If they’d had a run at it I wouldn’t be surprised if the Luas was built as a Diesel service.

    Use of “modern” technology (as in post 1950s concepts) isn’t a strong point in rail here.

    Far, far too much of our transit network is run on diesel. The over dependency on Diesel busses is really going on far too long too. We hear about some notion of hybrid or LNG or electric busses. There's a big press launch and then one bus appears and 6 months later it's back to big crude Diesels again...

    It's just lip service from policy makers and we are going to end up crashing right through our rather ambitious CO2 emissions targets - totally unachievable with current policies.

    Even take the e-Car stuff. Endless talk and there's still a totally inadequate public charger network.

    Ireland's great at policy documents and brochures.


  • #2
    bk wrote: »
    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.


    Respectfully, we are a complete outlier when it comes to rail electrification in Europe. Yes. there are lots of lightly used regional lines still diesel in Germany, UK etc but a city rapid transit system being diesel is very rare in Europe.

    Ireland currently has 2.75% of its rail network electrified. The EU average is 54%. Dart+ won't even get that to 10%.

    Realistically, we should be electrifying Dub-Cork when the Mark 4s retire. With commuter trains going from Mallow-Midleton it makes sense that the whole line is electrified.


  • #2


    Irish Rail seems to be obsessed with Diesel. They couldn’t even get their head around push-pull or DMUs until the 2000s, decades after other railway operators.

    They had push-pull and DMUs in the CIE era, though. The DART saw the end of push-pull operations which themselves we with life expired DMUs that had been de-engined.


  • #2


    Respectfully, we are a complete outlier when it comes to rail electrification in Europe. Yes. there are lots of lightly used regional lines still diesel in Germany, UK etc but a city rapid transit system being diesel is very rare in Europe.

    Ireland currently has 2.75% of its rail network electrified. The EU average is 54%. Dart+ won't even get that to 10%.

    Realistically, we should be electrifying Dub-Cork when the Mark 4s retire. With commuter trains going from Mallow-Midleton it makes sense that the whole line is electrified.

    The Mark 4 could be swapped to electric locomotives pretty cheaply for existing 160kmh services and is capable of 200km/h with brake upgrades. It was designed for that speed. Enterprise coaches could be similarly just swapped to electric locos.

    You'd have a fleet of reasonable electric intercity trains for Cork and Belfast with a simple fleet of electric locos.

    You could then add hybrid or EMUs to the network as needed.

    We should be wiring up the network though, absolutely on metropolitan services.

    We tend to get very confused between intercity and commuter/urban rail here in a way that I haven't seen elsewhere too.

    All we need to do is pick a network standard i.e. 25kV 50Hz and just build any sections of electrification in any part of the network to that spec.

    Intercity not being electric shouldn't be something that's holding back electrifying suburban rail in Cork or Dublin or anywhere else. They're two completely different set of needs. Urban railways need to be quiet, zero emissions and able to do easy frequent start-stop patterns. Long distance rail in Ireland may mostly remain diesel for a long time yet. There's no issue with Diesel Intercity running on lines that are part of an electrified system in Cork or Dublin. That's how the DART has been running since the mid 80s.

    You're only talking about 10s of km of electrification needed.


  • #2


    The Mark 4 could be swapped to electric locomotives pretty cheaply for existing 160kmh services and is capable of 200km/h with brake upgrades. It was designed for that speed. Enterprise coaches could be similarly just swapped to electric locos.

    You'd have a fleet of reasonable electric intercity trains for Cork and Belfast with a simple fleet of electric locos.

    You could then add hybrid or EMUs to the network as needed.

    We should be wiring up the network though, absolutely on metropolitan services.

    We tend to get very confused between intercity and commuter/urban rail here in a way that I haven't seen elsewhere too.

    All we need to do is pick a network standard i.e. 25kV 50Hz and just build any sections of electrification in any part of the network to that spec.
    .
    The next enterprise fleet could realistically be bi-mode as Irish rail is planning on having them in service by 2026/27 as by then nearly a third (50km out of around 180km) of the line of will be electrified.


  • #2


    Hold on a second there, there are cities the size of Cork all over Europe served by urban DMU's. It really isn't unique or unusual for a city the size of Cork.

