The more one looks at the rail element of the Plan, the worse it gets.
First, Metro North-South. The original Green line (Sandyford-Stephenís Green) was engineered for heavier Metro trains between Beechwood and Sandyford. The idea was that the line would go underground near Beechwood and on to Stephenís Green, the airport and Swords. However the Green line has since acquired extensions South to Brideís Glen and North to Broombridge so any new Metro between Sandyford and Beechwood (or worse, Charlemont) would isolate the two new extensions to the Green line, unless Luas and Metro vehicles were to share the line between Sandyford and Beechwood/Charlemont. One can imagine the timetabling and engineering problems. The newest Metro plans, being proposed a matter of weeks after the luas extension to Broombridge, are shambolic.
Second: electrification. There is some general aspiration to electrify to Maynooth, Balbriggan and possibly Hazlehatch. There is mention that extra tracks may be required over part (?) Of the line to Balbriggan. There is also a mention of hybrid electro-diesel multiple units. However there appears to be no detail, and not even the outline of a coherent plan of implementation, which integrates the progress of electrification with the purchase of new rolling stock. Hybrid trains are coming to the UK, in part because they have cut back on their electrification plans. On the continent they electrify most lines and reap huge benefits in terms of lower operating costs and better service levels. I fear that hybrid rolling stock may lead to endless procrastination when it comes to projects to extend or complete electrification of routes.
Third: Colm McCarthy and other critics. I really wish people would read his recent Indo piece. He made the simple point that the Metro proposals costing Ä3m have not been subjected to any cost benefit analysis, as apparently required by law. This is not being anti-rail, itís just arguing for proper project evaluation. McCarthy and the Indo may have written other pieces which are anti-rail, but judge this one on its merits and donít resort to ad hominem arguments.
I donít know who should be blamed for this mess, the NTA, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Department of Transport, or the Minister in whose constituency Sandyford is situated. I wouldnít put them in charge of a funfair ride. And Comcor, please donít even think about mixing Cork suburban rail with some new tram line!