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Unread 10-03-2010, 21:51   #1
Traincustomer
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Default Closure on the cards. A wanton throwaway of an asset whose potential is being ignored

From this week's Wexford People

IT WON'T be long before the whistle blows for the last time on the Rosslare to Waterford train.

Iarnród Éireann has confirmed that it is considering ending services on the line, to save money.

In a letter to Labour T.D., Brendan Howlin, the District Manager in Waterford Emmet Cotter said the line has experienced 'very low patronage' for years.

Approximately 25 passengers travel on it every day, with revenue making up only 2% of operating costs. The closure would generate 'substantial cost savings', he said.

The sugar beet industry previously helped the line to remain viable but that came to an end in 2006.

Mr. Cotter blamed a reduction in the Government's subvention to Iarnrod Eireann for the company having to consider closing the Rosslare-Waterford line which also serves the villages of Rosslare Strand, Bridgetown, Wellingtonbridge, Ballycullane and Campile.

He said the company is currently surveying customers on the route to establish their origin and destination; is discussing the possibility of re-deployment or voluntary severance with staff, and examining possible alternative services which could be provided to customers.

'A decision on the continuation of existing services on the route is expected to be made within weeks, following these actions,' he said.

He revealed that Iarnrod Eireann would explore the possibility of establishing a 'heritage railway' on the route, to benefit tourism.

Fianna Fail Deputy Seán Connick, having been in contact with both Irish Rail and the Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, has said the service 'could be in danger of closing in the near future'.

Deputy Connick said that the future of the line was first put into doubt with the publication of the An Bord Snip Nua report of last year, which advocated the closure of a number of lightly used rail services, including the Rosslare-Waterford line.

'The Rosslare-Waterford railway line has the potential to be an important link between south Wexford and Waterford City,' said the Fianna Fáil TD.

'Unfortunately this line has never been developed properly and has never reached its potential to be a viable alternative source of transport for people working or studying in Waterford. The current service has only one train a day in either direction.

'The train from Waterford to Rosslare leaves the station in Waterford at 5:20 p.m. This would not give anyone studying in WIT or working in the city centre sufficient time to get the train to travel home,' said the New Ross-based TD.

'This means that Irish Rail's own timetable is the biggest impediment to the development of the Rosslare-Waterford railway line.'

Deputy Connick said he has been in correspondence with both the Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and officials from Irish Rail about the rail service, but it seems his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, Wexford Borough Councillor Joe Ryan (Lab), who has been fighting to save the railway line, said he was 'very disenchanted' with Iarnrod Eireann management. 'The line has potential but Iarnrod Eireann isn't interested,' he said.

Cllr. Ryan said the cost of taxi fares in 2009, to return staff to Waterford was over €30,000.

'Iarnrod Eireann had the chance of running the train back to Waterford to avoid the transport cost. They also had the option of using a Wexford-based crew.

Deputy Howlin was due to raise the issue during an Adjournment Debate in Dail Eireann last night (Tuesday).

- Maria PEPPER and Conor CULLEN
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Unread 10-03-2010, 22:47   #2
Thomas J Stamp
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all the staples are there: run a railway at times that suit no one and then watch it fail, still good to see they will run it as a heritage line (yes, that was sarcasm)

"alternative methods" = Bus.

disgrace.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 08:25   #3
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Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
"alternative methods" = Bus.
Which ends up getting cancelled eventually anyway.

The bus service that was put in place to replace the Mallow-Waterford line when it closed is one of those shelved in the recent round of cuts. Give it enough time and the same thing will be done in Wexford.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 11:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
all the staples are there: run a railway at times that suit no one and then watch it fail, still good to see they will run it as a heritage line (yes, that was sarcasm)

"alternative methods" = Bus.

disgrace.
Is that the limit of Railusers Ireland response? If so it's easy to see why RUI are regarded as Palerail by many.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 18:43   #5
Mark Gleeson
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There is a legal consultation period before IE can do anything.

