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M20 and Rail alternatives for Limerick to Cork travel

  • 21-11-2020 2:29pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 15,941 mod Sam Russell


    There is a mention that rail could take precedence over a motorway (M20) for Cork - Limerick connection.

    The M20 is vital and should have been built over a decade ago, but the economic crash caused it to be cancelled. It is still needed more than ever, but talk is that it might be replaced by a rail connection either direct or via LJ. Going via LJ would add less than 20 km but on an existing line, just requiring double tracking, and providing intermediate connections.

    The M20 should speak for itself under road safety alone, but there you are.

    Any ideas?


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Comments



  • There is a mention that rail could take precedence over a motorway (M20) for Cork - Limerick connection.

    The M20 is vital and should have been built over a decade ago, but the economic crash caused it to be cancelled. It is still needed more than ever, but talk is that it might be replaced by a rail connection either direct or via LJ. Going via LJ would add less than 20 km but on an existing line, just requiring double tracking, and providing intermediate connections.

    The M20 should speak for itself under road safety alone, but there you are.

    Any ideas?

    Improved rail on its own would be nothing more than a sticking plaster. There is very little city centre to city centre travel which would be accommodated by rail. There’s already suburban rail between Mallow and Cork

    Motorway is the only way forward in my mind but rail should be looked at in addition to the motorway build.




  • Improved rail on its own would be nothing more than a sticking plaster. There is very little city centre to city centre travel which would be accommodated by rail. There’s already suburban rail between Mallow and Cork

    Motorway is the only way forward in my mind but rail should be looked at in addition to the motorway build.

    There is little purpose in a separate line for Cork to Limerick as it serves few travellers, be they business or commuter. I fear a large number of passengers would be FTP users.

    However, invest in the Limerick Junction station so that trains can go easily through to Cork or Dublin or the other way. Then double track with high speed capable rail from Colbert to LJ.

    The Foynes idea is nonsense. Freight is irrelevant in the Irish environment - we do not have that kid of industry that could justify it.




  • True, very few users of the N20 want to go from Cork city centre to Limerick city centre. They would be better off spending the money for the direct rail link on improving commuter rail in Cork & Limerick on the existing line. There should be a proper commuter style rail link from Charleville into Cork with new stations built by Blarney, Mallow Rd and Rathduff. The same should be done from Charleville into Limerick. Doing that (along with decent bus routes centred in the stations) would take a lot of commuters off the roads.

    Having a rail link direct from city centre to city centre won't take one truck or delivery off the road.




  • There is practically zero chance of the rail option will be chosen over road. The most likely outcome is road plus upgrades to the existing rail. I assume there would be an hourly direct train between changing with Dublin - Cork train.

    IE are already advancing plans to remove seven level crossings south of Limerick Junction. Upgrades to LJ itself, including new approach from Waterford to remove the need to reverse in would leave a good level of service. Double tracking between Colbert and LJ probably doesn't achieve much, there is a few km of double track out of Colbert already. An overtaking section closer to LJ would be enough.




  • Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    There is practically zero chance of the rail option will be chosen over road. The most likely outcome is road plus upgrades to the existing rail. I assume there would be an hourly direct train between changing with Dublin - Cork train.

    IE are already advancing plans to remove seven level crossings south of Limerick Junction. Upgrades to LJ itself, including new approach from Waterford to remove the need to reverse in would leave a good level of service. Double tracking between Colbert and LJ probably doesn't achieve much, there is a few km of double track out of Colbert already. An overtaking section closer to LJ would be enough.

    I would think just double tracking would not be enough. They need to have the line from Colbert to Kent capable of high speed - less than an hour each way as it is abut 120 km. (Google gives 1 hr 23 mins for a car. They need to be faster than that.


