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Unread 14-05-2013, 19:07   #1
Jamie2k9
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Default Dublin-Belfast Rail Passengers "plummet"

http://www.herald.ie/news/fears-for-...-29266005.html

Quote:
Brendan White 14 May 2013 02:00 PM

THE Dublin to Belfast rail service is facing "death by a thousand cuts" and needs a 520m investment, it has been claimed.
Plummeting passenger numbers have caused fears for the viability of the service.


A new report, by the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland, shows that 740,000 journeys are now made on the city-link a year down 213,000 from 10 years ago.
And it warns the line will need an investment of 520m over the next 12 years.
The proposals include at least six high-speed electric trains and a track upgrade from Belfast to the border to permit speeds of 125mph.

Bridge
Stewart Dickson, of the Regional Development Committee, said: "The cross-border rail service is really falling behind in terms of competition from the new road.
"There is a strong argument for saying we should get European investment, but unless we can get that, it is not viable and we will just see the death of the Belfast to Dublin railway by a thousand cuts."
The report says that the 22pc decline in North-South train commuters is the result of a series of factors, including improved road services and the economic crash.
Another reason is the collapse of the Malahide bridge in 2009, when a replacement bus service was in place between Drogheda and Dublin.
Politicians in the North say it is "extremely worrying".
But the CEO of the Dublin City Business Association believes that the decline in passengers using the Dublin-Belfast rail line will have little effect on businesses in the capital.
"I see it as a positive rather than a negative," David Brennan said. "My concerns are for how it may affect retailers in Dublin but I see it making only a very small difference to them."
Irish Rail was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press
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Unread 15-05-2013, 00:08   #2
Inniskeen
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Surprised the decline isn't more severe given the miserably slow journey times, lack of frequency, the Malahide viaduct debacle, the economic recession and the dramatically improved road infrastructure.

Similar or sharper declines have occurred on Irish Rail routes.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 01:25   #3
Jamie2k9
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I agree,

Passenger numbers compared between 2007 and 2011 (2030 Rail Report)
Galway down 609,000
Cork down 576,000
Waterford down 280,000
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Unread 15-05-2013, 08:30   #4
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Please compare like with like: the decline on the Belfast was 22% over 10 years; the decline on Galway, Cork and Waterford routes was over 4 years, and the numbers quoted are almost meaningless as we don't know the base from which the decline occurred, i.e. what is the percentage decline?
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Unread 15-05-2013, 10:32   #5
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This decline is hardly surprising in addition to the economic downturn, the motorway system has improved, added to car parking charges in addition to the rail fare. I've just priced a return fare (online) from Maynooth to Sligo, the total charge is 31.00, I will also pay 6 for carparking. This is a no brainer, as I can drive to and from Sligo for 30 (small car), it will be quicker than the train and my car will not be at risk in the carpark of Maynooth Station overnight.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 10:42   #6
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I agree all the way. Dublin-Belfast needs a TGV high speed idea between the two cities. The entire country needs electric high speed trains with upgraded track. Dublin to Wexford M11/N11 motorways and dual carriageways are beating the trains by about one hour traveling time. Now with plans in last weeks Gorey Guardian the section of single N11 road at the Beehive to Jack whites will be upgraded to motorway road knocking 10min travel time again. I don't see how the train will keep up unless it gets investment...
I took the 11.35 Dublin Gorey train on Monday 6th May and it took 2hours just to Gorey that's ridiculous. It just appeared on the IR website that this 11.35 was actually operating and with no advertising of course it was waste of money to operate it that Monday passengers didn't know again this is ridiculous.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 10:51   #7
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TGV is probably a bit OTT as it would require completely new lines. 125mph/200kph for Cork-Dublin and Dublin-Belfast should be the focus as that is achievable by upgrade of existing lines. That would also benefit Dublin-Kerry/Limerick/Galway/Mayo/Waterford.

Once done, look at Portarlington to Athlone. Get those sections up to 125mph and coaches (and to a lesser extent car, which always benefits from immediate departure) are a much less attractive option.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 11:06   #8
Inniskeen
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From 2008 to 2011, Dublin/Cork (excluding Dublin/Kildare) fell 19%, Dublin/Galway 36%, Dublin/Sligo (excluding (Dublin/Maynooth) 8.5%, Dublin/Waterford 15.5%, Dublin/Belfast (excluding Dublin/Drogheda) 24%.

