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Unread 29-08-2012, 11:25   #1
Colm Moore
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Default Timetable revisions 2012-2013

http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0829/iar...blin-line.html
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Changes to Dublin-Sligo rail services planned
Updated: 11:48, Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Iarnród Éireann has confirmed that there may be some alterations to the Sligo-Dublin schedule.

It could affect services to Longford, Mullingar and other stations along the line.

Spokesman Barry Kenny said: "While there are trains that are greatly under utilised, it may be necessary for us to amend the schedules accordingly.

"Before we can do this we are required to obtain the approval of the National Transport Authority.

"We also intend to publish any draft schedules on our website and invite our customers to give us feedback as part of a public consultation on the proposed schedules."

More than 1.2m passenger journeys were made on the line last year.

Mr Kenny said that no changes would be made before the end of 2012.
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Unread 29-08-2012, 11:51   #2
Mark Gleeson
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Either the 18:05 or 18:17 Connolly Longford are in for the chop

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Before we can do this we are required to obtain the approval of the National Transport Authority.
Hasn't stopped them in the past changing first and getting approval later as FOI has proven
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Unread 29-08-2012, 13:08   #3
James Howard
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That link is currently dead.

It would be pretty disastrous for commuters if the 1805 to Longford were to go. This service is heavily used as far as Mullingar while the 1817 has always been pretty deserted after Maynooth.

This train leaves 12 minutes after the 1805 and gets into Maynooth and every station further out around half an hour later so to be honest it is little use to anybody.

Presumably this would also result in the 21:05 from Longford also going or would one of early morning services be for the chop?
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Unread 29-08-2012, 13:18   #4
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Longford Leader coverage
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Unread 29-08-2012, 13:27   #5
Mark Gleeson
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My info say 18:17 is in for the chop beyond either Maynooth or Mullingar

That would push business towards the 19:05

One fewer train through the critical section would do wonders for punctuality
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Unread 29-08-2012, 13:32   #6
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I'LL wait for the Rosslare line timetable changes
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Unread 29-08-2012, 13:50   #7
James Howard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
One fewer train through the critical section would do wonders for punctuality
I've been saying this for a long time. Losing the 1817 would be positive for the service as it is one less train for the 1700 from Sligo to cross with and it is of no use to anybody going any further than Kilcock - with the possible exception of a few people who commute from Longford/Mullingar to Maynooth.
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Unread 29-08-2012, 14:53   #8
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Pity they didn't do this years ago.

The 21:00 pearse longford would have been more of a success.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 14:14   #9
Thomas J Stamp
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http://www.independent.ie/national-n...c-3214942.html

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INTER-CITY rail services are to be cut because of falling passenger numbers, the Irish Independent has learnt.
The move to reduce the frequency of some trains is also linked to soaring fuel prices, bus competition, and the impact of the new motorway network.
It reverses the rapid expansion of services and frequency of trains over the past decade.
Passenger numbers have been falling sharply as inter-city commuters find it just as fast and as cheap to drive or go by bus. Rail passenger numbers have fallen by 25pc in the last five years.
Mainline rail services have also been hit by the increased frequency and lower fares offered by Bus Eireann and private bus operators.
Irish Rail was recently given a €36m cash injection to stave off cuts in services.
Hourly train services were introduced on some routes during the boom following massive investment in rail infrastructure. New trains and carriages were rolled out on routes linking Dublin with the other cities.
However, faced with a huge cash crisis, Irish Rail has been forced to look at cutting some mainline rail services from next year at times when there is little usage.
"In view of the impact of the ongoing economic recession on our business, we have to examine the level of demand for our train services on all routes at all different times of the day and week," the company said yesterday.
"Where there are trains that are greatly under-utilised, it may be necessary for us to amend the schedules accordingly," it added.
The company first has to get approval for any timetable changes from the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Expanding
"We also intend to publish any draft schedules on our website, and invite our customers to give us feedback as part of a public consultation on the proposed schedules," said Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny.
"Where timetable changes are authorised by the NTA, we would then give advance notice to the public before implementing any changes to the timetable."
Decisions on which services will be cut have yet to be made. However, Mr Kenny said that the company did not anticipate any changes for the remainder of 2012.
And he stressed that part of the review was to examine if there was scope for expanding services on routes where demand is still very strong.
The news comes as Bus Eireann yesterday announced a new non-stop coach service between Cork and Dublin in partnership with private coach operator GoBus.
Operating under a new GoBe brand, the joint venture is offering a three-hour, non-stop service from Cork to Dublin city and Dublin Airport starting next Monday.
Starting at 00.30am in Cork and 6am at Dublin Airport, there will be 15 services daily in each direction and they will include free WiFi and on-board toilet facilities.
Promotional fares of €20 return between the two cities and €25 to Dublin Airport will be offered online and a Bus Eireann spokesman said the pricing structure would be reviewed within a couple of months.
Bus Eireann already operates a coach service between Dublin and Cork for around €21 return, but the spokesman stressed this was not non-stop.
But he declined to comment on the fact that the new service would be in direct competition for customers with its sister-company, Irish Rail, where fares between both cities can range from €40 to more than €70 return, depending on when the booking is made.
- Treacy Hogan Environment Correspondent
Irish Independent
So what is this about?