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  • Let’s imagine a ridiculously far-fetched scenario where there was a dedicated high speed line from Kent to Colbert, offering a 20 minute journey time (Madrid-Barcelona line is rated for 350kph). Even in this best case scenario, I would *never* take the train to visit my family back home in Limerick. If all the stars aligned, the door-to-door journey time would still be ~90 minutes. With a HQDC or motorway from the Commons Road in Cork all the way to the north side of Limerick, I could drive door-to-door in just over an hour. And I have the use of my car while I’m there.

    Intercity rail is wrong for Ireland because the country is too small. Way back in the late-70s, the SNCF did studies on the optimum distance for high speed rail, and this found that the sweet spot was in the 400-600km range. Anything shorter, a motorway was faster. Anything longer, a ‘plane was faster. As luck would have it, those distances work very well for France and Spain, but not for our little island, and certainly not Cork to Limerick.




  • ianobrien wrote: »
    True, very few users of the N20 want to go from Cork city centre to Limerick city centre. They would be better off spending the money for the direct rail link on improving commuter rail in Cork & Limerick on the existing line. There should be a proper commuter style rail link from Charleville into Cork with new stations built by Blarney, Mallow Rd and Rathduff. The same should be done from Charleville into Limerick. Doing that (along with decent bus routes centred in the stations) would take a lot of commuters off the roads.

    Having a rail link direct from city centre to city centre won't take one truck or delivery off the road.

    add Buttevant to the list of new stations, no brainer very close to town centre




  • I would think just double tracking would not be enough. They need to have the line from Colbert to Kent capable of high speed - less than an hour each way as it is abut 120 km. (Google gives 1 hr 23 mins for a car. They need to be faster than that.

    Making the train 10 mins faster than road station to station ,would make no difference .
    Connections would , a luas or brt to Kent , train to limerick , and then tram or something to plassy or ratheen might ..
    But that's not going to happen.




  • Markcheese wrote: »
    Making the train 10 mins faster than road station to station ,would make no difference .
    Connections would , a luas or brt to Kent , train to limerick , and then tram or something to plassy or ratheen might ..
    But that's not going to happen.

    Well, yes, but a comprehensive public transport system is needed. In the 19th century when rail was the preferred (and only) way for travel for the many, there were local trains to nearly every part of Ireland, landing passengers within a pony and trap ride close to their destination. That does not exist, and could only do so by a comprehensive local bus service - which will not happen.

    Frequent and widespread Luas or BRT in both Limerick and Cork would be a start, with frequent commuter services for both cities would be needed. Even with those, the rail is not going to work without substantial subsidy.

    The motorway will be the winner anyway, as it will be the preferred method of travel for goods and people. P&R facilities would make rail more preferable for some, but would enough use them?




  • If you're gonna build the motorway anyways , put in decent private coach facilities ..


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  • the M20 has to be #1 but there is lots of scope for improving the rail service at quite a small cost too. Most of the time there's only one train an hour each way for LJ to Cork, putting in a stopping service should be not too hard.




  • as has been stated many times, the n20 is already over capacity. in a wildly optimistic scenario the m20 can begin around 2025 with a possibility of completion before 2030. This ignores the inevitable cuts to infrastructure spending that will be coming. The only improvements in Limerick/Cork connection that can be made in the next 5 years are in rail by scheduling changes or minor improvements. Rail needs to be prioritised in the short term to allow those who can make their journey by train to do so.

    Current trends in developments in both Limerick (plans to accommodate 10,000 living spaces directly outside limerick station) and Cork city (multiple office blocks in construction around cork station) point to the need for a long term shift to rail.




  • We can hope ...

    Used to get the cork limerick train many years back , and it used to piss me off , pulling into limerick junction from cork , and the limerick city train used to be pulling out , it's like they waited for the cork train to nearly arrive before leaving ,




  • The rail option is a non runner.

    Theres no decent rail link from Limerick to Galway.




  • Markcheese wrote: »
    We can hope ...

