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10-07-2003, 11:30   #1
sligoliner
 
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Western Rail Corridor - won't be long now

These people have some interesting ideas - they are going to run the railway themselves and Irish Rail won;t be involved. Similar to how regional railways are run in Europe. A co-op. One more nail in the CIE coffin. It's great see Irish peple waking up to the fact that the railways belong to the Irish people and no CIE management and unions. Very exciting development:


Campaign to reopen rail line gains momentum
By Chris Ashmore



The biggest campaign to reopen a railway line in Ireland is under way. In the past three weeks, more than 30,000 people have signed a petition calling for the "Western Rail Corridor" from Sligo to Limerick to be reopened.

The West-on-Track campaign has caught the imagination of people living along the route with local authorities, chambers of commerce, trade unions and development groups from over 20 towns supporting it.

Since the campaign was launched last month, hundreds of signs have been erected along the N17 Sligo-Galway road with slogans like "Give us back our railway" and "Relieve the East - Revive the West." More than 5,000 posters have been distributed to retail outlets and businesses and 10,000 car stickers handed out, while 15,000 postcards addressed to the Minister for Transport have been printed.

Although 31 miles of the route - at the northern and southern ends - are part of already operational lines, some 114 miles in between are currently disused. The section from Collooney in Co Sligo to Claremorris, Co Mayo, was shut in 1975 and that from Claremorris to Athenry and on to Ennis in 2001. Much of the line is overgrown.

However, thanks largely to the efforts of Fr Micheál Mac Gréil, who has campaigned tirelessly for reopening the line, the track was not lifted and every mile is still in public ownership.

In the Strategic Rail Review (SRR) published earlier this year, the cost of renewing the Sligo-Limerick line, including tracks, stations, signalling and level crossings, was put at €572 million.

But that figure is disputed by Mr Frank Dawson, Galway County Council's director of services, who has carried out an extensive analysis of the line's potential. He maintains it could be reopened for €215 million.

"The total capital cost of the Western Rail Corridor is overstated by €327million (266 per cent). An error of this magnitude simply cannot go unchecked," he said.

Mr Dawson added that just 15 diesel railcar units on 60 m.p.h. track, rather than 72 locomotive hauled carriages on 80 m.p.h. track as the SRR budgeted for, would enable a comprehensive cross-radial service to be operated as well as commuter services for Limerick, Sligo and especially Galway, which could have new suburban halts at Oranmore and Renmore.

He claims that the track could be upgraded at a cost of €825,000 per mile rather than the €2.4 million per mile quoted in the SRR.

"It seems illogical that here we have an asset which is not being utilised. It could be open in six months if the green light was given. People are bursting to get the train," notes Colman Ó Raghallaigh, a member of the West-on-Track campaign steering group.

He stresses that changing lifestyles and demographic changes make the line far more viable now than when it lost its passenger services. The need for more balanced regional development and the provision of better public transport in rural Ireland have struck a chord with communities along the route.




© The Irish Times
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10-07-2003, 16:48   #2
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dream on methinks.

Any sign of a business plan? You could build a lot of road for 300 million, never mind the ongoing costs. Maybe, just maybe, light rail could work in the Galway and Limerick suburbs.

Why not just upgrade the road between Galway and Shannon? Then hourly express buses could be run from Sligo to Limerick/Cork if the demand is there.
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10-07-2003, 17:36   #3
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and what if you wanted to ship freight? stick it on the express bus?
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11-07-2003, 10:27   #4
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no you would stick it in a container on an artic.

Chances are you would be going from one industrial estate to another so it would have to go by road some of the way anyway.

How much freight uses the 'western corridor' anyway? I'd guess most of it just goes to/from the ports on the east coast anyway.

Ok you can argue it's a chicken/egg situation, but if the government wants to invest in development of the western seaboard there are more practical ways of doing so than this. Of course they don't want to say this out loud so they mumble about 'feasibility studies'.

