Its my news to the masses.
Im putting it in here because it has a wider (and deservedly so) interest than just RUI members. Yes its an infrastructural issue, but its dynamite. The news may have broken elsewhere, but here goes.
IE made a presentation to Meath CC today in relation to the routes and costings for the rail line from Pace to Navan. The same presentation is being made to the DOT next week. Tom Finn of IE is running the show.
Some of the route options examined were bonkers, but the preferred route (option 3) is more or less the original alignment with the necessary deviations. Navan station is to be sited at the site of Navan junction. (The original site on the former railway.)
Sounds good so far, doesn't it?
But Tom Finn stated that the costings in T21 for the project were not from IE and perhaps they came from the strategic rail review of 2003. Either way he wasn't sure where the figure was plucked from, but he was adamant that it was short by 200 million! Do the maths folks.
The project would not recoup its build costs. It would cover its running costs, but not the cost of depreciation. Therefore the document reaches the conclusion that the project is not financially viable.
Of course this doesn't mean that the line won't be built, but I feel its is a very convenient method of placing it on the back burner. Yet again my "banjo bet" looks safe and a further prediction from Dero's crystal ball.......if the dept of finance don't fancy the monopoly money that the direct route will cost, then the Drogheda route looks like a sleeping possibility.
This particular report is almost identical to a previous report done by IE and MCC. (circa 19999) That too concluded running as far as Navan wasn't viable. In fact its recommendation was to run as far as Pace and build a huge P+R for Navan commuters. The more eagle eyed amongst you will remember a debate between Barry Kenny and I on the last word in mid 2005, where he tried to justify the Pace P+R as a suitable facility for Navan commuters. Thats what it was always meant to be. Of course in November 2005 T21 pulled a rabbit out of the hat by including Navan in the list. Apparently the money was "ringfenced". But according to Tom Finn today that "ringfenced" money is a tad short. (If its even there at all)
I don't like saying these things and I know I sound like the Eamonn Dunphy of transport, but I still don't believe that Navan or the Interconnector will be built. Alternatively, it could be Navan or the Interconnector. Take your pick. Meanwhile in the west, the WRC is on its merry way. And yes, it was mentioned by one councillor in Meath, who made the very funny point that "the WRC will carry 500 people a day and thats the population of Kilmessan!"
Thats all from the funny farm.