My first reaction is that this is Irish Rail-CIE doing what it usually does, indeed what government does. Incomes falling, raise fares. I posted about this circle of fun in the subvention thread this summer. They have realised they cant do it, it will lead to massive collapse and migration of passengers (who exist) to other forms of transport. Bonehead reaction number two is this - reduce services. Doing this will have the same result. I am a bit perplexed at Mr Kenny's, and Mr Hogan's thinking in this. I am wondering which services they think are doing very strongly, which will, it is hinted, get the trains being cut from very poorly performing services.

Lets look at this a more more closely. The article mentions Fuel prices. It also, paradoxicaly, mentions compitition from buses and cars which use the same fuel, so it cant be just that. A handy blame though. It mentions Buses. The routes which are in direct compititon with buses - intercity - would be Galway, Cork, Limerick, Wexford. Yet the first article mentions the Sligo line getting a cut. If that rationale is follwed through which route is safe? Meanwhile, the Captain is organising the Titanic to have cheap new leather covers on arse-numbing seats in First Class.

This whole thing just shows that, now matter what spin Irish Rail have put on things in the last 10 years, nothing culturally has changed in there. You cannot polish a turd, but you can roll it around in glitter. This sort of behaviour, and dont bet on the WRC or the Alan Kelly specials getting the chop here, has to stop. Whilst getting every seat to pay its way is important, this doesnt mean that you reduce the fleet to only a few thousand seats every day. What you are supposed to do is attract customers. How you do that by flagging price increases and reduced services is something that only those in IE managment seem to know. For the rest of us, they and their services are fast becoming a thing of the past. They have been sold short by their lack of vision and ambition, sadly so have the passengers.

When Bus Eireann starts trashing the Cork-Dublin "express" in the way that they will now proceed to do, you know you are truly doomed.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 16:26   #10
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Note that this piece is by Treacy Hogan of the Indo: a not very reliable journalist writing for a not very reliable sensationalist newspaper. Some of the piece is a re-hash of what the same journo wrote a month or two ago. His incoherence on the implications of rising fuel costs is well spotted.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 16:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACustomer View Post
Note that this piece is by Treacy Hogan of the Indo: a not very reliable journalist writing for a not very reliable sensationalist newspaper. Some of the piece is a re-hash of what the same journo wrote a month or two ago. His incoherence on the implications of rising fuel costs is well spotted.
Not to mention the 36million euro. This article states that it was for IE but it went to CIE as a whole. And it's not clear how much, if any, of it went to IE. And typically the article attracted a large number of anti-IE comments.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 17:47   #12
James Howard
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I would tend to ignore that article - it was completely riddled with errors. The rising fuel costs argument is dumb - this is also a source of demand. Rising fuels costs have now got to the point where it is cheaper for me to buy a family day return to Dublin than buy fuel and tolls for our thirsty people carrier. Taking the train is also a lot easier than driving for city centre stuff.

Here follows a bit of a tome, but this is how I believe Irish Rail should be dealing with this by stimulating demand rather than gutting demand for marginal savings. It is a bit tilted towards the Sligo line but most of the points apply elsewhere.