We have a defined policy on regional routes and naturally will only make a formal statement once the committee has met and discussed the matter. Its not the first time this issue has arisen however we need to determine how real this is first.
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Unread 12-03-2010, 03:25   #6
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The other problem with the "replacement" service is that it doesn't appear on the IE timetable since it's a BE service, so what little feed trickles through onto the rest of the network disappears because it's not convenient for casual browsers to make connections.

That said, I looked at the route in Google Maps and it's one field after another and not even a bullet straight route like Glounthaune-Youghal at that, instead winding along with plenty of LCs and the opening Barrow bridge to be maintained.

Ironically, one of the things IE blame for not being able to run later is that the 1720 ex Waterford is crewed from Waterford, and the bus from Rosslare they get back to base leaves at 1900. If it left 15-20 minutes later, it could pick up trade from the 1933 arrival ex Heuston as well as those still trying to get across the river from where most people work. That would mean the crew would miss their bus... or Bus Eireann could be asked to delay their service by 15 minutes. Nah, that would violate Mary Harney's precious competition between rail and bus.

At the very least IE should be leaned on to redirect that equipment to Carlow for a commuter service - it's a bit ridiculous that there's no arrival from that side into Waterford before 0945.
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Unread 13-03-2010, 01:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp
all the staples are there: run a railway at times that suit no one and then watch it fail, still good to see they will run it as a heritage line (yes, that was sarcasm)

"alternative methods" = Bus.

disgrace.
Let's examine the alternative arrangements:

1. Bus

So the bus it is then.

I have looked at trying to travel between the two towns when I'm in the area, but surprise surprise the times don't suit.

IE have a fair point when they say it's a loss-making line, but that could be said of many routes across the country. They can't close them all.
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Unread 13-03-2010, 10:37   #8
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Let's examine the alternative arrangements:

1. Bus

So the bus it is then.

I have looked at trying to travel between the two towns when I'm in the area, but surprise surprise the times don't suit.

IE have a fair point when they say it's a loss-making line, but that could be said of many routes across the country. They can't close them all.
IE do not have a fair point - there's not a line in the country that doesn't lose money so perhaps the entire system should close down??
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Unread 13-03-2010, 11:01   #9
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Default [Article] Waterford to Rosslare rail line could close

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0312/rail1.html
Quote:
Waterford to Rosslare rail line could close
watch Friday, 12 March 2010 20:34

Iarnród Éireann has confirmed it is considering closing the Waterford to Rosslare rail line.

A spokesperson told RTÉ News this afternoon that a decision will be made within the next few weeks.

The spokesperson added that revenue only covers 2% of the cost of keeping the line open.

The line runs between Waterford city and Rosslare port, with trains stopping at towns and villages in south Wexford. It has been in operation since 1906.

There is currently a morning commuter service from Rosslare to Waterford, with a return service in the evening.

Iarnród Éireann is surveying remaining passengers regarding alternative arrangements and said that workers will be offered either a transfer or a severance package.

Wexford Labour Cllr Joe Ryan said Iarnród Éireann is failing the people of south Wexford abysmally.

He said: 'When they introduced a commuter service to Waterford from Wexford they made no effort to promote the service in the local media.

'To undermine the viability of the service, they rostered a Waterford crew on the service and as a consequence taxi bills for returning crews from Rosslare Harbour to Waterford exceeded revenues generated by the commuter service.'
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Unread 13-03-2010, 18:35   #10
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Plumb - the reality is that they get a subsidy to keep the lines open but they have undoubtedly been told by Finance that tough times are ahead.

However, if BE ever pulled off a route that money could be made from, Citylink or Aircoach or somebody would have the option of applying to operate it. Obviously not the case for IE with the exception of someone being mad enough to buy some 1600mm stock and start an ROI-NI service (and negotiate for slots and station access).