Overall in 2011, excluding DART, routes to/from Heuston accounted for around 37.5% of total journeys on Irish Rail, to/from Connolly northbound 31%, to/from Connolly westbound 25.5%, to/from Connolly southbound 2.8%.

By far the most densely trafficked line is the Belfast line with significantly more revenue per mile than any other route.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 11:14   #9
Jamie2k9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSW View Post
I agree all the way. Dublin-Belfast needs a TGV high speed idea between the two cities. The entire country needs electric high speed trains with upgraded track. Dublin to Wexford M11/N11 motorways and dual carriageways are beating the trains by about one hour traveling time. Now with plans in last weeks Gorey Guardian the section of single N11 road at the Beehive to Jack whites will be upgraded to motorway road knocking 10min travel time again. I don't see how the train will keep up unless it gets investment...
I took the 11.35 Dublin Gorey train on Monday 6th May and it took 2hours just to Gorey that's ridiculous. It just appeared on the IR website that this 11.35 was actually operating and with no advertising of course it was waste of money to operate it that Monday passengers didn't know again this is ridiculous.
It was a Bank Hoilday schedule so it would of being in the special timetable?
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Unread 15-05-2013, 12:59   #10
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Inniskeen: your numbers raise an interesting point. The Sligo route, which had numbers falling by 8.5% has had its service reduced in the recent timetable revision. The Galway route (down by 36%) has had an increase in services.

Can anyone explain?
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Unread 15-05-2013, 14:05   #11
Thomas J Stamp
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we have done the enterprise situation to death over the years, the problems all remain, and no matter what sensible solution you come up with there will always be some red herring - capacity at connolly being such a long standing one - to be flung in your direction.

We have been at meetings with IBEC, with their NI equivilant, the NI Partnership and the two rail operators. The only things on the horizon were, and still are:

1. Reliability. This was suppsoed to be fixed by solving the failing engines. It appears this solution, introduced at christmas, is failing.

2. Frequency. This is the proposed hourly schedule. It was to rely on the deployment of Mark3 stock, currently mothballed for that purpose and awaiting total refurbishment. They dont have the money for it though.

By the time they do, it will be almost 30 years since the current enterprise stock was commissioned. It will also, by coincidence, be almost time for the mark4 Cork stock to get a major makeover. Its getting fairly tatty as it is. Perhaps a tender for a common stock for both lines, capable of 125 operation, will be in order. It will mean that for intercity purposes IE will only have two types of stock, 22K and this stuff. they could make some money flogging that stock off, maybe.

As for track replacement ect, it may happen then, hell you may get it electrified. Dont hold your breath but its fair to say that the operators both know that they only have one chance to get this right, but they cannot leave it too long.

Of course there is no train in before 9am in either direction. Thats where the red herring comes in, causing wheelslip I'd imagine.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 14:53   #12
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Quote:
1. Reliability. This was suppsoed to be fixed by solving the failing engines. It appears this solution, introduced at christmas, is failing.
EGV's are due back full time in June. No problems when the loco is pulling but its the DVT that is causing issues.

Quote:
2. Frequency. This is the proposed hourly schedule. It was to rely on the deployment of Mark3 stock, currently mothballed for that purpose and awaiting total refurbishment. They dont have the money for it though.
Is an hourly schedule needed, I see no reason why hourly each way in mornings and two hourly outside this.

They should be looking towards a schedule like this:
Belfast-Dublin
6.15, 7.15, 8.15, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 20.00
Dublin-Belfast
6.30, 7.30, 8.30, 10.30, 12.30, 14.30, 16.30, 17.30, 18.30, 20.30

Quote:
Inniskeen: your numbers raise an interesting point. The Sligo route, which had numbers falling by 8.5% has had its service reduced in the recent timetable revision. The Galway route (down by 36%) has had an increase in services.

Can anyone explain?
One would hope that 2012 figures started to button out. I can't see how IE see a case to add extra services to Galway in fact they should be reduced.

Revenue per passenger must be very high to justify 9 daily services while numbers have dropped almost 40% when the route has less services.