    Used to get the cork limerick train many years back , and it used to piss me off , pulling into limerick junction from cork , and the limerick city train used to be pulling out , it's like they waited for the cork train to nearly arrive before leaving ,

    Too many times.
    I am so scarred from this that I won't travel between Cork and Limerick by train any more. Bus only. (>90% of the time I drive).
    They need to either fix Limerick Junction or do a straight-through at Charleville or it'll never be a viable option for me.




  • A better Cork-Limerick rail connection would make investment in Limerick-Galway more likely, as it would be part of a longer Cork-Limerick-Galway corridor, but that would be a long way off.

    Cork and Limerick are close enough that there should be more business travel between them. Removing the need to change trains at Limerick Junction would dramatically improve ridership, and it would still be competitive with road: travel time isn't as big a deal as it's made out, because you can get work done on a train (or sleep, or just relax), and you don't waste time (and patience!) at your destination stuck in traffic or hunting for parking. For business travellers, rail has a lot of advantages, but there needs to be sufficient demand for travel between the places on the line: that's why I think if a new line is built, it should be the one that serves Croom and Adare, as both are sources of commuter traffic, which is the other point of investing in rail: reduction of commuter cars.

    In a country this size, rail will never take the long-distance journeys, but it can do a lot to reduce commuting traffic. Line improvements to support new local commuter rail and/or light rail services (plus park+ride) for Limerick and Cork would be as good, or better, investment as trying to reduce inter-city journey times. That can be done on the existing network, but if a new rail alignment is built to improve the Cork-Limerick route, it would also allow a new commuter rail corridor to be opened in future, and that might swing the argument in its favour despite the higher cost.




  • KrisW1001 wrote: »
    A better Cork-Limerick rail connection would make investment in Limerick-Galway more likely, as it would be part of a longer Cork-Limerick-Galway corridor, but that would be a long way off.

    Cork and Limerick are close enough that there should be more business travel between them. Removing the need to change trains at Limerick Junction would dramatically improve ridership, and it would still be competitive with road: travel time isn't as big a deal as it's made out, because you can get work done on a train (or sleep, or just relax), and you don't waste time (and patience!) at your destination stuck in traffic or hunting for parking. For business travellers, rail has a lot of advantages, but there needs to be sufficient demand for travel between the places on the line: that's why I think if a new line is built, it should be the one that serves Croom and Adare, as both are sources of commuter traffic, which is the other point of investing in rail: reduction of commuter cars.

    In a country this size, rail will never take the long-distance journeys, but it can do a lot to reduce commuting traffic. Line improvements to support new local commuter rail and/or light rail services (plus park+ride) for Limerick and Cork would be as good, or better, investment as trying to reduce inter-city journey times. That can be done on the existing network, but if a new rail alignment is built to improve the Cork-Limerick route, it would also allow a new commuter rail corridor to be opened in future, and that might swing the argument in its favour despite the higher cost.

    That's why I'm glad its being looked at as part of this project, worst case scenario with the M20 Study, no rail changes are made, but a lot of serious study is done of the viable options and can be used as a basis for a new scheme.




  • That's why I'm glad its being looked at as part of this project, worst case scenario with the M20 Study, no rail changes are made, but a lot of serious study is done of the viable options and can be used as a basis for a new scheme.

    Croom is 20 km south of Limerick, and would be a bit further than Bray or Malahide from Dublin CC. Adare is not in the same direction either. I cannot see either as suitable for Dart like commuter services. Croom does not have the population at any level to support heavy rail.


    I think that Luas would be a better solution for both Limerick and Cork with a multiline network, incorporating P&R. Limerick University would be a good destination, as would Shannon Airport.




  • Croom is 20 km south of Limerick, and would be a bit further than Bray or Malahide from Dublin CC. Adare is not in the same direction either. I cannot see either as suitable for Dart like commuter services. Croom does not have the population at any level to support heavy rail.


