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"Iarnród Éireann to spend €500m boosting rail freight services by 2040"



  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,157 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    I see clamour on social media about a lack of rail connection to Ringaskiddy and a lack of emphasis on freight rail at the roro port in Rosslare. The "I know nothing about freight" approach.

    Reopen Foynes and Marino Point, and upgrade Waterford and Dublin. Not much more that can be done there and then focus on scaling up those services.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,820 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Reconnecting Marino Point is the most obvious thing to do ASAP, as well as presumably order more container flats and pockets.

    With trucker strikes as well as the environmental angle, these should be expedited.

    The report seems decent, from a skim at least.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,530 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    Can I ask, what is Marino Point?

    It seems to be a former fertiliser plant?

    Foynes port is mainly dry bulk, is that correct? No containers?

    The suggestion above to re-open these rail links, that is in terms of what type of freight traffic?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,820 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    Its the old IFI plant, but there is a new fertilser plant (to replace another one in the city) proposed for it.

    Foynes are proposing to install container handling facilities; however bulk traffic from future mines in Limerick/Tipperary has been proposed for many years.

    There is also a disconnected container terminal in Cork (Tivoli), but the Port of Cork are moving containers to Ringaskiddy which is on the wrong side of the harbour to have a rail connection so there may not be much point doing it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,577 ✭✭✭AngryLips

    Isn't Waterford's north quay going to be redeveloped for residential and commercial? Effectively cutting off the network from the port...?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭Economics101

    This is very good news and conditions are likely to favour lots more container-based rail freight

    1. Increased fuel costs and carbon taxes will tilt the balance towards rail (which is about 3 times as efficient in fuel terms)
    2. Even if we do little to start with, freight from mainland Europe may well go from Ro-Ro (trucks) to Lo-Lo (containers), especially when coming from places several 100 kms from English Channel ports. This would tilt the balance further.
    3. It should further the case for widespread rail electrification by spreading fixed costs over more traffic (and electric traction is cheaper to operate and maintain)

    Unfortunately Dublin post is congested and not easy to configure for more rail operations, but Belview (Waterford is an under-exploited resource. Foynes is on the wrong side of the country for much container traffic (it seems to be a pet obsession of the Transport Minister). Better post facilities on the East or South coasts are vital.

    Another thing which needs fixing are the combination of high access charges for rail operators and much lower taxes on trucks in the past few years. You don't hear much about that from the militant truckers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭Economics101

    I've looked at the Irish Rail website for news about this. At first sight, nothing, but then hidden in the Freight section of the site there is this:

    It loos good, especially when you strip away the management-speak cliches. Interestingly it raises the track access charges issue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    another report of which nothing of it will happen i would bet.

    cynical i know but look, reports after reports have come and gone in relation to the railways and well, nothing.

    i want to be proven wrong, i really do, but no point in being happy about a report until something is actually done in relation to it, shovels in the ground so to speak.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 791 ✭✭✭CreadanLady

    There are disused freight yards at all the major towns and cities which could be brought back into operation with reasonable investment. Set up contracts with local hauliers for distribution locally over the last 10km or so.

    Ringaskiddy had a railway coming very close by previously and the alingment is still substantially intact, so it is not an impossibility to bring a new rail connection into the port there if the will and funding was there. THey can bring a feckin motorway out there as it is, and a rail connection would be a fraction of the price tag.

    Hopefully the plans will be as ambitious as what was proposed in the 1970s by CIE the only difference I hope it is invested in fully this time rather than skimping back.

    The only thing is that a substantial investment in locomotives and rolling stock is needed. In the interim, there are still a good few Baby GMs and possibly even a few 001 and 201 Metrovicks that could be leased back from ITG and put into service. ITG would only be delighted with the lease revenue and having IE carry out re-commissioing of mothballed locomotives.

    We have lost a lot of rolling stock, so new manufacture of bulk wagons and flats would be needed.

    The MFV Creadan Lady is a mussel dredger from Dunmore East.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭Economics101

    Sorry, but most old freight yards are not suitable, and could not generate enough traffic. It looks like the idea is to concentrate on a combination of distance and tonnage which is optimal for rail freight to and from a few high-volume locations . Small GMs and old Metrovicks are very few, are hopelessly underpowered for heavy fast freight haulage and probably a maintenance nightmare.

    The report is correct in its recognition of the need for investment in extra track capacity, new locomotives and new rolling stock. As for Ringaskiddy, no chance, look at the map.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,820 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    None of the heritage locos are in any condition, or to a reliability standard to go hauling freight.

    You cannot have the potential of a total failure/seizure of a 65+ year old loco blocking a mainline for hours.

    There are also bog all of them to begin with, and no spare parts supply.

    Freight will be handled by 071/201s until they get something new, likely Vossloh/Stadler Eurolights or similar - manufacturer that is quite willing to build to any and all gauges.

    Ringaskiddy will not be reconnected, at least not via the route of the CPBR. A 3' line that didn't connect to the rest of the network is not something of any use in building a new line. Keeping Tivoli open for operators that wish to use rail is vastly more plausible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,083 ✭✭✭Charles Babbage

    Are there any Irish gauge goods wagons or locomotives in Australia?

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,047 ✭✭✭✭Itssoeasy

    Well Marino point should be an obvious one to start with given that I think it was only completely disconnected in recent years when there was upgrades to the cobh line. Be good to see freight back in cork but would they need to put any extra tracks back into the limited yard in Kent or will it be enough with what is left.

  • Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Ringaskiddy should be connected. It's a major container port.

    But ringaskiddy port is a serious stupid location. It was never going to work. Why ie and the port did away with North Esk is beyond belief. It was ideally located for ship, road and rail, and had gantries and everything.

