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Green Line - is it at capacity? Post covid?

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Comments

  • #2


    I think working from home will make a huge difference. Most office workers will be 2/3 days in the office and 2/3 days at home from now on.

    A lot of companies are going to be more flexible too. Meeting in the office at 11am? Fine, start off your day with an hour at home answering calls and clearing your emails and then head in to the office after the morning rush.

    The days of 9-5 five days a week are gone for good for most office workers in my opinion. If we are back to stuffed commuter trains/trams and M50 hell after all this, we'll have wasted the greatest opportunity for positive social change in a generation. I'm optimistic that we won't get sucked to the old ways!


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    In 2017 the green line had just 26 43m trams. Now it has 41 55m trams.

    In 2017 it also had some number of borrowed 40m trams from the Red line which have now been returned; but have not been used to increase frequency there.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    The green line carries more passengers then the DART. It carries more passengers then any other route in Ireland. There is nothing low capacity about it!

    .

    This is kind of a silly comparison. No one's suggesting that its a low capacity system, we're pointing out that it is an inappropriate solution on the Harcourt At alignment, demonstrated by its pre Covid inability to accommodate people in the morning rush north of Kilmacud a mere 15 years after opening.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    The green line carries more passengers then the DART. It carries more passengers then any other route in Ireland. There is nothing low capacity about it!

    Converted to Metro, it will carry vastly more passengers then any heavy rail line in Ireland ever will.

    Far more goes into the success of a transport system then simply heavy rail good, light rail bad!

    Size of vehicles, frequency, degree of grade separation, signalling, power systems, acceleration, simplicity of service, fully automated driverless, etc.

    The Luas has been ridiculously successful. The decision to go with standard off the shelf, mass produced light rail system, standard gauage, standard power systems, standard signalling, vehicles used in more then 50 other cities has been a massive success.

    Look at how relatively easy it has been to expand Luas over the years, lengthen platforms, easily buy new trams, lengthen existing ones. Expand capacity relatively cheaply and without much fanfare or issues, meanwhile Irish Rail struggles to buy even a relatively small number of extra carriages for the ICR's.

    Luas has been a massive success and hopefully the lessons learned will be applied to Metro.



    8 of the new trams were only ordered and arrived in 2020!

    7 others new 55m trams had arrived in 2018, but these were needed as the 26 existing 43m 402 trams were each sent off in turn to be lengthened to 55m.

    You said:


    But in 2019, they were only 33 trams on the Green line (7 55m + 26 43m). So 32 out of 33 would be pretty high, though I'd assume that wasn't the case in 2019, frequency was probably lower then.

    They only reached the number of 41 trams on the Green line at the end of 2020, when the 8 new trams arrived. In other words in the middle of the pandemic.

    While it might be true that Luas service levels haven't dropped due to the pandemic, I suspect that they have delayed increasing frequency as planned, as the new trams have arrived as passenger numbers are down so much. As passengers numbers pick up, I'm sure we will see an increased frequency be put in place.

    Also keep in mind, that all the trams on the green line are now all 55m long. In 2017 the green line had just 26 43m trams. Now it has 41 55m trams. If as you say that just 33 of them are in use, that is 33 x 55m trams versus 26 x 43m trams since 4 years ago.

    That is still a massive increase in both frequency and capacity (due to longer trams) in just 4 years. And mostly probably isn't currently needed due to lower passenger numbers.

    There would be no point in increasing the frequency now and operating all trams and putting wear and tear on them with so much extra capacity already on the line and passenger numbers low.

    I think that I need to put this in very simple English.

    Someone claimed that as a whole the LUAS assets were being sweated.

    I responded to that general point by just showing the daily usage, which does show that they aren't at present and that there is scope for expansion of service.

    Now on the Green Line there is good reason for it, they're mainly new, and will be pushed into use shortly.

    I have NO issue with the Green Line spare trams. I have said that REPEATEDLY. The Green Line trams will go into use in due course by either increasing frequency on the core section or extendng short workings between Parnell & Sandyford to either Broombridge or Cherrywood.

    It's the RED LINE trams that are sitting unused that I have the issue with because they have been for some time. There are currently about 10 (allowing for 3 as maintenance cover) (and previously 7 or so allowing for the 2 or 3 that were loaned to the Green Line) that have not been required in daily use for some time, well before Covid hit.