    I think that Luas would be a better solution for both Limerick and Cork with a multiline network, incorporating P&R. Limerick University would be a good destination, as would Shannon Airport.

    Sorry I should have been more specific, I more meant that enforcing rail option analysis during road construction (where remotely viable) in general should lead to valuable studies of the viability of rail in many locations.

    With this specific example, if the feasibility studies come to the same conclusion as you (rail isn't viable to Adare/Croom) then hopefully that means more focus made on a Limerick Luas solution instead of the already deemed infeasible rail options etc.




  • Sorry I should have been more specific, I more meant that enforcing rail option analysis during road construction (where remotely viable) in general should lead to valuable studies of the viability of rail in many locations.

    With this specific example, if the feasibility studies come to the same conclusion as you (rail isn't viable to Adare/Croom) then hopefully that means more focus made on a Limerick Luas solution instead of the already deemed infeasible rail options etc.

    I think Luas type solution should be both a Cork and Limerick solution.

    Colbert is a problem in that the train has to reverse out if it wants to go from LJ to Galway/Ennis. That really is a problem for through services/


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  • The Limerick to Limerick Junction line is to be dualed and electrified as part of LSMATS anyway. There's currently a Belfast-Dublin-Cork High speed study being undertaken, whatever the outcome it can be assumed that Dub-Cork will be electric (and somewhat faster than at present) in any case. So the Cork-Limerick rail journeys are greatly improved outside the scope of the M20 project anyway. A small investment in Limerick Junction to bring about regular direct services is about all that would be required as part of the M20 project. A new direct Charleville to Patrickswell line would of course be better but you'd have to balance the cost against the vast sums needed to modernise public transport within the cities.




  • cgcsb wrote: »
    The Limerick to Limerick Junction line is to be dualed and electrified as part of LSMATS anyway.


    Seriously?! Dualing fine, but electrifying that line would be absolute madness. Californian politicians agonised for more than two decades about electrifying the diesel service from San Jose to San Francisco. That project is well underway now but there are still major doubts about the likely ROI. If an electrification project isn't viable in one of the most developed corridors in the World, then I cannot imagine how it could be justified between Limerick and the Junction.




  • cantalach wrote: »
    Seriously?! Dualing fine, but electrifying that line would be absolute madness. Californian politicians agonised for more than two decades about electrifying the diesel service from San Jose to San Francisco. That project is well underway now but there are still major doubts about the likely ROI. If an electrification project isn't viable in one of the most developed corridors in the World, then I cannot imagine how it could be justified between Limerick and the Junction.
    Limerick to Limerick Junction is also the main Dublin to Limerick route so it's justifiable on that basis alone without considering Cork to Limerick. California is America, they dont do public transport, why even make that comparison. Do they not have an 18 lane road on the same route that is highly congested?




  • cgcsb wrote: »
    Limerick to Limerick Junction is also the main Dublin to Limerick route so it's justifiable on that basis alone without considering Cork to Limerick.

    I’m from Limerick so I understand the geography. If you electrify Limerick to the Junction but not the Cork-Dublin line, then that implies changing trains at the Junction. That’s not the way anyone wants to travel Limerick-Dublin. When I last lived in Limerick, anyone who even remotely paid attention to the timetable eschewed the shuttle option and took one of the direct services. That is the fastest option, and investing in a slower option makes no sense to me, even leaving aside cost-benefit considerations.
    California is America, they dont do public transport

    I’m afraid that’s just not true. It’s not all like LA. Lots of places over there have public transport options that put ours to shame. Silicon Valley (i.e. where this electrification is happening) isn’t even in the top tier but nevertheless has light rail and, believe it or not, a pretty good cycling infrastructure. I’ve used the aforementioned diesel service a number of times and the trains are very busy mornings and evenings. Still they doubt that the electrification will pay for itself. That’s why it is a valid comparison.