IE are in the position of competing against the road companies (and to a limited extent Ryanair/Aer Arann) which makes publishing financial data tricky but holding a total monopoly position over the use of publicly-owned infrastructure. This is why it's an imperative to disengage operations from network, so that the network operator can maintain the trackage to a standard irrespective of whether it's useful to IE or not.
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Unread 13-03-2010, 23:57   #11
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Is that the limit of Railusers Ireland response? If so it's easy to see why RUI are regarded as Palerail by many.
how could you in any way think my sarcastic post was in any way RUIs response? I mean, i even put the word sarcasm up just in case.

we have on many many times pointed out that the only place you'll see the official policy on anything is on the main site. this is a discussion board, nothing else.

as for pailrail, i for one couldnt care less what the hurlers on the ditch think of us. we do things, they dont.
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Unread 14-03-2010, 10:54   #12
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The Tribune - which is generally on the ball on railway matters - is reporting that the entire Limerick Junction - Rosslare section is being earmarked for closure along with the Nenagh branch.

It seems some secret deal has been trashed out between CIE and the department - they'll close Waterford-Rosslare now and then kill off the other two lines at some point in the near future.

The story isn't online yet but it's on page 2 of their printed edition.
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Unread 14-03-2010, 12:29   #13
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This is the price which will be paid for the Ennis-Athenry line.

As always crude political pressures come out on top.
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Unread 14-03-2010, 13:04   #14
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You would be amazed, I did the numbers

Waterford-Rosslare per year approx 2.4-2.6million

WRC 2.5 million

Hmmm
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Unread 14-03-2010, 13:19   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas J Stamp View Post
how could you in any way think my sarcastic post was in any way RUIs response? I mean, i even put the word sarcasm up just in case.

we have on many many times pointed out that the only place you'll see the official policy on anything is on the main site. this is a discussion board, nothing else.

as for pailrail, i for one couldnt care less what the hurlers on the ditch think of us. we do things, they dont.
I've just had a look at the main site and some rubbish about ticketing comes up when you click on Waterford/Rosslare closure - very professional. Now I see you have something up under latest news which I will read before posting again.

Last edited by PLUMB LOCO : 14-03-2010 at 13:21.
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Unread 14-03-2010, 22:36   #16
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I note that if someone wanted to book Limerick-Ballybrophy-Dublin Heuston to bump up their numbers, the booking program doesn't offer those journeys. Interesting...

When Athenry was disconnected, the line was left open as far as Ennis which despite a desperately slow line developed into a half-decent commuter service. IE should be instructed that on no account will they be allowed close the entire Nenagh Branch.

What they should be permitted to do is disconnect Nenagh-Ballybrophy on the understanding that the timetable be recast to reflect the current rail relay and replacement of any remaining jointed rail, with the objective of getting the current 62 minute timing down to something near the 50 minutes the 0745 Nenagh-Henry St bus takes. If more passengers can be attracted in Nenagh by a faster train than would be otherwise forgone, discontinue Birdhill (BE already serves Birdhill on the aforementioned 0745) and save a couple of minutes and some diesel on slowing down/accelerating there.
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Unread 14-03-2010, 22:48   #17
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heres the sunday tribune's piece
http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news...on-collision-/

Quote:
Rail closure plans set FF and Greens on collision course
Ken Griffin

IARNRÓD éireann's plans to embark on its first railway closures since the 1970s look set to cause a further rift between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.


Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe has indicated that his party will oppose the closures, which will sever direct railway links between the country's main southern population centres.


If the plans go ahead in full, rail passengers from Waterford would have to go via Dublin to reach Cork, Limerick and Wexford.


The company confirmed last week it was considering shutting the Waterford-Rosslare line but the Sunday Tribune has learned that the company has also held talks with the Department of Transport regarding the closure of the Waterford-Limerick line and the Nenagh commuter branch.


These lines will close if the company fails in its attempts to "explore lower-cost operations and maintain services".


The plan has the support of the department but the Greens are concerned by the plans with Cuffe telling the Sunday Tribune that the lines played an important role in the party vision of providing a comprehensive railway service.


"Any change to the rail network must be done on the basis of sound social, environmental and economic analysis. Routes that are currently under-used may benefit from improved timetables, rosters and marketing."


