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Cork to Limerick rail improvements

  • 30-03-2022 2:42pm
    Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,297 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shows recommendations for improved rail services between Cork and Limerick as part of the M/N20 scheme.

    Discuss away here



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,114 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    They appear to favour via LJ to cut 20 mins off transit with hourly direct service.

  • Registered Users Posts: 365 ✭✭Ireland trains

    “service improvemnt is listed as follows:

    • Current Journey Time - 1 Hr 43 mins
    • With Line Improvements - 1 Hr 31 mins (I'm assuming this is the "Cork Line Level Crossings Project" and the "Cork Line Rehabilitation Project")
    • Option RS1 - 1 Hr 21 mins (introduction of new trains to allow a no-change service)”
    • 10 minutes seems like a big time saving for just running a train through LJ (inc time saved from not needing to transfer).

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,114 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    It would be great if they could get Limerick to Cork to be under 60 mins. It is about 105 km, so it could be done with high speed trains. That would make it competitive with cars, and certainly with the bus services. 1 Hr 20 mins would be OK, but requires at least 3 trains to provide the service, which would be OK, and allow a stop at LJ.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,876 ✭✭✭✭Geuze

    "Timeframe is 4 years to completion once funding is approved (2 years for design etc and 18 months for delivery)"

    Two years to design an extra track beside an existing track, over 30km.

    Seems very long?

    Was it originally double-tracked?

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,499 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    It was originally double tracked. I'd expect the current track was slewed in to the middle of the alignment though which makes re-doubling much slower. This was the case Clonsilla-Maynooth which is the last redoubling I can think of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,874 ✭✭✭Glaceon

    Yes, the whole line from Limerick to Limerick Junction was double track but was singled from Killonan Junction (where the Nenagh/Ballybrophy line diverges) to Limerick Junction. In many cases where a double line was singled, the new line was laid in the centre of the trackbed so it might be necessary to adjust the alignment of the existing track too. I don’t know if this is the case on this stretch.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,281 ✭✭✭pigtown

    Seems to have been moved to the centre near Limerick anyway

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    I think you are asking me to comment on the time saving based on a direct “no change” service. Looking at tomorrow’s timetable for the Cork to Limerick route, the waiting times are as follows:

    Depart Cork 07:00, Limerick Junction wait time 12 mins

    Depart Cork 08:00, Limerick Junction wait time 19 mins

    Depart Cork 09:25, Limerick Junction wait time 18 mins

    Depart Cork 10:25, Limerick Junction wait time 12 mins

    Depart Cork 11:25, Limerick Junction wait time 18 mins

    Depart Cork 12:25, Limerick Junction wait time 15 mins

    Depart Cork 13:25, Limerick Junction wait time 15 mins

    Depart Cork 14:25, Limerick Junction wait time 16 mins

    Depart Cork 15:25, Limerick Junction wait time 12 mins

    Depart Cork 16:25, Limerick Junction wait time 10 mins

    Depart Cork 17:25, Limerick Junction wait time 09 mins

    Depart Cork 18:25, Limerick Junction wait time 14 mins

    Depart Cork 19:25, Limerick Junction wait time 22 mins

    Depart Cork 20:25, Limerick Junction wait time 77 mins !!!

    Based on the above, and ignoring the outliers, a saving of 10 mins on average appears to be achievable. There are obviously other scheduling issues that impact on this (sharing of single line to Limerick, connections with the Dublin Cork down service etc. But eliminating the change of trains is the easiest win. It also makes the service much more appealing for the user.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    I’m not sure that it was ridiculed. The figures presented this morning indicated that the direct route would attract a net additional 1,100 passengers per day, at a cost in the region of half a billion euro, all of them transferring from bus services. There is no possibility of creating a business case for this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    It was originally double tracked. This appears very clearly on OSI’s 25in map (1897-1913). Second track lifted in later years. At a guess I’d say the remaining line was moved towards the centre of the available space when the old tracks and sleepers were replaced with Continuous Welded Track (CWT).

    Two years to prepare engineering designs, contract documents, invite tenders and award contracts sounds reasonable to me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭Deedsie

    How would they deal with the track layout at Kilonan junction?

    There is a level crossing on the public road, a signal box and the curve off towards Nenagh on the Limerick-Ballybrophy via Nenagh line.

    Presumably some major changes will be required to the layout here. Particularly how the Nenagh line joins on to the newly double tracked LK-LJ line.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    It would just be remodelled to a double track line with a new crossover and junction.

