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Unread 08-08-2010, 20:54   #41
Alan French
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The Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route always has large numbers of foot passengers, and trains at Holyhead become very full. The problem at Rosslare is entirely due to poor connections - this is mentioned in the SERA report (para. 4.7): "The project team found it striking that, in their discussions with train operating companies and the UK Department for Transport, two people volunteered, with no prompting, that rail-ferry-rail on the Fishguard-Rosslare route is not attractive due to the lack of an integrated rail timetable at the Rosslare end."

So let's stop quoting existing low numbers of foot passengers, as if that were all that there were ever going to be.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 06:16   #42
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The Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route always has large numbers of foot passengers, and trains at Holyhead become very full. The problem at Rosslare is entirely due to poor connections - this is mentioned in the SERA report (para. 4.7): "The project team found it striking that, in their discussions with train operating companies and the UK Department for Transport, two people volunteered, with no prompting, that rail-ferry-rail on the Fishguard-Rosslare route is not attractive due to the lack of an integrated rail timetable at the Rosslare end."

So let's stop quoting existing low numbers of foot passengers, as if that were all that there were ever going to be.
Quite right. You cant put the cart before the horse. The timetable IMHO was doctored to deliberatley give poor connections in an attempt to kill the line. A private Operator coming in would immediately address this and you could expect the passenger total to start rising,.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 16:28   #43
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While the timetable might not be too helpful to the passenger numbers, I feel the real reason for the decline in foot passengers is Low cost airlines. There are many ferry routes or ferry operators who donīt even bother to take foot passengers. A new timetable if it is to be successful should primarily target local commuters, I think applying the if you build it and they will come philosophy to ferry connections would doom the route to failure. Numbers may have been heavy during the ash cloud but public services should not be run on the basis of just in case.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 17:07   #44
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While the timetable might not be too helpful to the passenger numbers, I feel the real reason for the decline in foot passengers is Low cost airlines. There are many ferry routes or ferry operators who donīt even bother to take foot passengers. A new timetable if it is to be successful should primarily target local commuters, I think applying the if you build it and they will come philosophy to ferry connections would doom the route to failure. Numbers may have been heavy during the ash cloud but public services should not be run on the basis of just in case.
Agreed, it's more important to cast the timetable to suit local commuter traffic (possibly into Wexford as well as Waterford) and have good connections with other rail services than the ferry connections. As you say low cost airlines have impacted on the ferry business. The ferry traffic would also partly be seasonal in terms of demand, whereas the commuter market is a year round one. Granted college traffic declines in the summer but the same could be said of any route. That said, if connections to ferries can be fitted in all well and good, but the main emphasis should be on serving local commuters.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 19:01   #45
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I dont think that cheap airfares impact the ferry that much as their core business seems to be older people (who may not like flying) and families with lots of young children.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 23:51   #46
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It might have taken an 11-hour round trip, but after getting to Waterford, I took the Waterford-Rosslare line today. While there was no overcrowding, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what exactly we'll be missing when the line is closed.

All it did for me, was confirm my belief that rail lines should not be closed anywhere, let alone in Ireland. Yes, it's not financially viable now, but few lines are. With buses setting new speed records in getting from A to B, outdoing each other to see who can run more frequently than the competition, on ever-improving roads, Irish Rail seriously needs to get a grip and put on competing services, before the whole network is not financially viable.

They have just a few hundred kilometres of track to service in one country, unlike their counterparts in Europe, on a daytime only schedule. Just how difficult can they possibly make it for people to use?
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Unread 10-08-2010, 04:21   #47
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I think ensuring connections to/from Dublin will mean more in the long run than ferry connections, starting with the 1733 arrival into Waterford and the 1930 departure from Wexford.

A Dublin service arising from the Rosslare westbound is probably impractical in the short run but the 0820 arrival in Waterford could be sent via Lavistown at least as far as Carlow.

It also appears from my reading of the timetable that the 1030 arrival in Rosslare sits there until the 1255 departure - while a full rotation to Waterford is too tight even if Strand is skipped to Wexford, something could be contemplated like swapping 22Ks with Waterford giving South Wexford two more services a day, another connection to Connolly and a shot at the 1320 to Heuston too.
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Unread 10-08-2010, 06:13   #48
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It might have taken an 11-hour round trip, but after getting to Waterford, I took the Waterford-Rosslare line today. While there was no overcrowding, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what exactly we'll be missing when the line is closed.

All it did for me, was confirm my belief that rail lines should not be closed anywhere, let alone in Ireland. Yes, it's not financially viable now, but few lines are. With buses setting new speed records in getting from A to B, outdoing each other to see who can run more frequently than the competition, on ever-improving roads, Irish Rail seriously needs to get a grip and put on competing services, before the whole network is not financially viable.

They have just a few hundred kilometres of track to service in one country, unlike their counterparts in Europe, on a daytime only schedule. Just how difficult can they possibly make it for people to use?

Ironic isnt it that the one route they especially want to close is the one that is much shorter than the road!

