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Unread 05-05-2012, 22:59   #1
LlewellynJones
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Default Galway-Limerick slow speeds

Took the train from Galway to Limerick today and back, excruciating slow. I was curious why the trains go so slow, as most of the line is straight and level. There were several times when the train was crawling along at 5mph on straight track for no reason. This is a problem throughout the entire network, but Galway to Limerick seems to be the worst, can someone explain to me why this is?
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Unread 07-05-2012, 19:29   #2
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the enginneers wont sign it off ! simple as that
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Unread 07-05-2012, 21:13   #3
LlewellynJones
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the enginneers wont sign it off ! simple as that
But the track can physically sustain trains travelling at whatever the trackspeed is on the other parts of the route?
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Unread 07-05-2012, 23:36   #4
Colm Moore
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But the track can physically sustain trains travelling at whatever the trackspeed is on the other parts of the route?
Not necessarily. While the rails and sleepers may be the same, you also have to factor in horizontal and vertical curvature, ballast/formation, super elevation (camber), level crossings, signals, over-bridge bridge clearance, underbridge design loadings, noise effects, etc. Axel loadings and vehicle design may result in train-specific limits, e.g. 201-class locos often have a lower speed limit than other rail vehicles due to their weight, even though they are capable of the high speed.

The two main factors on this route appear to be curvature and level crossings.
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Unread 08-05-2012, 00:14   #5
dowlingm
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The NRA wouldn't get away with it, would they? If a section of HQDC or motorway was limited to 40mph for no good reason indefinitely somebody would be making a fuss. I bet if IE was separate track and operating the operating side wouldn't be shy about telling passengers it was infrastructure's fault.
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Unread 08-05-2012, 01:24   #6
LlewellynJones
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The NRA wouldn't get away with it, would they? If a section of HQDC or motorway was limited to 40mph for no good reason indefinitely somebody would be making a fuss. I bet if IE was separate track and operating the operating side wouldn't be shy about telling passengers it was infrastructure's fault.
That is precisely the practise that we were told do towards Network Rail when I was a driver for a TOC in the UK. Except many of the schedules in the UK are run so tight and have little or no recovery time in them so a minor speed restriction could result in delays of several minutes for the rest of the journey.
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Unread 15-07-2013, 11:03   #7
Colm Moore
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http://www.irishtimes.com/business/s...line-1.1463500
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Iarnród Éireann Rail has been told to come up with a plan to tackle one of the biggest loss-making train services in the country. The Galway-Limerick route, which reopened in 2010, is continuing to lose passengers, and Minister of State at the Department of Transport Alan Kelly has told Irish Rail to get the service back on track. However, he ruled out closing down the route which was reopened at a cost of more than €106 million.

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Unread 15-07-2013, 16:58   #8
Jamie2k9
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and Minister of State at the Department of Transport Alan Kelly has told Irish Rail to get the service back on track. However, he ruled out closing down the route which was reopened at a cost of more than €106 million.
One would expect this comment from Alan Kelly with his track record of train services. Just as well Leo V hasn't ruled out a closure if numbers don't increase. Although its very unlikely to close, if IE can/do improve it, it changes nothing as people won't use it.
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Unread 16-07-2013, 02:47   #9
dowlingm
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Bit hypocritical to be firing at Galway-Limerick. Don't remember ever reading about one of those trains turning back because it ran out of customers, as the Nenagh branch (or "LGV Kelly") has done at Birdhill from time to time as I understand.
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Unread 16-07-2013, 09:33   #10
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Bit hypocritical to be firing at Galway-Limerick. Don't remember ever reading about one of those trains turning back because it ran out of customers, as the Nenagh branch (or "LGV Kelly") has done at Birdhill from time to time as I understand.
That's right but this route has the business at the start and the end, just nobody want's to use the middle of the route.
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Unread 16-07-2013, 11:19   #11
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Took a bit of a ramble from Galway to Dublin via Limerick and Nenagh a few days ago.

The numbers using varying services were interesting

1345 Galway/Limerick - 40 passengers leaving Athenry, 14 off, 18 on at Ennis.
1420 Limerick/Galway - 30 passengers off at Ennis, 25 departing Ennis

1540 Limerick Junction/Limerick (1400 ex Dublin, 1420 ex Cork) - 34 passengers arriving at Limerick.

1622 Limerick Junction/Limerick (1520 ex Cork) - 3 passengers.

1655 Limerick/Ballybrophy - 16 passengers leaving Limerick, 8 off at Castleconnell, 3 on, 2 off at Nenagh, 1 on, 2 off at Cloughjordan and 1 off at Roscrea.