  • cantalach wrote: »
    I’m from Limerick so I understand the geography. If you electrify Limerick to the Junction but not the Cork-Dublin line, then that implies changing trains at the Junction. That’s not the way anyone wants to travel Limerick-Dublin. When I last lived in Limerick, anyone who even remotely paid attention to the timetable eschewed the shuttle option and took one of the direct services. That is the fastest option, and investing in a slower option makes no sense to me, even leaving aside cost-benefit considerations.

    Obviously Dublin to Cork would also be electrified

    cantalach wrote: »
    I’m afraid that’s just not true. It’s not all like LA. Lots of places over there have public transport options that put ours to shame. Silicon Valley (i.e. where this electrification is happening) isn’t even in the top tier but nevertheless has light rail and, believe it or not, a pretty good cycling infrastructure. I’ve used the aforementioned diesel service a number of times and the trains are very busy mornings and evenings. Still they doubt that the electrification will pay for itself. That’s why it is a valid comparison.
    It doesn't have to pay for it's self, again, this isn't America. Will the M20 pay for it's self?




  • cgcsb wrote: »

    It doesn't have to pay for it's self, again, this isn't America. Will the M20 pay for it's self?

    Many times over, the motorist is taxed up to the hilt.




  • Isambard wrote: »
    Many times over, the motorist is taxed up to the hilt.

    How is that? will the M20 generate more motor tax?




  • cgcsb wrote: »
    How is that? will the M20 generate more motor tax?

    Between motor tax, VRT, VAT and carbon levy the Irish motorist is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe.

    While taxes from these sources aren’t obviously ring fenced for road spending, you’d obviously hope than even a basic standard of road would be maintained and developed including a motorway between the 2nd and 3rd city in the state.

    There seems to be an attitude in Ireland that motorists complaining about such issues is wrong and some people’s responses to motorists being taxed to the hilt is “So what?”




  • cgcsb wrote: »
    Obviously Dublin to Cork would also be electrified

    It’s not at all obvious that would happen. You referred to some study into high-speed rail from Belfast to Cork. That may never happen. If the success of a Limerick to Junction electrification project is dependent on a separate and much larger project also happening, then it shouldn’t even be considered until that other project is in the bag. You can’t develop infrastructure based on hope.
    It doesn't have to pay for it's self, again, this isn't America. Will the M20 pay for it's self?

    Well that’s the expectation, yes. The general idea with any major infrastructural project is that the economic benefit outweighs the cost. That’s why the term used is “investing” in infrastructure, i.e. there’s an expectation of getting something back.


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  • Between motor tax, VRT, VAT and carbon levy the Irish motorist is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe.

    While taxes from these sources aren’t obviously ring fenced for road spending, you’d obviously hope than even a basic standard of road would be maintained and developed including a motorway between the 2nd and 3rd city in the state.

    There seems to be an attitude in Ireland that motorists complaining about such issues is wrong and some people’s responses to motorists being taxed to the hilt is “So what?”

    Motor tax and carbon levy are the same thing surely? You aren't taxed for the vehicle, you're taxed for the emissions? This is why people who ride bikes don't pay tax (Apart from VAT) on their vehicles, as there aren't any emissions.

    Motorists can afford to own a car, therefore they should be able to afford the taxes that come with that, it should be factored in to their calculations when buying a car, increasing taxes on these things is how you get people to switch to electric or bicycle or public transport.

    The M20 will generate value for the state, but the argument that it will do so via vehicle taxation is flawed, if it WERE to do so that would actually be a failure as we are trying to reduce the number of cars on the road these days, not increase it.

    The M20 will generate value for the state by improving connectivity and therefore improving the prosperity of Cork, Limerick and the towns along the route through improved commerce, not motor tax.

    @cantalach I'm not sure if you were arguing in good faith, the obvious implication of 'Dualling and Electrifying the Limerick to LJ line' was that it would be tying in to the planned Cork Dublin electrification, nobody has ever suggested electrifying it in isolation.


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