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Unread 18-06-2019, 07:26   #1
ACustomer
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Default Climate Action Plan

One would think that rail transport did not exist, when reading the new government Climate Action Plan. For example:

Data is given for CO2 emissions from cars, trucks, buses ships, but no mention at all of rail.

There are intentions to produce a new rail strategic plan: no specifics, one can imagine how many expensive consultants will be hires to produce another mountain of paper.

There is mention of acquiring hybrid trains: nothing more specigic, and already announced anyhow

Rail electrification to Maynooth, Hazlehatch and Drogheda is (mentioned) (promised), but we knew that was coming anyhow.

"Add additional capacity to LUAS network": this could mean almost anything.
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Unread 18-06-2019, 11:14   #2
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On a more detailed look, the LUAS capacity enhancement consists of delivering and commissioning the longer 55m trams for the Green line, which are extra modules to convert existing 45 metre trams. Also about 6 new "high-capacity" trams.

No mention of new LUAS routes. No mention of DART Underground, which if you are trying to radically enhance public transport capacity in the Dublin area, is what is needed - and that would be just the start of it!

Overall predictably pathetic from the DoT.
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Unread 18-06-2019, 12:08   #3
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I think there's some very good stuff in the plan, but I agree it's disappointing that there isn't more mention of rail.

I'm not sure it's the place to get into specifics of routes, but a commitment to increase capacity, improving journey times, and reducing road journeys in private cars.

I think electrification is less important for climate goals than people might thing. Even if all our trains remain diesel, moving large numbers of commuters from cars to rail would result in massive reductions in emissions. However, after the initial installation cost, electrification reduces costs (of rolling stock, and of fuel and maintenance), and significantly improves reliability.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on electric vehicles, which I think are an important part of the solution, but we need to massively reduce the number of car journeys we make, not just transfer them to electric cars.
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Unread 18-06-2019, 18:37   #4
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James Shields: You are right - moving people (and freight ) from road to rail is important. But this means that rail system capacity needs to be increased radically. No mention of that in the Climate Action Plan, other than vague references to another strategic rail review. Compared with the very detailed and radical proposals for cars and home heating the potential of rail is virtually totally neglected.

On electrification, the moral of the story is to look to Europe, not England, which has made a total horlicks of electrification (e.g.see the GWR fiasco). Scotland has a long-term programme which seems to deliver good results. The key to this is to have a steady annual programme running over decades. (e.g. Germany, and more recently Scotland). England by contrast has had a series of big projects producing investment feasts and famines. For a really good look at this see: https://www.railengineer.co.uk/2018/...ication-right/

Electification looks expensive up front. But as a long-term investment when you factor in the recurrent benefits (greater effective capacity, greater reliability, cheaper running costs, cheaper rolling stock pruchase price, etc etc) then the upfornt costs get put in perspective.
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Unread 19-06-2019, 16:22   #5
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Not hard to see that a consistent long term roll out will be more cost effective than lots of one-off electrification.

I'm sceptical of the chances of it happening here, but the smart thing would be to use the Dublin area electrification to kick off a gradual electrification scheme for the whole country. The Cork commuter network would be the obvious follow on, perhaps followed by inter-city lines. Dual mode trains would allow the benefits of electrification to be realised immediately, and the benefits would increase as the project progressed.
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Unread 19-06-2019, 18:58   #6
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James Shields: There was a piece in to-day's Irish Times (by their motoring correspondent) on how impossibly ambitious are the Climate Action Plan targets for electric cars. It would require that practically 100% of all new cars registered from 2020 to 2025 be electric. Mad stuff.

Contrast that with the almost zero ambition for rail electrification.

You mention Cork suburban being next after Maynooth (+ Pace?), Hazlehatch and Drogheda for electrification. I doubt if Cork suburban is a big enough project to stand alone. I would imagine if/when mainline electrification links Dublin to Cork (25kv AC) that extending the wires on to Cobh and Midleton should be easy and economical. Then you just keep rolling the thing out further, just like the Germans and the Scots.

A problem that the UK (or at least the English) have is the separate asset ownership for the Network and for the train operators. This split has many good points but it also has one big problem: the big capital costs (power supply infrastructure, wires, etc) are borne by Network Rail, but many of the benefits in the form of lower operating costs, greater reliability, improved journey times, etc accrue largely to passengers and/or train operating companies. Thus the benefits are not necessarily fully internalised into Network Rail's investment decision-making process.

Last edited by ACustomer : 19-06-2019 at 19:07.
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