    I'll give you Dublin, but Cork on a European scale would be at best considered a small city and some would just consider it a large town. And I say that as a Corkonian!

    Given the relatively small size of Cork and the short distances of the commuter lines, BEMU's will work very well there.

    Germany has recently placed a €600 million order for BEMU's to replace DMU operated lines to smaller cities just like this.


  • #2


    Once you get the overhead and other fixed electrical components in place, then the lower operating costs of electric trains are a huge bonus: just as cheap to buy. easier to maintain, longer life, more reliable, greater acceleration and power. Not to say you shouldn't have hybrid (electric-battery) or perhaps hydrogen for use in a transition phase.

    And don't go to the UK for technical advice, they have made a hames of some recent projects (esp GWR). Go to almost any W European country.


  • #2


    I'd like to see some examples of these urban DMUs. I have never seen them in France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy etc in cities the size of Cork.

    There's huge focus on renewable energy and reduction of local air pollution in most countries.

    The only modern diesel services I've encountered in France or Spain for example are regional medium distance stuff serving networks of smaller routes, which would be equivalent to most of our intercity network i.e. small pop towns in relatively low density areas.

    In France a city the size of Cork would quite likely have a Luas style tram network in place or would be using some advanced electric bus systems and so on.

    A city the size of Dublin would have something pretty advanced, with a lot more than 2 tram lines and an electrified 19th century coastal railway.

    There are cities like Rennes (very comparable to Cork) and Lille with automated metros at this stage.

    We are so far behind it's laughable and we are still going on defending rolling out diesel urban railways in 2021.

    You'd never think the Greens were in government.


  • #2


    Actually one thought comes to mind. The train tunnel in Cork, is it high enough to put overhead electrical cable in it?

    If not, then it would require massive expense to upgrade the tunnel for overhead electrical and then BEMU becomes a much more attractive option.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    Hold on a second there, there are cities the size of Cork all over Europe served by urban DMU's. It really isn't unique or unusual for a city the size of Cork.

    I'll give you Dublin, but Cork on a European scale would be at best considered a small city and some would just consider it a large town. And I say that as a Corkonian!

    Given the relatively small size of Cork and the short distances of the commuter lines, BEMU's will work very well there.

    Germany has recently placed a €600 million order for BEMU's to replace DMU operated lines to smaller cities just like this.

    Can you produce an example? I can't think of one, granted I've not traveled extensively in Eastern Europe. Wiki mentions none, bar Ireland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_multiple_unit#Europe


  • #2


    I'd like to see some examples of these urban DMUs. I have never seen them in France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy etc in cities the size of Cork.

    Just because you've never been to them, doesn't mean they don't exist!!

    As a tourist, people tend to go to the much larger cities which of course tend to be electrified.

    Here is an article on DMU's operations around the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_multiple_unit

    Here is a bunch of DMU's operating out of Berlin:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederbarnimer_Eisenbahn
    There's huge focus on renewable energy and reduction of local air pollution in most countries.

    I agree completely and I'm very happy about it. But that doesn't mean it has to be overhead electrical for rail. It can be achieved by BEMU bimodes or Hydrogen powered trains too.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    Actually one thought comes to mind. The train tunnel in Cork, is it high enough to put overhead electrical cable in it?

    If not, then it would require massive expense to upgrade the tunnel for overhead electrical and then BEMU becomes a much more attractive option.
    While one can't be certain, there are huge numbers of old tunnels where clearances for the overhead at 25kv has not been a problem. Especially in the case of double-track where the tunnel arch gives some extra height.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    Just because you've never been to them, doesn't mean they don't exist!!

    As a tourist, people tend to go to the much larger cities which of course tend to be electrified.

    Here is an article on DMU's operations around the world:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_multiple_unit

    Here is a bunch of DMU's operating out of Berlin:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niederbarnimer_Eisenbahn

    I agree completely and I'm very happy about it. But that doesn't mean it has to be overhead electrical for rail. It can be achieved by BEMU bimodes or Hydrogen powered trains too.

    I wasn't there as a tourist and I'm extremely familiar with the countries I mentioned.