    That does make me question whether we are getting value out of those specific assets which we paid for.

    I realise that the thread is about the Green Line - I was making the point in the context of a general claim that LUAS assets were being sweated.


  • #2


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    I think that I need to put this in very simple English.

    Someone claimed that as a whole the LUAS assets were being sweated.

    I responded by just showing the daily usage, which does show that they aren't at present. Now on the Green Line there is good reason for it, they're mainly new, and will be pushed into use shortly.

    I have NO issue with the Green Line spare trams. I have said that REPEATEDLY. The Green Line trams will go into use in due course by either increasing frequency on the core section or extendng short workings between Parnell & Sandyford to either Broombridge or Cherrywood.

    It's the RED LINE trams that are sitting unused that I have the issue with because they have been for some time. There are currently about 10 (allowing for 3 as maintenance cover) (and previously 7 or so allowing for the 2 or 3 that were loaned to the Green Line) that have not been required in daily use for some time, well before Covid hit.

    That does make me question whether we are getting value out of those specific assets which we paid for.

    Do we know for certain that the Red Line can accommodate additional frequency in the city centre such that those trams could be put to work? It could be the case that we may have too many trams for the system.


  • #2


    L1011 wrote: »
    In 2017 it also had some number of borrowed 40m trams from the Red line which have now been returned; but have not been used to increase frequency there.

    Good point. The Red line is a different story.

    On the red line I suspect they are at or close to the maximum frequency that the line can currently support. Keep in mind that the line is far less grade segregated then the green line and has lots more tight and awkward turns, junctions and street running sections (e.g. along Abbey Street).

    So why the large fleet on the red line? I'd say it has more to do with the history of trams on the Green line, then the red line.

    Originally the red line had 26 x 30m trams which were lengthened to 40m and at the time the Green line had 14 x 40m trams. The Green line then later got 26 new 43m trams and the old 40m ones were sent to the red line, giving it a fleet of 40.

    I'd say part of the reason for all this is the new trams on the green line were newer model Citadis 402, which were not only longer at 43m, but also had the option to lengthen them to 55m which has now happened. I'm guessing that the older model Citadis 301 could only go to the max of 40m.

    So basically the Red Line is the dumping ground for all the older trams, so that is why they have more then they can actually use on the line.

    Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Keep in mind that the oldest green line tram is just 11 years old, while all the Red line trams are 17 years old. Being older, it is better for them to be able to level out wear and tear across a bigger fleet.

    Also being older, they are likely to see more breakdowns and require more time out for maintenance, so nice to have a good few extras around. Also in a few years they most be reaching a point of needing their major mid-life maintenance overhaul, we are likely to see a couple taken out at a time for a year or more for major maintenance. So they will need those extra numbers.

    It isn't a good idea to sweat your assets to the max and be using your entire fleet all the time. That gets you into all sorts of issues with lack of maintenance, breakdowns, reliability of service, lack of resilience in the service. We have all seen the issues Irish Rail have with lack of fleet and operating on the edge and the issues that brings and it isn't good. I'm glad Luas hasn't these issues and seems to operate more like Dublin Bus which also generally have more vehicles then they strictly need.

    Having said all that, it does bring up questions about the Red Line and if and how capacity can be increased on it if needed.

    I think the plan originally was that increases wouldn't be needed as DART Underground would be built and as a result take the pressure off the city center section.

    But if that continues to be delayed, I wonder if there is anything they can do? They mention an extra turnback at Hueston. And while nice, I don't see that significantly increasing capacity.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    Good point. The Red line is a different story.

    On the red line I suspect they are at or close to the maximum frequency that the line can currently support. Keep in mind that the line is far less grade segregated then the green line and has lots more tight and awkward turns, junctions and street running sections (e.g. along Abbey Street).

    So why the large fleet on the red line? I'd say it has more to do with the history of trams on the Green line, then the red line.

    Originally the red line had 26 x 30m trams which were lengthened to 40m and at the time the Green line had 14 x 40m trams. The Green line then later got 26 new 43m trams and the old 40m ones were sent to the red line, giving it a fleet of 40.

    I'd say part of the reason for all this is the new trams on the green line were newer model Citadis 402, which were not only longer at 43m, but also had the option to lengthen them to 55m which has now happened. I'm guessing that the older model Citadis 301 could only go to the max of 40m.