Like the rest of the public service, the problem with cutting services is that they massively impact the public while only having a marginal impact on costs. The vast majority of cost comes from the army of extremely generously paid staff and these need to be paid whether or not they are operating services. Redundancy is a poor option due to massive costs involved.

Unlike the rest of the public service, reducing the service has a consequent impact on revenue. The marginal saving from the service cost (largely fuel) is usually going to be more than offset by the consequent reduction in revenue.

Irish Rail have two major sources of revenue (commuters and leisure travel). The mythical business traveller doesn't really exist and isn't terribly worth worrying about. They need to be concentrating on improving revenue from these people in particular. Things that would help for me as a commuter would be
  1. Throw us some sort of a bone on car-parking. The €2 per week Louth idea seems fair. I know for a fact that 4 people from Edgeworthstown swtiched to a car-pool when the parking came in. This alone represents a loss of nearly 14k annual revenue.
  2. Add a later service from Dublin. A 21:05 to Longford stopping in Drumcondra, Clonsilla and possibly Leixlip Louisa Bridge would allow them to cover hospitals and Intel if that lined up with their shift changeover. With proper marketing and maybe shuttle busses, it should be possible to line up a hundred nurses from the major city hospitals to stops between Mullingar and Longford.
  3. Make everything going beyond Maynooth a 22k ideally with no stops apart from possibly Drumcondra and maybe Clonsilla.

I wouldn't be so hot on the requirements for leisure travellers but I would guess that cost is huge part. Things I could see helping here are
  1. Enable universal online booking - close station offices if necessary to pay for it. This would enable proper demand management and allow them to drive traffic towards poorly used services.
  2. Allow unlimited daily Dublin Bus and/or Luas daily tickets to be added onto day return tickets for a nominal fee. I take the family up to Dublin on a family day return occasionally and it is a real pain to have to buy a full-price luas or bus ticket. A tenner for either bus/luas and 15 for both would sound reasonable on a family ticket.
  3. Work with major venues to allow rail tickets to be tacked onto concert or match ticket purchases. This would give them enormously helpful marketing information in terms of determining the demand for specials for major events in addition to gaining extra sales.
  4. Make more use of Drumcondra for Sligo trains. The Mater is major source of leisure journeys for visits and it is a lot shorter walk/taxi from Drumcondra.
  5. More localised marketing pushing the cost savings - it is cheaper to buy a family day return than it is to pay for fuel, tolls and parking for a car. Use the local press more - everybody in Longford sees the Leader while only a fraction see the Irish Times.
  6. Earlier weekend up-trains from Longford wouldn't hurt. You can't get to Connolly before 10am on a Saturday. This alone has resulted in my family not taking about 15 trips (2 people each) this year as we cannot get up in time for classes at DCU and for charity meetings.
  7. A later evening train for commuters would probably help move leisure demand after the morning rush. It would be nice to have a leisurely meal after a day's shopping or traipsing the kids round the museums rather than having to dash for the 19:05 train.
  8. Establish some sort of system for cheaper point-to-point fares down the line. It is ludicrous that it always costs around 8 euro return from Longford to Edgeworthstown. Maybe this makes sense at peak times (I doubt it) but there are never offers for this. I takes this journey (presenting my pass for the Taxsaver discount) a few times a year and the staff usually laugh at me for not dodging the fare. You never get a 10 euro Mullingar to Sligo day return fare. Why not? It's not like Irish Rail are going to get 10 euro for the seat any other way. In the up-direction, the 10 euro return could probably easily be sold for twice that.

For both groups, another major issue on the Sligo line is the drop-off on demand beyond Longford. There would probably be two or three trains a week than need more than three cars after Longford. It would make a lot of sense to split a 2x3 at the crossing point (usually Edgeworthstown) rather than sending 6 mostly empty cars onto Sligo. Longford might make more sense for this due to longer platforms. They could either send the extra 3 cars back joined to the up train, use it to increase Longford - Dublin frequency or just park it up to save fuel and maintenance.

