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Unread 25-11-2015, 18:01   #21
Inniskeen
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When the upgraded Enterprise started in1997 it was routine to reach Drogheda in under 28 minutes with under 26 minutes not particularly uncommon. My fastest trip was marginally over 24 minutes. So 47 minutes is almost double what uncongested infrastructure would deliver.

The amount of slots north of Connolly allocated to DART is already grossly disproportionate to the traffic carried, the revised timetable greatlly increases the imbalance. Even at the busiest point immeduately north of East Wall Junction DART only accounts for 58% of the numbers travelling.

Interesting this timetable proves my concerns about DART underground - without additional physical tracks trains more DARTs mean more congestion and slower journey times. This is not a strategy that will result in extra business but wiil simply drive people away.
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Unread 25-11-2015, 19:48   #22
berneyarms
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When the upgraded Enterprise started in1997 it was routine to reach Drogheda in under 28 minutes with under 26 minutes not particularly uncommon. My fastest trip was marginally over 24 minutes. So 47 minutes is almost double what uncongested infrastructure would deliver.

The amount of slots north of Connolly allocated to DART is already grossly disproportionate to the traffic carried, the revised timetable greatlly increases the imbalance. Even at the busiest point immeduately north of East Wall Junction DART only accounts for 58% of the numbers travelling.

Interesting this timetable proves my concerns about DART underground - without additional physical tracks trains more DARTs mean more congestion and slower journey times. This is not a strategy that will result in extra business but wiil simply drive people away.
That's somewhat of a subjective viewpoint as you are clearly looking at it solely from the perspective of an Enterprise user. Most northern line commuter services are taking the same length of time (some off-peak taking longer) as before so I'm struggling to see how view this as "far worse than you expected" in your earlier post?

I'm not sure that the extra time on the Enterprise services is necessarily going to "drive people away", but on the other hand people may leave their cars/buses and revert to DART with the attraction of a 10 minute frequency. This very much turns DART into a "turn up and go" service between Howth Junction and Bray. Unfortunately, it's somewhat of a chicken and egg situation.

I do agree with you on one point - the infrastructure deficit on the Northern line does finally need to be addressed by solid capital investment proposals - four tracking has to become part of the overall strategy.

Unfortunately I have yet to see a single timetable change that has ever pleased everyone. That's kind of inevitable.
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Unread 25-11-2015, 20:26   #23
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Strange how on the Heuston side a lot is being spent to increase line speeds and reduce journey times, presumably in the belief that this will attract more custom. Yet on the Connolly side they are blithely increasing journey times on Belfast, Sligo and Rosslare routes: do they expect that this will not adversely effect custom?

Someone please explain.
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Unread 25-11-2015, 20:31   #24
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Strange how on the Heuston side a lot is being spent to increase line speeds and reduce journey times, presumably in the belief that this will attract more custom. Yet on the Connolly side they are blithely increasing journey times on Belfast, Sligo and Rosslare routes: do they expect that this will not adversely effect custom?

Someone please explain.
The Heuston side isn't sharing track space with an intensive city suburban service - that's the simple difference.

Also the amount being spent on the Heuston side is miniscule by comparison with what would be required to deliver separate lines on the Connolly side.

Last edited by berneyarms : 25-11-2015 at 21:35.
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Unread 25-11-2015, 23:26   #25
shweeney
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it's somewhat disingenuous that the consultation page on IE's website trumpets the 10 minute frequency but doesn't mention anywhere the increased running times.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 09:53   #26
James Howard
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Technically, for a turn up and go user, the time will be worse. At 15 minute frequency, the average wait time is 7.5 minutes. So you'll gain 2.5 minutes from frequency but lose 3 minutes in journey time.

People I've talked to at my station are very unhappy about this. For the normal commuter train pair on Longford commuter (0545 Sligo up, 1805 down), we are looking at 20 minutes longer in the day.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 11:38   #27
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Will any comments sent to IR re the proposed timetable be considered by IR at all? Or is it already decided upon and anyone who does take the time to comment will just be wasting their time?!
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Unread 26-11-2015, 11:46   #28
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Technically, for a turn up and go user, the time will be worse. At 15 minute frequency, the average wait time is 7.5 minutes. So you'll gain 2.5 minutes from frequency but lose 3 minutes in journey time
People making short journeys (i.e. Dart passengers) tend not to think about it that way. Wait time is more of a consideration than journey time, especially for ad-hoc passengers.

