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Unread 30-07-2013, 08:32   #41
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   #42
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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   #43
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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, 11:02   #44
Thomas J Stamp
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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 30-07-2013, 11:22   #45
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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, 12:09   #46
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oranmore is not a stop on the WRC - no matter what the campaigners say. Neither, by the way is Ennis. The WRC is Ennis to Athernry.

the idea that there is even a potential customer base to cover the costs of the line is fanciful.

You cannot compare the adjourning NPR road either, as it naturally enough has a lot of freight/business traffic (including what you would call soft business traffic such as salespersons and soft frieght such as plumbers/window replacement/ other point to point services.

The actual customer demand is small, no matter what you do to the line.
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Unread 30-07-2013, 12:43   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
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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Unread 31-07-2013, 03:28   #48
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The best thing that could happen to rail in this country is to close Athenry Ennis.
Can't believe it's not at least second to the Nenagh Branch. At least the Ennis-Athenry section must need minimal staff to do its thing compared to the Branch, plus everything is basically new and presumably much of it won't be worth relocating.

The reality is though that the Oranmore station will be basically Castleconnell or Hansfield redux unless IE can, among other things, get the 410 and 402 bus services extended through the station vicinity so that people coming up from south and east Galway would have the option to access Merlin Park Hospital and Galway Clinic.
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Unread 31-07-2013, 12:05   #49
Thomas J Stamp
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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.
Well, we know its 3 million a year, but we also know that it is not going to close. Its a part of the network now and it must be made either profitable or as close to profitable as possible, same as any other part of the network. You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about lightly used off peak DART/surburban services but I would wager that the sets used off peak work for hours on end and over the totality of their rota they would use far more then a peak service on the WRC.

Besides, this isnt a "Whatbouthim" argument. Those services have been established for years. This is a new service which before it was even opened was predicted to be an EXTRA loss maker to a company that cannot assume any extra loss making activities. This is why we (and anyone else looking objectivley at it) said it was a bad idea.
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Unread 31-07-2013, 12:56   #50
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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 31-07-2013, 13:50   #51
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laoisfan: are you serious? The morning train up from Limerick via Nenagh returns to Ballybrophy at about 1000am. The 0900 Dublin-Cork stops at Portlaoise and Ballybrophy and gives a quick connection to Limerick via Nenagh, arriving in Limerick at about 1200 (or slightly later). But if you stay on the Dublin-Cork train and change at Limerick Junction, you will be in Limerick at about 1115am.

Plus, all that assumes that there is a train available in Portlaoise to do the trip.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 10:11   #52
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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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laoisfan: are you serious? The morning train up from Limerick via Nenagh returns to Ballybrophy at about 1000am. The 0900 Dublin-Cork stops at Portlaoise and Ballybrophy and gives a quick connection to Limerick via Nenagh, arriving in Limerick at about 1200 (or slightly later). But if you stay on the Dublin-Cork train and change at Limerick Junction, you will be in Limerick at about 1115am.

Plus, all that assumes that there is a train available in Portlaoise to do the trip.
actually using a train from portlaoise depot and operating as a shuttle service to and form limerick is a better use of a unit than is what has been on the line for years. It can tootle up and down all day long and can be timed to connect to a number of trains. it also has the advantage that at early morning and evening it is going in the right direction.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 10:51   #53
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laoisfan: are you serious? The morning train up from Limerick via Nenagh returns to Ballybrophy at about 1000am. The 0900 Dublin-Cork stops at Portlaoise and Ballybrophy and gives a quick connection to Limerick via Nenagh, arriving in Limerick at about 1200 (or slightly later). But if you stay on the Dublin-Cork train and change at Limerick Junction, you will be in Limerick at about 1115am.

Plus, all that assumes that there is a train available in Portlaoise to do the trip.
Yes I am serious.

And not assuming at all. There are plenty of trains available in Portlaoise to do the trip. A 3-carriage train would be more than sufficient to do the job.

I'm blue in the face saying this....not all signs have to point towards Dublin.

If Irish Rail got off their ar$e and used a bit of imagination to drum up business this might actually work.

The same goes for an early morning service from Dublin to Cork. Fair enough, currently the demand is not there. If I was the Irish Rail CEO I'd be asking my minions how do we generate the demand. I would not be waiting for the demand to suddenly appear.

Could you imagine being able to commute daily from say Thurles into Cork City and working in the City Center or perhaps Mahon....wow...imagination.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 13:23   #54
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well, it wouldn't be a 3-car portlaoise train (a 22k) which would beat the track up operating all day long 5/6 days a week.

you're looking at what currently works the track (a perfectly good unit as ive been on it a good few times, it is a 27k i think now) doing the job.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 14:53   #55
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well, it wouldn't be a 3-car portlaoise train (a 22k) which would beat the track up operating all day long 5/6 days a week.

you're looking at what currently works the track (a perfectly good unit as ive been on it a good few times, it is a 27k i think now) doing the job.
Ahhh yes......forgot about the current state of the track, thanks for the correction :shake:

Ok...a 27k...but I definately think it could work, run from Portlaoise -> Ballybrophy -> Roscrea -> etc -> etc -> Limerick. And then back again....coinciding with connections at Ballybrophy for Dublin-Cork-Dublin trains and/or Portlaoise also.
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Unread 01-08-2013, 18:50   #56
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The 2800's are more than adequate to service the line. No need for 22Ks destroying the track.
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Unread 02-08-2013, 01:02   #57
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2700 is even better, lighter again, nicer to travel on, has proper bike rack
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Unread 02-08-2013, 03:32   #58
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IE has only so many Euros and man-hours to spend on capital works. It can spend them on improving the lines where they can compete or the ones where they can't. Even with the current improvements Nenagh Branch needs way more to be competitive against buses in the M7 corridor - even against buses which replace train service during possessions! It is quite simply throwing good money after bad.

Getting back to the thread at hand, if IE redeployed the spend on the Branch to the Limerick-Athenry route there might be scope to deal with some of the speed restrictions necessitated by incidents at sight-restricted crossings such as that recently reported on by RAIU.
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Unread 21-09-2017, 11:30   #59
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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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