    So basically the Red Line is the dumping ground for all the older trams, so that is why they have more then they can actually use on the line.

    Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Keep in mind that the oldest green line tram is just 11 years old, while all the Red line trams are 17 years old. Being older, it is better for them to be able to level out wear and tear across a bigger fleet.

    Also being older, they are likely to see more breakdowns and require more time out for maintenance, so nice to have a good few extras around. Also in a few years they most be reaching a point of needing their major mid-life maintenance overhaul, we are likely to see a couple taken out at a time for a year or more for major maintenance. So they will need those extra numbers.

    It isn't a good idea to sweat your assets to the max and be using your entire fleet all the time. That gets you into all sorts of issues with lack of maintenance, breakdowns, reliability of service, lack of resilience in the service. We have all seen the issues Irish Rail have with lack of fleet and operating on the edge and the issues that brings and it isn't good. I'm glad Luas hasn't these issues and seems to operate more like Dublin Bus which also generally have more vehicles then they strictly need.

    Having said all that, it does bring up questions about the Red Line and if and how capacity can be increased on it if needed.

    I think the plan originally was that increases wouldn't be needed as DART Underground would be built and as a result take the pressure off the city center section.

    But if that continues to be delayed, I wonder if there is anything they can do? They mention an extra turnback at Hueston. And while nice, I don't see that significantly increasing capacity.

    Of course you want to spread out the usage and I've assumed maintenance cover of 3 trams each day which is the industry norm.

    That leaves 10 trams over and above the 3 maintenance cover sitting around doing nothing each day (at least 7 of which were for some considerable time before Covid, allowing for the loans to the Green Line). That is excessive by any standards.

    If that was Iarnód Éireann or Dublin Bus, people would be up in arms giving out about it but it is sort of out of public view given that most people aren't going to do what I've been doing and analysing the working timetable.

    In my view it is poor use of taxpayer funded assets.

    I'd be curious to know how they plan to use them (I would like to think that there is a plan!).


  • #2


    donvito99 wrote: »
    Do we know for certain that the Red Line can accommodate additional frequency in the city centre such that those trams could be put to work? It could be the case that we may have too many trams for the system.

    Yep, I don't think it can and for historic reasons that I explain above, we have more trams then the system can handle.

    Though given the age of the trams, not necessarily a bad thing.
    LXFlyer wrote: »
    Someone claimed that as a whole the LUAS assets were being sweated.

    Depends by what you mean by "asset". Trams, no, there are an excess of those.

    But the actual lines, as in junctions, signalling, grade-separation, etc. They are all assets too and they are very much being sweated and at or close to the maximum capacity of a light rail system.

    Number of vehicles available is almost never the limiting factor, at least for any well run transport system. The maximum frequency of the route is normally limited by these other issues.

    Our Luas is one of the busiest and most heavily used tram system in the world. A bit more can probably be squeezed out of the Green line. Might be ok for the next 10 years. But beyond that only Metroisation of parts of the line will get you any more capacity.

    LXFlyer wrote: »
    It's the RED LINE trams that are sitting unused that I have the issue with because they have been for some time. There are currently about 10 (allowing for 3 as maintenance cover) (and previously 7 or so allowing for the 2 or 3 that were loaned to the Green Line) that have not been required in daily use for some time, well before Covid hit.

    That does make me question whether we are getting value out of those specific assets which we paid for.

    As I mentioned in the above post, I'd say the Red Line is already very close to it's maximum frequency and capacity already and there is very little more to be squeezed out of it.

    The extra trams there are simply due to age and the history of buying new trams for the green line. It is kind of like how Dublin Bus has older buses in storage in depots or as standby for breakdowns, etc.

    Of course I'd prefer if we could add extra frequency to the red line. But I suspect we are very much at the limits of what it can support.


  • #2


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    That leaves 10 trams over and above the 3 maintenance cover sitting around doing nothing each day (at least 7 of which were for some considerable time before Covid, allowing for the loans to the Green Line). That is excessive by any standards.

    Great job in ignoring most of what I wrote and explaining the history of how we came to have more trams then we need!

    The important question here is what is the maximum capacity of the red line?

    Have we already hit the maximum capacity of the red line?

