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Unread 07-08-2018, 09:41   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default Time to ban steam trains?

Once again a steam train broke down leading to delays of 2 hours. The same train last year broke down before it even left Connolly

Broke down between Wicklow and Greystones resulting in delays to both evening Rosslare services up to 2 hours. DART services at Greystones also impacted by the mess.

All trains break down but the failure rate of these stream trains appears to be 10 if not 100 times more frequent than the public service.

Irish Rail claims it is short drivers and has cancelled trains daily in the summer yet can resource this?

Its highly questionable if the RPSI are paying the full cost and unlikely to be chased for delay compensation per the access statement

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 07-08-2018 at 09:43.
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Unread 07-08-2018, 10:29   #2
comcor
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What about letting them run on Sunday on Waterford-Limerick Junction.

The line should be fit for it and there would be no interfering with regular traffic.
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Unread 07-08-2018, 11:49   #3
James Howard
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Would it be possible to mitigate the risk by ensuring that there is a backup diesel locomotive on hand?

The cancellation of scheduled services to allow for specials is ludicrous and counter-productive. For people from Longford and points further on the Sligo line, the fact that there is an hourly service down in the afternoon makes the train very attractive for holiday-time outings to the city since you don't really have to plan your return too seriously. With the 1600 gone for the summer, this makes the service dramatically less flexible.

A friend missed the 1505 by 5 minutes a few weeks ago and was dismayed to discover there was no 1600. She eventually got to Edgeworthstown (70 miles) at 1915 after the 1705 was delayed by more than half an hour. Well, delayed by 15 minutes since it is always 10 to 15 minutes late to Edgeworthstown. I could just about cycle the journey in that time.
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Unread 07-08-2018, 12:36   #4
Jamie2k9
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Failures happen but I would hate to see such a ban imposed. They largely only run weekends and usually against peak flow of traffic so disruption isn't significant.

The issue is the time to clear a failure and this is no different to any failure on the network and its up to IE to see how to improve it.
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Unread 07-08-2018, 13:15   #5
Mark Gleeson
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Delays happens, thats life. The risk of a delay when a steam train is around is vastly more

1. They breakdown, vastly more often per mile operated
2. They get stuck, steam/coal issues
3. They trip the hot axle box detectors

The very least we should expect a diesel locomotive to be dragged along as insurance if something goes wrong.

This is the land of transparency, will Irish Rail apply the network access statement charges and charge for the full cost of the rescue locomotive and the delay minutes, doubt it. Will Irish Rail charge for the siding space in Inchicore etc.

The fare paying passenger should not be contributing a single cent here, nor should the NTA
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Unread 08-08-2018, 11:20   #6
Inniskeen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
Delays happens, thats life. The risk of a delay when a steam train is around is vastly more

1. They breakdown, vastly more often per mile operated
2. They get stuck, steam/coal issues
3. They trip the hot axle box detectors

The very least we should expect a diesel locomotive to be dragged along as insurance if something goes wrong.

This is the land of transparency, will Irish Rail apply the network access statement charges and charge for the full cost of the rescue locomotive and the delay minutes, doubt it. Will Irish Rail charge for the siding space in Inchicore etc.

The fare paying passenger should not be contributing a single cent here, nor should the NTA
You have made a lot of assertions, most of which appear to have little basis in fact. Steam trains are extremely popular and have been operating successfully in preservation for almost 60 years. There have been a few disruptive delays over the years, last Monday's incident being by far the worst I can remember.

Steam train operations contribute significantly to Irish Rail in terms of fees and charges which more than cover any costs incurred. They advertise the existence of the railway and generate traffic for regular services not only on the day, but for the future as the next generation are introduced to railways.

The steam train operators have a right of access to the infrastructure in the same way as Irish Rail or Belmond do and are subject to the same regulatory framework.

There are daily delays and disruptions on Irish Rail due to a combination of mechanical failures, signalling failures, poor traffic regulation and the now ubiquitous operational issues which see trains just disappear from schedules with little or no notice. The incident at Greystones on Monday was compounded by yet another DART failure which contributed to the Rosslare delays.