1720 Cork/Dublin - 100 passengers leaving Ballybrophy.

1945 Heuston/Portlaoise - 55/65 passengers

2030 DART ex Howth, approx 500 seats, about 40 passengers inbound at Clontarf Road.
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Unread 21-09-2017, 11:30   #12
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Default great success now freight

The LIM - Galway line was a really forward decision and it years to come will be a great advantage in the west of Ireland. Numbers are increasing on the line and of course if it was also used for freight at night it would really add value joining Rosslare to Galway. Business men in these cities should insist on freight on this line giving fast access to Rosslare container terminal or even Cork thats why the lines were installed originally. In addition line to Foynes should be reopened for the same freight reasons.
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Unread 29-07-2013, 21:22   #13
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Angry Galway - Limerick

It is amazing that the ghosts of Beeching and Marples now haunt the Irish rail network i.e trying to make things as difficult as possible for the customer with connections etc. Istead of saying we have a line between two major centres of population now lets make it work. Has nobody heard of rail tourism like in Scotland where they put on steam hauled trains that are very well patronised. Putting on trains when people want to use them, having connections that work. All I seem to hear is that this line should not have been built. Lets rejoice that it has been and make it work. People campaigned long and hard for this to be reopened lets hear possitive suggestions not just negativity at all time. Why do people not have the same love of railways that exsists in the UK? Not a single major heritage line in the country I have long suggested Midleton - Youghal for this, but no one seems interested. The railways of Ireland are a wonderful resource in a beautiful country instead of trying to make the system more compact MAKE IT WORK!!
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Unread 30-07-2013, 08:32   #14
Mark Gleeson
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The best thing that could happen to rail in this country is to close Athenry Ennis. It exists solely for political reasons. Every single professional report commissioned said no in strong terms.

Its sucking 3 million euro a year out of Irish Rail which in turn results in higher fares and fewer trains elsewhere. It costs nearly 80 euro per passenger currently.

The reality is it cannot work and will not deliver anything close to the passenger numbers required to make the operating costs acceptable. There simply isn't enough people traveling between Galway and Limerick to make the numbers stack up and even then its 40 minutes faster by bus

We have long worked for a proper commuter service between Galway and Athenry, going back 8 years at this stage with a pitch to the IDA concerning Oranmore station. Thats where rail makes sense and can deliver value.
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Unread 30-07-2013, 10:22   #15
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Default Western Rail Corridor

From your comment I presume that you wish that the Irish rail network to be concentrated on a few main lines radiating from Dublin to major cities and a few commuter lines serving those cities. I suppose you oppose Galway - Athenry - Tuam too? Lines connecting two major cities and indeed lines from cities out to middle sized towns work in the UK and in other major European countries why not in Ireland. E.g. in Devon, Exeter - Barnstaple (only 20,000 pop approx.) a slow 40 mile single track branch line with only one small town and villages and hamlets on route. 12 return trips a day carries 400,000 passengers a year. In other words make the Western Corridor work. If IR cannot do it let another company do so Maybe it is time To have a Network Rail type system to maintain the network including mothballed lines and let other rail perators try to make the system or individual lines work.
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Unread 30-07-2013, 10:58   #16
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Another rail operator wouldn't go near the WRC in a million years, IE would gladly give up the line if they could. One positive of CIE going private is that it could be closed and political leaders couldn't do anything about it.

Lines connecting major cities are needed but people to use them are to and we don't have that. You can't compare the UK network which all passengers pay for travel unlike here and the majority on the WRC don't pay I expect and take UK population into account.

Costing 80 euro per passenger is a joke and most other lines probably don't even cost half of that.

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Unread 30-07-2013, 11:22   #17
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The problem isn't the number of users, but the investment required to get to a reasonable user base

Based on figures for other means of getting between the two cities and how they relate to travel to Dublin, you'd reckon that if the same standards of service could be provided as on the Dublin-Cork line (direct trains, average speed aboce 100 kph, hourly frequency), you could achieve decent passenger figures. My own estimates are

Galway-Limerick: 380K pa
Galway-Cork: 240K pa
Galway-Ennis: 170K pa
Galway-Waterford: 45K pa

But clearly on those figures you couldn't justify hourly 100kph trains from Galway to Cork, even before you consider the capital costs

So let's say we connect everything at Limerick Junction. Studies in Holland have suggested that 40% of passengers won't use a service once there is a connection involved (and that's with Dutch 15 minute frequencies)

So that alone loses 110K potential passengers to Cork and Waterford.

Now we're at 725K.

So we only need 1/3 of the frequency. But with that we'll lose about half the numbers. 360K.

So, even allowing that Limerick-Cork is in decent enough shape, could the investment to bring the line up to decent speeds be justified for 360K passengers. Lines to Galway, Wexford, Kerry, Waterford etc. could do a lot more with the same money.

I'm not an expert on train capital costs, but comparing to per km costs on other projects, I think this would be around 400m-500m. That's 1,500 per potential passenger per year and 15,000 per current passenger per year. Those are absurdly high figures considering the fare on the line.

The only real argument that can be made in the short-term is to identify quick wins, get them implemented and start getting minutes shaved off. Plus, sort out the situation at Limerick Junction.