    Diesel in France is only used regional lines for what would be sort of equivalent of say Cork-Tralee or something like that.

    I remember when I was in France in my teens there were a lot of Turbotrains (gas turbine regional trains) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbotrain on routes like Bordeaux - Lyon picking up loads of smaller towns.

    You simply would not see it used in urban context at all, even quite small cities have tramways for example. You've cities with smaller populations than Cork that would have systems superior to the Luas.

    Looking at that Wiki list it still places Ireland as an extreme outlier, with just a handful of examples beyond the UK which is also a bit of a weird spot for railways, although they are only really using DMUs on regional/intercity.


  • #2


    Surprised not to see any discussion about the EU funding announcement today which will be used to electrify the cork suburban network :)



  • #2



    it doesn't seem to have got much coverage.

    fantastic news though.

    Post edited by end of the road on


  • #2


    So this is €164m on top of the €185m announced a few weeks back? That's huge. It looks like Cork could have an electric double track commuter rail line in five years.


    Edit: Still very low on details. How much of the track will be electrified? €164m is a lot but it's not enough for the 62km between Mallow and Middleton/Cobh.

    Post edited by Peregrine on


  • #2


    Will they make a big glossy project of it with brochures, consultants, public consultation?


    Would prefer just simple direct construction myself



  • #2


    I don't think it is 164m on top of the 185m more that the 164m is part of the overall 185 sum.



  • #2


    Then it doesn't add up. €185m wouldn't be enough money for electrification, resignalling, double tracking to Midleton and modifications to Kent station. Not even close. The €185m announcement specifically mentioned that it would "allow for future electrification" and that it wouldn't be part of it.


    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/cork-rail-peatlands-and-retrofitting-funded-in-1bn-eu-plan-1.4622257?

    This week's announcement mentioned rehabilitation of 33,000 acres of peatland and €164m for electrification of Cork suburban rail.

    https://m.independent.ie/news/explainer-whats-in-store-for-cork-in-the-governments-184m-commuter-rail-plan-40491660.html

    Last month's announcement also mentioned rehabilitation of 33,000 acres of peatland but €185m for double tracking to Midleton, resignalling and Kent station upgrades.


    So it looks like this week's announcement is the same €1bn fund that was announced in June but they each mention two different projects for Cork suburban rail. Which is it?



  • #2


    I'd assume it's 165m towards it.



  • #2


    I'd imagine that the first article is mentioning the amount the EU are putting towards the project while Eamon Ryan's announcement is the full amount for the the project. A lot of this project is enabling works rather than full electrification isn't it?



  • #2


    No, the second announcement only mentioned electrification of the line. It's hard to imagine that means anything less than full electrification of a majority of the line. Whereas the first announcement only mentioned double tracking to Midleton, Kent station upgrades and resignalling to allow for future electrification.


    What's announced here are two different (but complementary) projects but it's looking like they're both using the same money.

    Post edited by Peregrine on


  • #2


    There are diesel suburban lines in the UK, and you can get to them by train from Dublin....

    just to start local before moving to those exotic overseas locations.



  • #2


    You say this as if IÉ set transport policy and have the power build new infrastructure. This power comes from central government, which saw fit to keep using more expensive diesel rather than handing over the cash as a lump sum for widespread electrification.

    I do agree, we're painfully late to the electrification party and there is currently no serious plan at the moment to decarbonise transport other than letting the electric car industry and global trends do their thing. We've not built any new pt infrastructure since luas cross city.



  • #2


    they are diesel because successive governments wouldn't stump up the cash for electrification.

    british rail wanted, and in some cases planned to electrify many of them decades ago, but lack of funding, and then privatization, got in the way.



  • #2


    Is there some official response yet on voltage ? I had heard the DART+ will proceed with current dart voltage and any future intercity electrification will be a case of cross that bridge when we come to it, perhaps dual voltage trains or some of the tracks coming into heuston being a different voltage.



  • #2


    Currently the plan is DART + is to be under the existing 1500DC voltage but any further expansion of wires will be using industry standard 25kV AC with dual voltage units initally and with a slow back conversion along the exisiting network as rolling stock becomes replaced.



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