Your latter question is a good one Thomas. In an ideal world, the 2900s would probably suffice, as it is possible to travel to Dundalk in 48 minutes flat - my record on two afternoon Enterprises in five years. In that sense, the full comforts of intercity would probably not be required (though still desirable).
Of course the reality is very different, with average journey times on the 2900s (nearly all used on multi-stop journeys) being 1hr 20 to 1hr 30, a ridiculous amount of time to be forced to use these models, though of course paling into insignificance when considering the Sligo line. Journey times from Dundalk have also been steadily increasing over the past few years, as more and more DARTs are added to the Dublin catchment of the Northern Line, not to mention vastly increased services to Drogheda too, seemingly none of which Dundalk has derived any benefit from.
As for the noise levels, first and foremost this is the worst aspect of the 2900s; if this alone could be solved that'd be 50% of the problem solved in my view. I simply don't know which carriages cause the most noise Thomas - believe me if I knew I'd certainly make it my business to avoid them! Indeed something I've been trying to do for a while now, but as far as can be made out every carriage seems to make an intolerable level of noise, i.e. engine noise rather than general noise. Obviously this cannot be the case if as you say there's only 1 in 4 that have an engine, but that's my experience.
Certainly I do know that the very last seats at the end of a 4 car set would literally do your head in with the noise - it is simply unbearable, in the mornings in particular with such a delicate disposition
. I have come reeling off the train in the past from those seats, stuck there for an hour and a half. This combined with overcrowding, though not
dependent on each other lest that impression be given, makes these trains franky inhumane at times.
But yes, there are better seats than others from an engine perspective, though I still haven't figured out which ones - it seems that the engines vibrate the entire cars. And also it is possible for them to operate quietly - on some occasions you can go speeding along without a peep ffrom the engine, as if sufficicent momentum has been built up for it to be swiched off. They're still noisy on such occasions, but not nearly as much as with the engines operating.
Another issue with noise is whining of all things - an incessant whine often comes from the engines or wheel operations that would do your head in, non-stop for 80-90 minutes. It's like having one of the notorious broken Enterprise toilet locks beeping the whole journey
. Sounds a bit finnicky no doubt, but facing travelling on one of these yokes for up to an hour and a half (already a ridiculously excessive amount of time for the pittace distance involved), with these uncomfortable characteristics to put it mildly is just unacceptable. I can't imagine what it's like for Sligo - I really can't.
I'll try a more in depth investigation tomorrow as to which are the worst carriages
So are IÉ planning buying anymore of these yokes? Are some on order already?