As Mr Dowling says, whats needed is the best possible TT making as many connections as possible in as many places as possible including if it can be done, the ferry sailings.When all thats in place, it then needs to be extensively advertised and promoted. (I dont think IE will be up for this and Id support privatisation of these services)


Quick note to IE management: these things are your JOB to do, not sit in some office somewhere underperforming.Go out there and prove me wrong!
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Unread 10-08-2010, 19:32   #49
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I dont think that cheap airfares impact the ferry that much as their core business seems to be older people (who may not like flying) and families with lots of young children.
I think what was meant was since the 1980s.
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Unread 10-08-2010, 20:25   #50
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I've read most of the SERA report. One of the most encouraging things is the comparison with some British rural lines. Now, I have travelled on two of the four lines that they study; they are indeed very rural, full of stations serving small villages and even isolated roadside locations. Furthermore, with a few exceptions, the present stations are all the line ever had. Stops at the smaller stations are on request. With low frequencies, this has turned out to be preferable to having non-stop runs.

This provides a counter-argument to the view that the population of South Wexford is far too small. I had always wondered about providing better links with Wexford town. Bus Éireann has never provided services timed for commuters from the villages to Wexford, and the shoppers' buses only run on certain days of the week. An independent operator has operated a Wexford-Kilmore Quay route 2 or 3 times a day - does this still run? (In 1999 I actually took this bus from Kilmore Quay to Bridgetown and caught a connecting train to Rosslare Harbour.) The SERA report suggests that there is a lot of untapped potential here.

A few points about the timetable proposed on page 65: Do you notice that in serving local needs, it also makes fairly good ferry connections? The conflict of interest may have been exaggerated!

When you get down to the detail of integrating this service with the Rosslare-Dublin line, you will find that in some cases one leg of the rather roundabout route can be removed because there is a connection with a Dublin train at the right time. In the timetable consultation I have proposed one or two more trains on the Dublin line. Be conscious, at the same time, of the possible deterrent effect of having to change trains on a short overall journey (e.g. Wellington Bridge to Wexford).

It is also possible for some trains to do the circle the other way round. The 15.47 from Waterford, perhaps, should run to the Harbour first and then to Wexford, because it returns as the main commuters' train from Wexford. It is even possible that if the two double-cab railcars could be used, trains from Waterford could divide at Rosslare Strand, with the front going to the Harbour and the rear going to Wexford. At present that would be living dangerously, because IR have only two such railcars, so there would be no spare.

In keeping with the the principles I have advocated elsewhere, as many as possible of the trains shown should run as through services to Limerick Junction and beyond. However, there is a problem with trying to run a two-hourly clock-face service between Rosslare and Limerick Junction with decent connections at the Junction - the crossing loops are too few and in the wrong places (see my contribution to the timetable consultation, especially on 13-6-10 and 14-6-10). For the present, the best we can do is to make the Waterford-Limerick Junction service as good as possible in the circumstances, and continue trains to Rosslare whenever possible.

Don't let us be too put off by the roundabout journey from the villages to Wexford. Just because journey times are longer than driving, it doesn't mean that no one will use the trains. The secret is frequency; once this gets past the two-hourly mark (broadly), if the trains are comfortable and reliable, people will start to find that they meet quite a lot of travel needs, with some flexibility. And this is what the SERA report advocates.

Finally, I like the publicity idea - Barrow Bridge line, 7 trains daily!
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Unread 10-08-2010, 23:51   #51
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the two newspaper reports quoted above show an interesting approach from IE. You would think that people pointing out to them how it could be made to run properly would get a hearing, but no, a dismissal. Well, a sort of one.

Firstly they just keep saying "well, we cant do it" and then they say its everyone else's fault. I mean, you would swear they get getting orders form somewhere else and they have to carry them out no matter what, wouldn't you?
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Unread 11-08-2010, 00:47   #52
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I mean, you would swear they get getting orders form somewhere else and they have to carry them out no matter what, wouldn't you?
Why do you think I call BK "The Information Minister"?
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Unread 13-08-2010, 21:16   #53
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Unread 14-08-2010, 09:54   #54
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Comical Barry!
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Unread 07-01-2011, 14:49   #55
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I dont think that cheap airfares impact the ferry that much as their core business seems to be older people (who may not like flying) and families with lots of young children.
Add to those the large numbers of adventurous young backpackers from all corners of the world 'doing' Europe. Also, Cyclists, and when the dreaded volcanic ash or 'wrong kind of snow' strikes on the runways: everyone...

Interesting, BTW, what alan french mentioned about 'Trains at Holyhead becoming very full'. If you saw how so-called Arriva Trains North Wales is running down the service there, you would not be surprised: a route which used to boast regular Intercity trains to/ from Manchester and London and a decent regular slow service of 4-car loco hauled trains with guards van now has to make do with an irregular service of clapped-out 30 year old cramped two-car railcars with no decent luggage space at all, and only very rarely, a 4-car Virgin Train to/from London, all the trains often stop at every tiny local halt, even the night services which should really be for the ferry passengers only.
A few months ago, the 2-car train from Chester to Holyhead for the ferry was so crowded that the staff wouldnt allow me with my bicycle on board; only after a lot of angry complaining to the staff, after stressing that my ferry connection was essential, they put me and my bicycle on a TAXI to taek me the hundred or so miles to Holyhead; thanks to the very fast roads (The A55 is motorway standard) I arrived well before the struggling stopping train did. Believe you me, while we may complain about dreadfully slow or inadequate Rail connections on the Irish side, it can be every bit as bad over in Blighty, or even in other European countries where I have travelled, but I'd best save that for another day...
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