Dart has a bad reputation for being infrequent and having silly, unpredictable gaps between trains. They've been working on it for the last few years but it'll take time to lose that image. A 10 minute gap goes a long way towards achieving that (notwithstanding the negative impact on other services).
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Unread 26-11-2015, 12:39   #29
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i hate that there is an outbound maynooth train at connolly at 17:58 followed by a 22 minute gap, then a train coming from bray at connolly at 18:20, then a train at 18:50

given past performance, if there is delays to inbound services south of Pearse, especially the increased number of DARTs, if something goes wrong, thats a very long wait for Maynooth line passengers.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 13:28   #30
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My issue with DART is not frequency but reliability, the last 4 or 5 weeks have been particularly poor. I know Irish Rail think people are unreasonably critical but DART seems extraordinarily susceptiple to slipping (it rarely goes fast enough to slide) and I dread to think what the 2016 season will be like if this new timetable is implemented.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 16:04   #31
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People making short journeys (i.e. Dart passengers) tend not to think about it that way. Wait time is more of a consideration than journey time, especially for ad-hoc passengers.
the vast majority of Dart users are not ad-hoc passengers though, they're regular commuters and they'll notice the difference. I also suspect there's a disproportionate number of commuters from further out (e.g. DunL to Greystones on the southside) who will all have an extra 10 minutes added onto their days. For some commuters this may be cancelled out by being able to get a later service than before but I doubt anyone will be spending less time travelling overall.

Also - is this actually adding any capacity, I don't think there are any Darts sets lying around idle during the rush hour so it'll be the same number of carriages in service just split into more trains, yeah?
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Unread 26-11-2015, 16:09   #32
shweeney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inniskeen View Post
My issue with DART is not frequency but reliability, the last 4 or 5 weeks have been particularly poor. I know Irish Rail think people are unreasonably critical but DART seems extraordinarily susceptiple to slipping (it rarely goes fast enough to slide) and I dread to think what the 2016 season will be like if this new timetable is implemented.
this new timetable looks like they're implementing an autumn schedule all year round. Every train I've been on since October has been at least 5 minutes late so presumably they're getting crucified on the punctuality statistics (not that that has any real consequences for Irish Rail).

Solution? Extra timetable padding all year round. They're banking on people accepting this because the alternatives (driving or getting the bus) are even worse.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 17:47   #33
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Will any comments sent to IR re the proposed timetable be considered by IR at all? Or is it already decided upon and anyone who does take the time to comment will just be wasting their time?!
Any changes of under 5 minutes have a "slim" change however any sort of bigger changes will be completely off the table unless significant volume of passengers for example request x service to not change.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 18:05   #34
berneyarms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inniskeen View Post
My issue with DART is not frequency but reliability, the last 4 or 5 weeks have been particularly poor. I know Irish Rail think people are unreasonably critical but DART seems extraordinarily susceptiple to slipping (it rarely goes fast enough to slide) and I dread to think what the 2016 season will be like if this new timetable is implemented.
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the vast majority of Dart users are not ad-hoc passengers though, they're regular commuters and they'll notice the difference. I also suspect there's a disproportionate number of commuters from further out (e.g. DunL to Greystones on the southside) who will all have an extra 10 minutes added onto their days. For some commuters this may be cancelled out by being able to get a later service than before but I doubt anyone will be spending less time travelling overall.

Also - is this actually adding any capacity, I don't think there are any Darts sets lying around idle during the rush hour so it'll be the same number of carriages in service just split into more trains, yeah?
Quote:
Originally Posted by shweeney View Post
this new timetable looks like they're implementing an autumn schedule all year round. Every train I've been on since October has been at least 5 minutes late so presumably they're getting crucified on the punctuality statistics (not that that has any real consequences for Irish Rail).