Incidentally when was the last delay due to activation of a Hot Box Detector by a steam train ?
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Unread 08-08-2018, 11:21   #7
James Shields
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I do agree there should be more done to mitigate the risk of failure, but I think it would be a real shame to see them banned outright.

I think a parallel issue is that we don't really have any heritage railways in Ireland (I know there are a couple of small sections, but none of them long enough to really constitute a railway). The Navan to Kingscourt alignment is still almost entirely intact, and it's hard to see it having much use as a future commuter line. If this could be turned into a heritage line, it would be somewhere people could see steam trains running regularly within driving distance of Dublin, and would reduce the need for steam trains to run on the mainlines.

Obviously, it's a question of funding it, and it should come from tourism/heritage funding and not the NTA. This isn't really a RUI issue, I know.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 06:38   #8
Mark Gleeson
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Another failure yesterday

2 in fact,
Hot box trip in Kerry Sunday morning
Total failure at Sallins during the evening Sunday intercity peak, delays of up to 100 minutes.


Same locomotive sat down in Gorey on July 7th
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Unread 09-09-2019, 14:47   #9
Jamie2k9
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I think a ban is very harsh. I believe all bar 1 service were under 60 late and by IE standards very quick.

If they managed to rescue an IV or even ICR as quick it would be good. I get its more complicated.

Single line not used, considering number of departures was low most services would probably been less than 30m if in operation.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 19:24   #10
Mark Gleeson
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That risk is far too high and the performance in recent years shows there is evidence to back the case.

It is completely unfair on passenger paying full fare to be delayed, it also leaves Irish Rail open to significant refund/compensation to delayed passengers.

The Mk4 fleet even at its worst in the early days was 10,000km per 5 minute tech failure, the Japanese DART fleet is at 130,000km, 22k is somewhere upwards of 60,000km

RPSI is down in the hundred's of km

Total number of failures I've had personally account to 1 MK2d (gen van, actually cooled down inside with the AC off!), 1 Mk3 (battery, bussed to destination), 1 Mk4 (MU cable, some physical encouragement was used), 2 DART (brakes) in 30+ years, only two of those required assistance to get moving again. I have a 50% success rate of seeing a steam engine haul a train with the RPSI.
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Unread 10-09-2019, 07:18   #11
Jamie2k9
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They are losing plenty giving reservation refunds daily, I don't think a handful of payments for this will break the bank.

I do think they should perhaps give more scheduling consideration to scheduling of the light engine movements particularly on busy section PLaois-Heuston.
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Unread 10-09-2019, 10:24   #12
James Shields
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I would be opposed to a complete ban on Steam trains running on our mainlines. Firstly, they are a tourist attraction, and secondly they bring joy to many people. Every steam train excursion delights the people taking part, both the passengers on the trip and the volunteers who make it happen, but also hundreds of people who see a steam locomotive crossing the countryside and feel a little happier for it.

Taking that away would be one more reason for people to feel negative about railways, and we don't need more reasons for people to be negative about rail.

I accept it does not bring joy to people delayed by a failed steam train. However, I think we should be looking at ways of reducing failures, and minimising the delay when they occur.
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Unread 14-09-2019, 23:12   #13
Eddie
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I've just been watching a couple of recorded programmes of "Scotland's Beautiful Railways" which featured a couple of famous old steam trains (including the Flying Scotsman) traversing the lines. What was clear is that significant investment had been made into the locos to keep them running and some of the staff seemed happy to work for nothing but the sheer enjoyment of being part of something historical.

It brought back happy memories of a week in the summer spent travelling to Skye via the Kyle of Lochalsh and back from Mallaig (on a SailRail ticket). Two "Jacobite" steam trains a day manage to travel between Fort William to Mallaig and back on a single track line which also has 4 ScotRail trains a day in each direction.

There must be a blueprint here for ensuring the steam trains and service trains can happily co-exist.

Btw, I can thoroughly recommend the trip.

Last edited by Eddie : 14-09-2019 at 23:20.
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