    Can those extra trams actually be used on the red line or is it the case that the route can't support more frequency?

    I seriously doubt that the NTA are just sitting around on excess trams if they could use them.

    Also I notice that you ignored my point about the age of the red line trams and the fact that they will need to start going off on mid-life refurbishment soon. You will need a lot more then just 3 extra trams when a bunch of trams start going off for a year or more worth of refurbishment.

    In the end, we are arguing about there maybe be an excess of 10 trams in the fleet! It is a very minor detail and not at all important. What is important is what are the max capacity of the red and green line as light rail systems and when do we hit it and what do we do when we hit it?


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    Yep, I don't think it can and for historic reasons that I explain above, we have more trams then the system can handle.

    Though given the age of the trams, not necessarily a bad thing.



    Depends by what you mean by "asset". Trams, no, there are an excess of those.

    But the actual lines, as in junctions, signalling, grade-separation, etc. They are all assets too and they are very much being sweated and at or close to the maximum capacity of a light rail system.

    Number of vehicles available is almost never the limiting factor, at least for any well run transport system. The maximum frequency of the route is normally limited by these other issues.

    Our Luas is one of the busiest and most heavily used tram system in the world. A bit more can probably be squeezed out of the Green line. Might be ok for the next 10 years. But beyond that only Metroisation of parts of the line will get you any more capacity.




    As I mentioned in the above post, I'd say the Red Line is already very close to it's maximum frequency and capacity already and there is very little more to be squeezed out of it.

    The extra trams there are simply due to age and the history of buying new trams for the green line. It is kind of like how Dublin Bus has older buses in storage in depots or as standby for breakdowns, etc.

    Of course I'd prefer if we could add extra frequency to the red line. But I suspect we are very much at the limits of what it can support.

    I picked on one particular asset - trams - as I knew there was poor utilisation, and I think it is not unreasonable to point it out.

    Dublin Bus has maintenance cover of about 10% in the fleet, and I have already allowed for a similar percentage in my comments above about LUAS fleet utilisation.

    There is 25% of the Red Line fleet over and above the maintenance/breakdown cover sitting idle.

    This has been the case for some time - this is not a recent phenomenon caused by the recent deliveries.

    That's not good use of assets by any one's standard.

    Rather than blasé coming up with every excuse under the sun as you are, why not actually discuss what COULD be done so that we get a better return on the investment.


  • #2


    LXFlyer, answer the question?

    Can the Red Line actually take 40 trams? Does it have the capacity for a 2 minute frequency?

    Everything else is irrelevant.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    LXFlyer, answer the question?

    Can the Red Line actually take 40 trams? Does it have the capacity for a 2 minute frequency?

    Everything else is irrelevant.

    OK - All I was pointing out is that there is a large quantity of spare trams and I was asking the question what could be done with them so that we as taxpayers get a better return on our investment than we are at present.

    I don't have the answers but I was highlighting the rather excessive number of spare trams and that I'd like to see something happen with them.

    General discussion point rather than having personalised questions.

    I'm out of here at this point as frankly I've better things to do than endless back and forth posts.


  • #2


    LXFlyer wrote: »
    OK - All I was pointing out is that there is a large quantity of spare trams and I was asking the question what could be done with them so that we as taxpayers get a better return on our investment than we are at present.

    Nothing most likely. Trams need tram lines.


  • #2


    Podge_irl wrote: »
    Nothing most likely. Trams need tram lines.

    Yep, assuming the line is at max capacity then they have three options:

    1) Continue to use them all as they currently are, but spread over different times, to reduce wear and tear across an ageing fleet. And as spares and backups (they can also be used on the Green line at a pinch).

    2) Sell them on, like DB does with older buses not needed any more. Is there even a second hand market like this for trams, I doubt it?

    3) Send them to be scrapped.

    I think we would all agree that the first option above is the best.

    I don't think there is any conspiracy here. I seriously doubt the NTA/TII are just sitting on excess trams if they could use them on the red line. I suspect the red line is near it's limits, at least without major infrastructure expenditure and upgrades *

    * I've always said it is a pity they didn't cut and cover it under Abbey Street.

    I also don't think there is any conspiracy on how the NTA/TII ended up with more trams then they can use. They bought the trams they did, but the green line ended up much more successful then first imagined and they scrambled to buy newer bigger trams to handle the increased demand, which in turn has lead to them having an excess of the older trams.