Iarnród éireann's plans are likely to meet opposition from rail campaigners, who accuse it of deliberately undermining the financial viability of lines that it wants to close.


This newspaper has learned that railway services on the Waterford-Rosslare line are now so poor that Iarnród éireann spent €30,000 on taxi fares in 2009 to ferry staff between the two locations.


A company spokesman said the suspension of services on the Waterford-Rosslare line would generate substantial cost savings.


"The line serves areas with very low populations," he said.


Fine Gael transport spokesman Fergus O'Dowd said the issue would be top of his party's agenda once the Dáil resumed after the St Patrick's Day break.


"I am concerned that the Green Party could be a party to the closure of transport services which reduce carbon emissions," he said.


He said he was shocked to learn of the talks between Iarnród Éireann and the Department of Transport.


"It's a joke. They seem to think they are unaccountable to the travelling public and the Dáil," said O'Dowd.

March 14, 2010
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Unread 14-03-2010, 22:52   #18
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FG going on about emissions but in fairness, if IE are operating a 2700 (2-car, not a 2750) over the line, that's 84 tonnes and 117 seats to carry not many people - the passenger/km emissions numbers must be substantial compared to a bus with the same load.
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Unread 15-03-2010, 20:06   #19
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I'd like to make a gentle prediction that 90% of the people who will call for these lines not to be closed won't have actually travelled on them in the last 2 years.

Last Autumn we were visiting a friend in Waterford and took the train from Limerick. It was absolutely woeful. My wife nearly got sick from the ride of the train, and I was feeling fairly ropey too by the time we reached Waterford. It is difficult to describe the snail's pace that this train travels at -- it just feels sort of humiliating. There I was, someone who is generally in favour of rail transport, crawling along watching cars whizzing past on the N24, feeling rotten.

Haven't been between Waterford and Rosslare recently, but I assume it's the same. Went to Nenagh last year and that trip was also completely rotten.

Coming back from Waterford on the bus (it was a Sunday) was a much better experience. We even had a snooze -- not something you'd manage on the train unless you had serious narcoleptic tendencies! I can honestly say that anyone travelling from Limerick to Waterford would be better off getting the bus -- even if there wasn't an interminable wait at the Junction.

CIE/IE have been trying to close these lines for over 30 years. Have a look back at the Oireachtas archive and you'll see countless arguments against their closure.

Those arguments have won the day, for now. But keeping railway lines open because they look good on the map isn't helping anyone if the service is slow, uncomfortable and depressing.

Having said that, the best thing that IE could have done for these train lines is leak that they want to close them. Because that's the only time they ever get discussed. Who knows, one of these days we'll move beyond "don't close" and have a real discussion in this country about what we want those lines on a map to be for.

PS Plumb Loco - your response seems a little over the top there -- all Thomas Stamp was doing was commenting on how IE have been wilfully trying to close the line through poor service -- the same criticism that I presume you would make yourself...
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Unread 15-03-2010, 21:24   #20
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I'd like to make a gentle prediction that 90% of the people who will call for these lines not to be closed won't have actually travelled on them in the last 2 years.
I have travelled on the Waterford - Rosslare once and the Limerick Junc - Waterford twice in recent years

What struck me was the numbers oft quoted of single digit passenger numbers bore no resemblance to the numbers I saw.

The most telling information is during the January cold snap the trains where full as the train offered the only way in to work, that shows there are enough people in the catchment area to make it work. Given the Barrow Bridge advantage there is no faster way from most towns in south Wexford to Waterford

While IE leaking this gets a debate going IE are the least likely organisation to take any form of postive action to address the problems, many of these problems are quite simple marketing and information issues.

The ride isn't the greatest but people have quickly forgotten what 50mph on jointed track was like, that was the standard experience until quite recently. That CWR track is actually quite smooth and the 2700 railcars are the smoothest and quietest of the bunch.

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 15-03-2010 at 21:26.
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