And again, more offers down the line might stoke up some demand from intermediate points. Despite living within 10 miles of Edgeworthstown for most of my life, I've never been further down the line than Longford and I am about 10 times more disposed to the train than the average punter.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 19:42   #13
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Personally I think a shuttle bus linking Edgeworthstown station to Edgeworthstown, Granard and surrounds (and possibly Abbeylara) could work.

The fact that Edgeworthstown is where the trains cross would mean that each journey of the shuttle bus would generally be linking to/from two trains creating a wider variety of journey opportunities.

Such a bus could be flexibly routed in parts to best serve the catchment area.

There needs to be better connectivity between provincial rail stations and their catchment towns and villages by public transport.

It's no exaggeration that the journey by public transport from the likes of Cavan town and Ballinagh to Dublin would often be accomplished quicker and more punctually if there was a shuttle bus to Edgeworthstown railway station linking into the train. The Express bus from Donegal to Dublin through Cavan is frequently 15/20 minutes late in my experience (due it seems to an unrealistic and in part unattainable daytime schedule) whereas the local 109 route can lose significant time between traffic, frequent stops and high loadings (dwell times of 10-15 minutes in Navan are not unheard of).
The route 111 from Ballinagh takes 2 hours 50 minutes to Dublin and includes a change of coach and ten minute wait at Athboy.

I'm not having a go at Bus Éireann here as traffic is an external issue but just pointing out that in some cases creating and or reconfiguring publically-funded bus routes to feed into the rail system may be a much more effective use of scarce public monies and result in a more coherent and better used public transport system.

Last edited by Traincustomer : 30-08-2012 at 19:43. Reason: typo
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Unread 30-08-2012, 20:19   #14
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I takes this journey (presenting my pass for the Taxsaver discount) a few times a year and the staff usually laugh at me for not dodging the fare.
You aren't allowed a Taxsaver discount at the station, has to be booked online!
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Unread 30-08-2012, 20:44   #15
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It's really surreal, especially as NIR, who are facing their own funding issues, have adopted the opposite strategy in their attempts to cope with the downturn.

Earlier this week, they announced plans to significantly expand services with longer trains and better frequencies. They are even planning a hourly service from Belfast to Coleraine.

They are also continuing to expand their empire of park and ride facilities, offering free car parking for railway customers.

Unlike Iarnrod Eireann, they also have been undertaking various minor works which will increase journey times or passenger comfort. They are quietly resignalling the Larne commuter line at the moment and they have also extended many of their platforms to take longer trains over the past 18 months.

They have also been trying to minimise their fares. Their strategy seems to be working better - passenger numbers rose by 3% last year.
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Unread 30-08-2012, 21:45   #16
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In the good years Irish Rail was running at 5-12% in a year

2006 vs 2007 the Irish Rail increase was over 5million which was not far off the entire passenger carrying on NIR for 2007
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Unread 30-08-2012, 23:22   #17
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For anyone interested the draft timetable for Heuston should be out around 15 October, not sure if Connolly will be the same or if they will see any changes other than Sligo services.
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Unread 31-08-2012, 06:10   #18
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Staff already have info on the changes
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Unread 31-08-2012, 07:15   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Ralph View Post
You aren't allowed a Taxsaver discount at the station, has to be booked online!
That's odd because they have given me the discount.

Maybe it is available at stations where booking isn't possible. You can't book from Longford even though there is a ticket machine - or at least every time I've tried booking everything comes up as not reservable.
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Unread 31-08-2012, 07:25   #20
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Quote:
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Personally I think a shuttle bus linking Edgeworthstown station to Edgeworthstown, Granard and surrounds (and possibly Abbeylara) could work.
That would be an excellent idea particularly if they could make it all payable in the one ticket. Another possibility would be to run something like Granard - Edgeworthstown - Athlone Station which enable a stack of other options but you would then need two buses.

Such a bus would be very attractive to commuters. In my case, I could probably park a bike in Carrickboy and save myself 400 euro per year in parking charges and possibly get away without running a second car. I would have no bother paying at least 500 quid a year for this service - which would be 1000 if in the taxsaver scheme.

It would probably need to be a minibus though which is something that Bus Eireann aren't terribly good at running. But there is an existing North Longford community transport scheme that could possibly run that.
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