People on the line should be happy that they got a station in Oranmore. Blarney has been waiting far longer with potentially higher passenger numbers.
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Unread 30-07-2013, 11:02   #18
Thomas J Stamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iknowwhereiamgoing View Post
From your comment I presume that you wish that the Irish rail network to be concentrated on a few main lines radiating from Dublin to major cities and a few commuter lines serving those cities. I suppose you oppose Galway - Athenry - Tuam too? Lines connecting two major cities and indeed lines from cities out to middle sized towns work in the UK and in other major European countries why not in Ireland. E.g. in Devon, Exeter - Barnstaple (only 20,000 pop approx.) a slow 40 mile single track branch line with only one small town and villages and hamlets on route. 12 return trips a day carries 400,000 passengers a year. In other words make the Western Corridor work. If IR cannot do it let another company do so Maybe it is time To have a Network Rail type system to maintain the network including mothballed lines and let other rail perators try to make the system or individual lines work.
I think you are encountering a few basic misunderstandings regarding Rail Users Ireland. We are a passenger operation. We have no problem with individuals operating heritage lines, nor indeed, if it raised money to be ploughed back into passenger operations with IE doing likewise.

With the greatest of respect I also think that you are mixing oranges and lemons by compairing the Irish Railway History with the UK one. You cannot compare Limerick-Galway with Exeter-Barnstiple as in the UK there is a great attachment and usuage (you mention 400,000 usages) with rail but the same is not in anyway as prevelent here.

I have great personal experiance of this as I live in the catchment area of the Nenagh line. Everyone kicks up a big stink about it when rumours go around of it closing - yet nobody uses it. The same is clearly shown in the WRC. Changing companies will not change that. The same is prevelent in all areas of the spectrum. There is no great love affair with rail in this country. There is also a vast difference in population density spead and habiits when you compair rural Ireland and rural UK.

You'd be correct in regards reopening the line to tuam. at a time when IE are on their knees and cannot get their flagship services working properly opening lines to nowhere which will only cost money is craziness. What it would result in is a lot of curtailment of services and closures elsewhere so you may end up with a lot of "heritage" railway in an act of supreme irony.

I, and indeed, RUI as a whole, want to keep rail lines open as much as possible - we have submitted a draft timetable regarding Nenagh Branch to IE as a model shuttle service. Its not rocket science. If we were anti-branch lines we certanly would not have gone to that amount of trouble.

Yet, we opposed the "early morning" train from Limerick to Dublin on the same line, because it was a blatent waste of scent resources and was only done as a political stroke. That is exactly why we, IE, and every independant report opposed the WRC.

So we have a line which attracts a great deal of emotional attachment and desire. Which nobody uses because to the vast majority of them it is not relevent. Meanwhile IE is scrating its head looking at the Enterprise Service and the Cork Service and making as many savings as it can on them whilst trying to keep the show on the road as money is bled onto the WRC. And yet people want Tuam, they want Donegal.....
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Unread 31-07-2013, 12:56   #19
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....
....
Yet, we opposed the "early morning" train from Limerick to Dublin on the same line, because it was a blatent waste of scent resources and was only done as a political stroke. That is exactly why we, IE, and every independant report opposed the WRC.
....
....
I get the train at Ballybrophy to Dublin each morning. I often said it was a waste of time running that train from Limerick to Dublin via Nenagh, Roscrea, Ballybrophy etc. Little or no passengers on it.

It's a pity they could not have run it from say the Portlaoise Station to Limerick via the Nenagh line just to see if they would be more demand in the opposite direction.
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Unread 30-07-2013, 12:43   #20
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The best thing that could happen to rail in this country is to close Athenry Ennis. It exists solely for political reasons. Every single professional report commissioned said no in strong terms.

Its sucking 3 million euro a year out of Irish Rail which in turn results in higher fares and fewer trains elsewhere. It costs nearly 80 euro per passenger currently.

The reality is it cannot work and will not deliver anything close to the passenger numbers required to make the operating costs acceptable. There simply isn't enough people traveling between Galway and Limerick to make the numbers stack up and even then its 40 minutes faster by bus

We have long worked for a proper commuter service between Galway and Athenry, going back 8 years at this stage with a pitch to the IDA concerning Oranmore station. Thats where rail makes sense and can deliver value.
So remind me what lines in Ireland don't exist for "political reasons". If the same political approach to railways was taken in the Republic as in Northern Ireland, you might now have services from Dublin to Cork, Limerick, Galway and Killarney as well as DART (not necessarily electrified).

Yes, performance of the WRC (by definition including Limerick/Ennis) is a disappointment, but then so is the service frequency, quality, speed and marketing. So what would be saved closing Ennis/Athenry - one two piece railcar (add to scrap line) ?, fuel, some staff costs (drivers and pw). Given the age of the infrastructure maintainence costs can't be that high so not too much savings there either. I imagine total savings would be very minor in the overall scheme of things - could probably save more by cutting lightly used off peak Dublin DART and suburban services.

Last edited by Inniskeen : 30-07-2013 at 12:46.
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