    Not rocket science!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,281 ✭✭✭pigtown

    Any talk of anything less than a direct motorway was widely ridiculed. Even yesterday a Fine Gael td/senator? called on the taoiseach to ensure the new road was entirely motorway.

    Where did you get the half a billion figure? I didn't notice any costings in yesterday's documents.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    It would make no sense for the Limerick-Cork train to replace the shuttle between Limerick and Limerick Junction.

    Such a service would ideally be scheduled to split the 60 minute gap in Dublin-Cork services between Limerick Junction & Cork thus giving a half-hourly service along that section of the line.

    It means a minimum of two trains an hour in each direction between Limerick and Limerick Junction. That will need extra track capacity to deliver a reliable and fast service.

    With potentially more freight being added if the Foynes branch reopens, doubling the line is a no-brainer.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,281 ✭✭✭pigtown

    Does that imply that the existing ~hourly Limerick-Cork route with a change at the Junction would be retained, and another ~hourly direct route would be added? Effectively providing a rail link between the two cities twice every hour?

    With a projected ridership of 700 a day that seems like a lot.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭Deedsie

    There does seem to be a building West of the level crossing with a transmitter tower etc. Will this not complicate the continuation of the double track the currently is in place on the Western side of Killonan junction?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,647 ✭✭✭AngryLips

    700 per day sounds like a shockingly low number considering there'll be, what, 24 services per day as a result of an additional hourly service? They're effectively saying that they expect only 30 people to catch each train. Any hope I might have had for the all island strategic rail review is pretty much gone in light of this recommendation being made to that review board. It's a sign of the total lack of ambition for railway infrastructure if the Government can't build a railway line between two main cities while also building a motorway along the same path. You have to wonder what kind of analysis was done as part of the rail element in this assessment if they factor in zero modal shift from cars at a time when a main Government priority is to decarbonise the environment and attract modal shift away from cars.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    You both misunderstand the figure of 700. This is the increase in passenger numbers which can be anticipated if the journey time is reduced, not the total passenger number. And it was stated that this increase is the result of a modal shift from bus, not road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,270 ✭✭✭Deedsie

    There will also hopefully be additional services added to the timetable on the Limerick - Ballybrophy via Nenagh line from next year. Probably middle of the day service in both directions to start with. So from Killonan Junction into Colbert will hopefully carry those additional services too. Not much in the grand scheme but that section is going to be a lot busier in the future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,278 ✭✭✭Hibernicis

    @pigtown Where did you get the half a billion figure? I didn't notice any costings in yesterday's documents.

    When asked about the cost of double tracking the Limerick-Limerick Junction line Jim Meade, in one of the links I supplied above, said “A high level estimate would be somewhere in the €60 million to €80 million bracket for the complete project.”

    in yesterday’s announcement it was stated that “the infrastructure costs for RS2a and RS2b are almost seven times higher than RS1”

    Seven times €60 million - €80 million is half a billion approx.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭Expunge

    Are there any chance of a few knock on benefits from this plan to the Waterford - Limerick Junction line?

    A few more services per day in both directions perhaps?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,647 ✭✭✭AngryLips

    Why would they state only the increase in passenger numbers brought about on the back of a reduction in journey times alone (and without consideration for any other factors)? And how can that be determined without regard for service frequency? The 700 number is either plucked out of the air or they're hiding the other numbers behind it. Passenger numbers are a function of frequency, capacity and journey times rather than just one of those elements on its own. A reduction in journey times wouldn't just deliver a fixed increase in the number of passengers but rather a multiple falling within a range that depends on the service frequency. This whole exercise smells of them giving the impression they seriously considered rail as part of the project without giving it any consideration at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    Think it through.

    The recommendation is an hourly direct Limerick-Cork service.

    The existing hourly Dublin-Cork train provides an hourly connection between Dublin and Limerick in addition to linking Dublin & Cork. You still have to run the shuttle to provide that connection.

    That means two sets of trains in each direction between each hour between Limerick and Limerick Junction unless you envisage both trains travelling within 5 minutes of each other between Limerick Junction and Cork, which isn’t what they mean.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,332 ✭✭✭✭LXFlyer

    Any increase in service is perfectly able of being dealt with by a junction at Killonan similar to those at Cherryville or Portarlington.

    It really isn’t a major issue at all.