It's like in Australia where John Howard promised and built a railway, at huge expense, through thousands of kilometers of desert to link two large towns (Alice and Darwin) to the rest of the country. Never mind that people were surviving perfectly well with road transport - it was a political choice, as it will be again here (either way).
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11-07-2003, 11:04   #5
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building more and more roads is not a solution

how many artics can one train replace?
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11-07-2003, 12:10   #6
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ok I don't want this thread to degenerate into a trains v roads discussion. However there is a certain minimum level of usage required to make trains economically viable. Given the way the population is spread out over the west coast I don't think this is achievable. I admit the western corridor is intuitively a nice idea, as was restoring the canals, but that's no reason to do it.

e.g. if you wanted to get a load of spare parts from shannon to ballina do you think it would be cheaper to load/unload them onto a lorry, then onto a train, or to road freight them directly?
Road building is not an end in itself but roads should be a certain minimum standard, which some of the main routes in mayo and clare are not.
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11-07-2003, 12:16   #7
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no railway anywhere in the world is economically viable and if lorries and bus companies were forced to pay for the use and upkeep of the road let me tell you they would no be "viable" either.

If you believe that a public service is a profiit making industry and should be trated as such, then lets charge people to use traffic lights and footpaths as well. This railways must be "viable" was spawned in the minds of the US car industry in the 1950s who got the US government to build them a highway network that cost 315 billion dollars and has been described as "inter-state socialism". Roads are not viable either - it';s just that we have been conditiond to pay for them for free use and railways we have been conditioned to do the opposite.
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11-07-2003, 13:11   #8
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Yes I agree that roads should be charged for - ideally by road tolls and fuel charges. This is on the way in.

However I don't buy the idea that 'railways are a public service, hence the government should throw money at them'.

If there is a public subsidy to be provided to rail transport, let's quantify it, and then decide if it's a worthwhile investment. At the moment this is done explicitly by providing a 'public service subsidy' to CIE for it's rural bus routes, and to regional air routes. In my opinion if you take the cost of the western corridor, divide by its projected usage, you get a huge per-passenger cost which doesnt match any corresponding public benefit in terms of reduced congestion or increased economic development. The dublin metro is another kettle of fish - there are clear economic benefits in having good public transport where it will get heavy usage, and in that case the goverment should borrow to invest.
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11-07-2003, 13:13   #9
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Let pull the sweet deals on aviation fuel and charge it for the environmental damage it does and let's see how "viable" Ryanair is then. Let's pull the plug on the €500+ per passenger government subside to fly "commercial" airlines into Donegal.

Why do railways which carry, passengers and freight in gigantic numbers, produce the least pollution and cause the least damage to the environment get to be the only one targeted by this "profit" and "viability" excuse? Railways in present day Ireland have never been more viable nor had more potential to really improve the quality of life and free up our roads and reduce gridlock in urban ans rural areas. have youever seen the traffic in Galway, Limerick and Sligo? and there are new roads all over and around them places.

how come the "population density" carry on is NEVER applied to roads? The fact is that far too many people in this country are lost in the American-centric notion of the car is the future, the eternal king and symbol of freedom (even when you are stuck in traffic getting fact, listen to Gerry Ryan talking bollox and isolated from the rest of humanity to the point where road rage is the only recourse) and the railway are the past. In Europe, it's not like this.

We pay the price in the country for assuming that everything British and Americna is the only thing that works or matters. Go to Switzerland or Denmark - their railway are economically profitable either - but they are not looked upon as having to be this way. There is no other country in Europe with the amount of lorries on the road that Ireland has. Most of our small towns and scenic regain are crammed with artics. The Western Rail Corridor is viable for reasons other than generating income for the Department of Finance. Do you want to live in an good Economy and nothing else, regardless of how destroyed our environment and quality of life is by traffic and pollution? Then I suggest you move to the USA.

We good hospitals, schools, roads and railways in the West of Ireland. The banning of one-off rural housing is important as well.