    I'd imagine we all think them buying the 43m and 55m trams for the green line was a very positive thing.

    You could possibly argue there is some wastage of public money here, but it is very minor in the greater context of the big success of Luas.

    Coming back to the thread title. I do think this conversation has shown that it isn't about how many trams you have, it is about the physical limitations of the routes in question.

    While we can probably squeeze a bit more out of parts of the green line, it feels like we are pretty much quickly approaching the physical limits of both routes, which is why it is so important to turn our attention to much higher capacity systems like Metrolink and DART Underground.


  • #2


    If Connolly was fully bypassed with all trams running to Point, that could possibly have been justified pre-COVID due to overcrowding, there would be a slight increase in peak unit requirement without any increase in the units running through the city centre.

    I wonder if any work has been done seeing what the impact on city traffic, particularly cross city buses - and even on the Green Line as it crosses it - would be caused by extra peak time services on the Red line.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    The green line carries more passengers then the DART. It carries more passengers then any other route in Ireland. There is nothing low capacity about it!
    Higher doesnt make it high.
    A tandem carries twice as many people as a bicycle, its still not high capacity.


  • #2


    L1011 wrote: »
    I wonder if any work has been done seeing what the impact on city traffic, particularly cross city buses - and even on the Green Line as it crosses it - would be caused by extra peak time services on the Red line.

    Yep, this is most likely the big bottleneck. At peak times you have Red Line trams passing in both directions every 3 minutes, while Green line trams also pass every 3 minutes, plus about half of all buses in Dublin.

    Cut and cover the red line under this junction? :D
    GreeBo wrote: »
    Higher doesnt make it high.
    A tandem carries twice as many people as a bicycle, its still not high capacity.

    Sure, but it is more to point out that making something heavy rail doesn't automatically mean it can carry more people or even be more popular with the public.

    Operating transport systems is a lot more complicated then that.


  • #2


    bk wrote: »
    The green line carries more passengers then the DART. It carries more passengers then any other route in Ireland. There is nothing low capacity about it!

    Its a street tram with a capacity of around 8,000 pax per hour. A Metro would have more than double that and plenty of room to grow.

    Reserving this 20k+ railway for an 8k street tram service is not a serious long term transport strategy.

    The Dart shares its line with other services and its capacity issues are widely known.


  • #2


    The Red Line should always have been underground but that's water under the bridge at this point. The fact that we're lobotomizing Metrolink for the sake of the closure of one or two roads in South Dublin is bizarre. Leaving so much potential on the table.


  • #2


    D.L.R. wrote: »
    Its a street tram with a capacity of around 8,000 pax per hour. A Metro would have more than double that and plenty of room to grow.

    Reserving this 20k+ railway for an 8k street tram service is not a serious long term transport strategy.

    Yes I’m well aware of all this and I’m aware that the Harcourt line part of the Green line was designed to be upgradeable to Metro standard and that is exactly what should happen.

    I can’t understand why anyone would argue against that, outside of pure NIMBYism.

    It is a real pity that the big sewage pipe they found blocked the original plan for upgrading it to Metro and that they seem to have put the metro upgrade on ice for now. But I really hope it still eventually happens and that more importantly it doesn’t delay metrolink in anyway.

    It sounds like the engineers have a plan to squeeze a bit more out of the green line. But at best I feel this is just a bandaid and might be ok for 10 years or so, but is very much at the max capacity of a tram system and will likely be very brittle and suffer from lots of issues and certainly won’t last much beyond 10 years without metroisation.


  • #2


    My main beef with the it’ll be good for 10 years is that it will probably take 10 years to come up with the new plan put it through and build it. Now is the time to sort it, I also realise I’m preaching to the choir here. Covid and working from home might alleviate the pressure for a while but it’s only kicking the can down the road.


  • #2


    salmocab wrote: »
    My main beef with the it’ll be good for 10 years is that it will probably take 10 years to come up with the new plan put it through and build it. Now is the time to sort it, I also realise I’m preaching to the choir here. Covid and working from home might alleviate the pressure for a while but it’s only kicking the can down the road.

    "It'll be good for 10 years more" is code for, we'll do something about it in about 15 years time. And it'll probably take another 10 to deploy a solution.


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