    Baby GMs could still be supported by EMD and the 001 and 201 metrovicks could be fully refurbished and fitted out with new components and systems in inchicore. The 001s are Co-co and could be fitted with uprated engines and motors to provide the power needed. Vossloh eurolights are only bo_bo and have less power than a 071. Plus I cannot think of anything more banal and pedestrian than one of those. They have the same appeal as an icr. Maybe if they could be paired with some coaching stock. None of the retro liveries would work on them though as they have no heritage.

    Cement could be good back on rails and bagged fertilizer is still a huge demand. There is a massive yara warehouse in rinkaskiddy and if the port was given a rail connection we could see a return of bagged fertilizer trains radiating out from cork to local depots in surrounding regions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

  • Registered Users Posts: 78,948 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    It would be great to see freight running off peak throughout the night, is there any legislation governing operating hours of the railways?

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    but what would be the point of essentially destroying heritage items, that is exactly what would be happening in the unlikely event the couple of 001 and 201 metro vics were brought back into service and then reengineered with new engines etc. they are in preservation as they are for a reason.

    it would be different if they were brought back as they are and whatever issues sorted so they could operate on the main line, but the reality is that you would get brand new locomotives for the same price or a bit more then this, we are not the uk where there are plenty of spares to keep heritage locomotives in daily main line service.

    forget about it, it's not going to happen.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭Economics101

    I'm sorry, but your post is largely a nostalgia trip, and you just so many facts wrong, I hardly know where to start. Have you had a look at where Ringaskiddy is on the map and how far away it is from the nearest railway?

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,111 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Reports only butter the parsnips of the people who write reports.

    Just another photo op of people standing smiling awkwardly, bedecked in hi vis.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,340 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    yeah - €500m freight plan: Item one, refurbish a handful of 1960s relics. Maybe they could relay the RDS branch to bring cattle to the Spring Show too?

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,047 ✭✭✭✭Itssoeasy

    I agree with @L1011 for as much as I’d love those old locos back running the reality is it’s not happening ever. Now, I don’t know whether the 1994 version of the class 201s sitting in inchicore could be brought back to use for freight. I know they aren’t equipped with stuff that’s needed for passenger duties but I don’t recall that being an issue for freight. I think they have a far better chance of been brought back into service.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    you might, and it's a big might at this stage to be honest, get perhapse about 3 to 5 of the stored 201s back using the best bits of what is available from the stored lot.

    so the better of the body shells, bogies, engines and whatever else is salvagible.

    certainly has a tiny possibility unlike baby gms and metrovics, and even that tiny is very tiny as i said.

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,047 ✭✭✭✭Itssoeasy

    I'm right in thinking 10 were originally withdrawn around 2008 so that’s over a decade sitting outside in the Irish weather and being stripped for parts. When you put it like that @endoftheroad i can see why you say 3-5 at a push but surely to god they haven’t striped them bare, although there was 230 and 216 which had pretty big rebuilds so there’s that.

    Maybe the 071s and the in service 201s will do the job fine. Surely IR have this thought through as to requirements needed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    depends on the increases if any i guess, with current levels both classes seem to be managing but with increases they will probably need a few extra, all though i guess replacement of the enterprise stock will free up some which may be enough.

    is 230 back in service? i believe there were rumblings of it being brought back and i believe some work may have been done but i think work was stopped?

    i would hope IE will have thought it through as to the requirements but my cynical hat says probably they won't, hopefully i am proven wrong.

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,047 ✭✭✭✭Itssoeasy

    Sorry that bit about 230 is worded badly. I should have said it has a big rebuild but I don’t think it’s back in service. Although with 224 now gone to loco heaven after a unnecessary welding job, maybe they will use the guts of that to bring 230 back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    I think a few baby GMs could be brought back. A good few of them are still in running order and there are others that probably need not a huge amount of work.

    There are also a few 001s that are running or are in near running condition. And I think there may be 121s in close to running order too.

    Maybe railways have locos as old if not older than ours in regular service. It seems to be an Irish thing to scrap stuff that is barely in mid life....Mk3s or the 2700s being a perfect example. Or the non push-pull 201s - surely it would have made more sense to retrofit them with the push-pull equipment and sweat the Mk3s or 2700 sets converted for loco haul, just like what was done with the AEC railcars in later years.

    However, there's no doubt that if the bulk freight services and liner trains are to return, we will still need additional locomotives.

    What are the options out there that we would be likely to see? Is there any options out there with some sort of character and appeal comparable to what the GMs had/have?

    What services are we likely to see a return of?

    I think cement. But we'd need a new fleet of bogie cement wagons. Are there any of these left?

    There are large numbers of container flats, LPs LXs and so on languishing in various yards and sidings, some cut off from the network, that could be rehabilitated.

    We might need a new batch of mine wagons if mine traffic comes in..

    I also don't agree with the ringaskiddy trail connection being impossible. The deep water berth is about 2km from rafeen where the disused cb&pr alignment is still in place. So you are telling me 2km of single track is impossible, but yet 12km of motorway which has a vastly greater land take and cost is going to begin within months. I don't buy it. The only thing preventing it is the will to do it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 28,544 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    oh for god sake not this crap about loco hauled 2700s again, it was funny the first couple of times but it's worn out now.

    the 2700s were heaps of ****, decrepid from the minute they came here, converting them to loco haulage to be hauled by what would be pointless as there is nowhere for them to operate, nobody wants them.

    even sorting them out to get back into service as the multiple units that they are seems to be uneconomic because they are junk and they have been out of service for nearly 10 years now.

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!