Open the Western Rail Corridor now and save a nightmare in 20 years time that will cost a whole lot more to sort out.
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11-07-2003, 13:24   #10
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1987 the then government decided that there would be no further investment in the railways in Ireland. Then the Celtic tiger comes along and imagine no DART, commuter services, ARROW and inter-city service. Rail travel has never been more popular or necessary in Ireland.
But it’s not “viable” – well according the the government back in 1987 and a lot of people since… Thank God nobody paid them any attention and the railways were not ripped up. Could you only imagine the traffic now! Build that six-lane motorway along Sandymount Strand destroying it forever and close the DART– Ray Burke and Haughey were 100% behind it.
Jackson Way anybody?
This country need to grow up fast regarding the viable of all modes of transport and how they can work together and get away from this “in with Roads, out with Rail” Lord Beeching mentality. Never worked anywhere.
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11-07-2003, 13:40   #11
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When was the last time a passenger on a train in Ireland was killed in a crash? 1991

How many people in the West opf Ireland between Sligo and Limerick have been killed by cars and lorries since 1991?

When was the last time a motorist was killed by a cyclist?

When was the last time a train killed a cyclist?

Does the auto industry pay for for the thousands of funeral and hospital bills it generates in Ireland every year. Do the trucking compaines pay for all the pothole on our scenic roads that are made too dangerous for cyclists?

What was that some people were saying about railways being a burden on society and constantly have to justify themselves?

www.platform11.org
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11-07-2003, 13:43   #12
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rename this thread, sligoliner rants to himself
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11-07-2003, 13:56   #13
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do you have anything to add other than slaggin people off?
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11-07-2003, 16:58   #14
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Thinking ahead

Taxation ideas suggested in a groundbreaking book more than a century ago are increasingly being seen as a solution to current problems. Victor Keegan reports

Thursday June 26, 2003

A US social reformer who died more than 100 years ago would probably be smiling if he could see the way in which his ideas are slowly starting to take root.
Henry George was the author of the world's first best-selling book on economics, Progress and Poverty (1879). It hugely outsold Das Kapital, and was cited by HG Wells and George Bernard Shaw as the main reason for their conversion to socialism.

In it, George advocated what has been described as the least unfair tax: a levy on land values. The idea is to tax increases in land values that have nothing to do with the individual efforts of the owner, as when a new underground system such as the Jubilee line raises the value of land and property for miles around.

Unlike taxes on incomes, a tax on rising land values is a levy on unearned income. What could be fairer? Variants of the land value tax are starting to come back into fashion as a result of the government's search for increased revenues at a time when it perceives, rightly or wrongly, that the electorate will not tolerate higher income taxes.

This week, the Social Market Foundation, an independent thinktank, called (among other things) for an annual property tax of a proportion of the value of a house. This is not quite what George had in mind, but it is moving in that direction.

Earlier in the month, one of the academic papers published as part of the Treasury's five tests on euro entry suggested a Danish-style property tax of 1% on the market value of most owner-occupied houses.

It suggests that changes in the property tax could become a powerful tool to manipulate the economy if Britain enters the eurozone and has to surrender control of interest rates to the European Central Bank.

The biggest potential for a land value tax has already been endorsed by Bob Kiley, who is in charge of transport in London, as a means of financing the proposed Crossrail project across the capital.

The capital cost of the project would be paid for by the community whose land values have risen as a result of it, leaving the operating cost to be met out of fares.

This follows on from estimates by Don Riley (author of Taken for a Ride) that the Jubilee line, which cost £3.5bn, led to an increase in the value of land nearby of £13bn.

You don't have to buy all of George's ideas (he wanted the land value tax to replace all other taxes and claimed that it would abolish unemployment) to believe that it is an idea whose time might soon come.

No one likes taxes, but this is the least unfair of them all (which does not, of course, mean that it will be popular with the Daily Mail).

George was influenced by earlier sages such as David Ricardo, Tom Paine and John Stuart Mill, who wrote: "The increase in the value of land, arising as it does from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to the community and not to the individual who might hold title."

They would all have been very surprised to know how long it has taken for the idea to start taking root. It is only now, when ideas for raising new taxes have been almost exhausted, that people are starting to look at the best ideas from the past.

· Victor Keegan is editor of Guardian Online
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11-07-2003, 17:20   #15
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is this "land tax" proposed to be an annual tax or a once off say when the land is sold on?
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