Solution? Extra timetable padding all year round. They're banking on people accepting this because the alternatives (driving or getting the bus) are even worse.
Let's be honest DART reliability could be better even outside of the Autumn leaf fall period.

I suspect that this change is a recognition that the current timetable is simply not achievable and that as a result more realistic running times are being developed.

Personally, I'd prefer that the timetable be robust, particularly given the increase in frequencies, even if that means slightly longer journey times.

There's no point in maintaining a timetable that isn't achievable.
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Unread 26-11-2015, 23:37   #35
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I understood that the increased frequency was to be at peak time only. This seemed like a good idea. If it was a success, then increased frequency at off-peak periods could then be investigated.

It's only a couple of years since 2 carriage Darts were introduced off-peak. It's a while since I've seen one of these, and 6 or 8 carriage Darts off-peak does seem to be quite wasteful. My recollection is that passenger traffic growth is only in single digits, probably not enough to warrant longer trains or increased frequency off-peak.
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Unread 27-11-2015, 11:13   #36
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My recollection is that passenger traffic growth is only in single digits, probably not enough to warrant longer trains or increased frequency off-peak.
Increased frequency should bring growth by itself. Luas does quite well all day long but Dart carriages are like morgues after rush hour - perhaps it's because Luas is convenient for passengers?
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Unread 27-11-2015, 11:22   #37
Inniskeen
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That's somewhat of a subjective viewpoint as you are clearly looking at it solely from the perspective of an Enterprise user. Most northern line commuter services are taking the same length of time (some off-peak taking longer) as before so I'm struggling to see how view this as "far worse than you expected" in your earlier post?

I'm not sure that the extra time on the Enterprise services is necessarily going to "drive people away", but on the other hand people may leave their cars/buses and revert to DART with the attraction of a 10 minute frequency. This very much turns DART into a "turn up and go" service between Howth Junction and Bray. Unfortunately, it's somewhat of a chicken and egg situation.

I do agree with you on one point - the infrastructure deficit on the Northern line does finally need to be addressed by solid capital investment proposals - four tracking has to become part of the overall strategy.

Unfortunately I have yet to see a single timetable change that has ever pleased everyone. That's kind of inevitable.
While I am an Enterprise user, I also use DART and commuter services, the latter two more frequently than the Enterprise. Indeed a lot of my use of the Enterprise is to avoid the depressingly slow commuter trains which like the Enterprise have been subjected to significant cumulative journey time increases over successive timetable iterations.

At almost any time of the day, I can drive from my house to the city centre in about the same time as the Enterprise would currently take. In the morning I can leave home, by car, 15 to 20 minutes behind a commuter service and arrive in Sydney Parade at least 10 minutes before it shows up. So even point to point journey times are uncompetitive, let alone those that involve a change of train or change of mode. Add to that the significant delays that occur to morning or evening services multiple times a week and you have an offering which is of diminishing appeal especially to longer distance commuters. If you drive up the M1 at almost any time of the day it is buzzing and clearly the railway has lost very significant market share not just to motorists but also to express bus operators.

As for the proposed timetable, it is a credit to the architect in that a considerable effort has been made to produce something that might just be operationally deliverable. The poor signalling and track layout at Malahide, contention at Howth Junction, the lack of an up loop at Clongriffin and even tighter working between Bray and Greystones may well conspire to produce a significantly poorer operating performance than at present. There may well be six DARTs an hour but they will probably turn up in bunches. Alternatively Greystones passengers may find there train held in Bray to take up the path of the following service.

You suggest that this new timetable is effectively an attempt to reverse the long term decline in DART usage. It may do that to some modest degree although I suspect that any gains will be offset by a decline in the usage of other services which, with a few exceptions, have been significantly downgraded.

The issue brought into stark focus by this proposed timetable essentially boils down to whether it makes more sense to impose a journey time penalty of anything up to 20 minutes for passengers travelling to/from stations north of Malahide to facilitate a disproportionate number of comparatively lightly used off peak DARTs. North of Connolly DART accounts for something close to 55% of passengers during the course of a normal working day but already gobbles up 66% of the operating slots. Under this proposal at least 75% of northern line slots will be taken by DART.