If numbers have not picked up over the last while on the 18.30 I will be surprised if it stays for 2014 schedules.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 15:18   #13
Mark Gleeson
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Dublin Belfast could support an hourly service, thats what the numbers and research says

Irish Rail's passenger numbers have been stable at around 37 million for a number of years. So there has to be growth somewhere or else all these numbers are rubbish

Sligo achieved close to 40% growth over 5 years between the end of the Mk2 era and the 2 hourly ICR service, so 8% drop needs to be taken in context.

Dublin Belfast always has been a mess and passenger numbers are down compared to the glory days of 2000-2008 where overcrowding was routine.

All these numbers are subject to debate as to how passengers are assigned to each route
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Unread 15-05-2013, 15:29   #14
Jamie2k9
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Quote:
Dublin Belfast could support an hourly service, thats what the numbers and research says
That may be the case but its like saying that Cork can support an hourly service when it can't. Take all Limerick and Kerry passengers away + passengers who would use stops that all 3 services if operating use and there is no way an hourly service could be justified. If all commuter traffic was taken out of the Belfast numbers then we have to ask if that can support and make money with an hourly service with point to point traffic as that whats most important.

As you say the numbers leave a lot to be debated and how the research was done.

Last edited by Jamie2k9 : 15-05-2013 at 15:34.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 15:47   #15
Thomas J Stamp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
EGV's are due back full time in June. No problems when the loco is pulling but its the DVT that is causing issues.



Is an hourly schedule needed, I see no reason why hourly each way in mornings and two hourly outside this.

They should be looking towards a schedule like this:
Belfast-Dublin
6.15, 7.15, 8.15, 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00, 20.00
Dublin-Belfast
6.30, 7.30, 8.30, 10.30, 12.30, 14.30, 16.30, 17.30, 18.30, 20.30



I wasnt going into detail on the Mark3 Gen Van / HEP issue as its too technical. In summary though, one can say that it seems to be beyond the capabilities of IE given the length of time it took to bring about and how long it is taking to sort out.

As for the timetable, with all due respect to Cork, a Dublin-Belfast rail service could easily be hourly and we were lead to believe that it would be welcomed and endorsed by the business community of both cities. Its too capitals we're talking about here, with, for example, all the attendant Civil Service infrastructure. They are also a good deal nearer.

Also, both companies say there is a latend demand, and this is backed up by the other stakeholders we have spoken to and mentioned above.

In relation to the Cork Hourly Service, that is another thing entirely.
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Unread 15-05-2013, 17:28   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie2k9 View Post
That may be the case but its like saying that Cork can support an hourly service when it can't. Take all Limerick and Kerry passengers away + passengers who would use stops that all 3 services if operating use and there is no way an hourly service could be justified.
But those stops are there, so it can be supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACustomer View Post
Inniskeen: your numbers raise an interesting point. The Sligo route, which had numbers falling by 8.5% has had its service reduced in the recent timetable revision. The Galway route (down by 36%) has had an increase in services.

Can anyone explain?
One of the problems with the Sligo route was the lack of suitable passing places from Maynooth to Mullingar, which caused a lot of problems to evening services if a train was out of place. Removing one of the evening services to Dublin solved that.

There is of course, the matter of whether the previous service level was appropriate on each line - Sligo might have been over-served relative to Galway.
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Unread 17-10-2013, 20:32   #17
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If a train could go from Cork to Belfast Northern Ireland shopping excursions would more than make up the shortfall all it would take is an upgrade to the tunnel under the phoenix park .
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Unread 18-10-2013, 05:53   #18
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No upgrade would be required to run such a service - an ICR would do the job nicely. Don't believe there is any interest though, certainly not from Irish Rail or the NTA. Can't imagine a flood of shoppers in current conditions but there should be sufficient business/tourist traffic for at least a token service of perhaps two trains a day in each direction.

Don't hold your breathe though !
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Unread 18-10-2013, 08:24   #19
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Who wants a 5 hour journey? Its been tried and failed before. Not exactly going to work for a day trip at 80 euro a head return

Can't fly from Cork to Belfast either, was tried failed
Can't fly from Cork to Dublin, tried Ryanair gave up after Irish Rail slashed prices

The demand is not there and history will tell you the demand has nearly always been from the Northern side not the South
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Unread 18-10-2013, 11:18   #20
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The only way it will happen is if Irish Rail can get their hands on some EU cash to make it happen.

As others have said, you would need to take at least an hour off that journey time to make it attractive.
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