The hopelessly uncompetitive journey times to stations south of Greystones means that this line will struggle to maintain even marginal relevance in the medium to long term. The minimal usage figures for stations like Wicklow, Arklow, Gorey and Enniscorthy set out in the 2014 NTA census are stark and depressing . The near empty car parks tell the same story. The same fate would now appear to await the northern line as Irish Rail seeks to implement tram style services on an inflexible and inadequate infrastructure.

And yes there will always be people who don't like a particular change to the timetable, but it is very rare to so significantly degrade one class of user in favour of another unless you are a commercial operator seeking to maximise revenue - this timetable most assuredly won't do that as the higher fare paying passengers are those most likely to walk given that the average DART journey is no more than 9 km !

Last edited by Inniskeen : 27-11-2015 at 11:30.
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Unread 27-11-2015, 12:33   #38
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I totally agree with the earlier comment that the line needs to be widened to 4 tracks between Connolly and Malahide. This will not be cheap, and to be honest, I don't see money for it becoming available while FineGael are in government.

I don't think it's a showstopper for DART Underground, but I think the northern line is a bottleneck that's going to have to be looked at eventually.
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Unread 28-11-2015, 19:32   #39
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While I have nothing against increasing the DART to every ten minutes the effect on the Rosslare line is truly dire with increases in journey times of over ten minutes for the majority of trains.

Measured end to end the increased journey times for Connolly – Rosslare trains M-F would be: +12, +12, +20 (no typo), + 9 & + 13.

The corresponding journey duration increases for City-bound journeys would be + 17, +6, +8, +13 & +8.

Appreciably with infrastructural constraints an enhanced DART offering is going to result in a level of trade off and as a previous poster commented the timetable needs to be robust.

But increases in journey times of the order that are proposed appear considerably beyond the reasonable parameters of robustness and give & take, are a step too far and raise the question as to what exactly is the medium to long term plan for the entire line along the eastern seaboard south of the capital?

The line could for instance facilitate commuting between the key towns in Co. Wicklow such as Wicklow and Arklow. Yet the first train from Wicklow to Arklow is well after ten in the morning. No daytime service for Kilcoole. No additional service, even as a shuttle south of Greystones, to grow business. Plus a number of scheduled out of service train positioning movements at least some of which could operate in service.

The NTA press release and indeed IÉ’s own release are silent when it comes to the South Eastern line. This timetable is essentially fuelling a vicious circle. The only aspect of the proposed timetable that is likely to be well-received by the majority is that it is intended to defer the last train from the city to the slightly later time of 19.00.

The apparent absence of any vision in Iarnród Éireann, the National Transport Authority and The Department of Transport for this line is extremely disappointing.

Nobody is expecting the “sun, moon & stars” but users have a reasonable expectation to a better service than this plus a targeted plan to incrementally enhance the service offering along the line.
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Unread 29-11-2015, 08:34   #40
Inniskeen
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I totally agree with the earlier comment that the line needs to be widened to 4 tracks between Connolly and Malahide. This will not be cheap, and to be honest, I don't see money for it becoming available while FineGael are in government.

I don't think it's a showstopper for DART Underground, but I think the northern line is a bottleneck that's going to have to be looked at eventually.
Given the dramatic impact on other services of increasing DART frequency from 4 to 6 services per direction per hour, the DART underground proposal (based on the published business case frequencies) would have a crippling effect on journey times along the northern line and reduce the average speed of Belfast services to about 30 mph between Dublin and Drogheda. Does anybody think this is sustainable ? The strategy seems to assume that longer distance commuters and Enterprise users either don't matter or should be so grateul to have a service that they should lap up whatever journey time or service contortions that are required to suit DART operations.

As for the South Eastern line, south of Greystones, it will propably linger on in a Nenagh-like limbo for five or ten years until either a new financial crisis emerges or some major piece of capital expenditure arises. Comparison with the huge success NIR have made of the Belfast - Derry line gives an idea of what could be achieved with a decent service and moderately attractive journey times.
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