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Unread 29-08-2011, 10:40   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default [article] Proposal to bring train journey times between cities below two hours

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Originally Posted by Irish Times
Proposal to bring train journey times between cities below two hours

TIM O'BRIEN

TRAIN TRAVEL times of less than two hours between Dublin and the regional cities of Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway are being proposed by Iarnród Éireann.

The move, in response to faster travel times on the State’s new motorways, would see work get under way on the development of high speed services to Cork and Galway beginning next year.

The plan is subject, however, to Government approval of an additional €175 million in funding – or €35 million a year between 2012 and 2016 – to improve speeds to Cork and Galway.

Phase two of the plan would tackle speeds on the routes between Dublin and Limerick and Dublin and Waterford.

Iarnród Éireann believes the move is necessary because currently it cannot compete with the shorter travel times offered by new motorways.

Decline in passenger numbers is inevitable without faster services to compete with car journeys already taking about two hours to Galway and less than three hours to Cork.

Iarnród Éireann has told the Government it wants to cut about 30 minutes off rail travel times to Cork and Galway as the first phase of its initiative.

At present just 50km of the 263km Dublin to Cork route is capable of the desired 160km/h inter-city speed.

None of the Dublin to Galway route is capable of running at 160km/h. The maximum speed between the cities is 130km/h – and that is available on just over half of the route.

Phase one would also have knock-on benefits for other services to and from Limerick, Kerry and Mayo as major sections of these journeys (Dublin-Limerick Junction for Limerick, Dublin-Mallow for Kerry, and Dublin-Athlone for Mayo) would see line speeds improve.

The company has estimated the cost of the 2012-2016 programme at €175 million, or approximately €35 million per annum.

The phase one works would lead to journey time improvements on each route as follows:

* Dublin to Cork would see an improvement of 25 minutes, reducing typical journey times to about two hours and 20 minutes.

* Dublin to Galway would improve by 33 minutes to under two hours and seven minutes.

* Dublin-Westport/Ballina would see knock-on journey time improvements of 22 minutes to about three hours and five minutes.

* Dublin to Limerick journey time improvements of 16 minutes would lead to travel times of about two hours.

* Some 20 minutes would be shaved off the almost four-hour journey from Dublin to Killarney/ Tralee.

* Dublin to Waterford journey time improvement would be seven minutes, bringing the trip down to about two hours and 13 minutes.

The company said its long-term goal would be to reduce speeds further, bringing all inter-city travel within the two-hour time frame.

The new Intercity fleet – 67 CAF Intercity carriages operating on the Dublin-Cork fleet, and the 183-carriage Intercity railcar fleet on other routes – is capable of 160 km/h speeds, so no further investment in fleet would be required.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...303143746.html
© Irish Times 2011
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Unread 29-08-2011, 11:42   #2
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What a typically dim piece from Tim O'Brien. It is obvious that there is huge pressure to cut the IE subvention, both current and capital and this is part of the lobbying: ask for a lot more money and you might just not get your budget cut as much.

I love the statement near the end where T O'B says: "The company said its long-term goal would be to reduce speeds further, ..." Marvellous Freudian slip that, given the record of speed deterioration on IE.

Someone should tell the guy that Dublin-Cork was timetables for 2h 20m ages ago, before comparatively recent heavy investment in signalling, locomotives and rolling stock
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Unread 29-08-2011, 12:19   #3
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2:20 was once per week non stop. Currently there is a 2 stop in 2:30 time twice a day which is comparable. I've experienced the 'fast' train and we were consistently 5-10 mph over the published speed limit most of the way. Not acceptable in the safety era we live in. How you average 80mph from Thurles with a 90mph limit just wan't going to work and it didn't a lot of the time as it ran late

The official best time is 2:07 which involved hitting 120+ mph, cracking a few brick arch bridges in Cork and structural cracks to the locomotives

Much of the track laid in the 1976-1984 period is life expired at this point, 25-30 years is the accepted life span, so money is needed to sort it out.

In reliability terms Dublin Cork is miles better now compared to any time in the past, trains run to time, the lights and air con work and there are 3 times more trains than 20 years ago

The amount sought is small, labour intensive and is spread around the country so it ticks a lot of boxes.
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Unread 29-08-2011, 13:03   #4
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I readily concede that overall service frequency and quality is much better now, and of course the once-a-week time of 2.20 was always a bit unrepresentative.

I also agree that funds are needed for track replacement/improvement on Dublin-Cork, but the way in which IE seem to have just woken up to the threat posed by the motorways sounds pathetic. The Dublin-Cork replacement/upgrade should have been pushed much more energatically 5 years ago.

I would think that in terms of politics and p.r. that a project which emphasises higher speeds might not seem as deserving as what is essentially the same project with emphasis on maintaining a piece of infractsructure which is of major importance.
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Unread 29-08-2011, 13:09   #5
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The upgrade was first pitched to the CIE board in September 2007. I know who made the pitch and it was for a far wider ranging upgrade to 125mph. That was carried by the media

Part of the work is already underway, 7 more route miles at 100mph is now available and more will follow bit by bit. Major upgrade at Lisduff which will lift speeds as well
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Unread 29-08-2011, 13:44   #6
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The 06:15 did it in 2 1/2 hours this morning, despite leaving Cork a couple of minutes late because of ticketing problems, speed restrictions at Buttevant and Kilmallock, and getting caught behing a slower moving train just before the 4-track section.
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Unread 10-01-2012, 00:20   #7
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Some track has been re-laid with a heavier rail - the difference is marked.

Limerick Junction is getting new signalling - I don't think it is in effect yet, but much of the physical work has been done.

The Kildare Route Project is done from Cherry Orchard to Hazelhatch, but Cherry Orchard-Inchicore and Hazelhatch-Cherryville are needed to fully avail of that.

More level crossings and bridges will need work, most track needs to be re-laid on Cork-Dublin, which is the oldest of the the continuously welded rail and no doubt there will be other improvements needed like drainage and fencing. There are no level crossings left from Thurles to Dublin or Mallow to Cork, but there are 2 Thurles-Limerick Junction, 5 Limerick Junction-Charleville and another 7 Charleville-Mallow. Most other lines have much higher numbers of LCs. Click on "Features" and "Level Crossings" here: http://new.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?p=119&n=157 On Dublin-Belfast all the LCs are north of the border.
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Unread 11-01-2012, 00:15   #8
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As a more realistic medium term goal, it would be good to get the timings to 85 mins from Dublin to Limerick Junction, 30 mins from Limerick Junction to Mallow and 25 minutes from Mallow to Cork.

In conjunction with an extra platform in Limerick Junction, it would mean you could arrange to have Dublin-Cork, Cork-Dublin and connecting trains in both Mallow and Limerick Junction at the same time as each other. That would provide some operational efficiencies and provide the following as somewhat realist targets.

Dublin-Cork 2h 20
Dublin-Killarney 2h 45
Dublin-Limerick 1h 50
Cork-Limerick 1h 20
Cork-Killarney 1h 15

Last edited by comcor : 11-01-2012 at 09:57. Reason: Bloody Autocorrect
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Unread 14-01-2012, 15:37   #9
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Cork to Mallow already happens in 23 minutes without any real intervention, and Mallow to Limerick Junction is generally not much over the half-hour as long as it doesn't stop in Charleville. I suspect the timetables may be padded.

The main issue with Dublin to Cork in anything less than 2h35m is platform capacity at Cork.
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Unread 14-01-2012, 16:16   #10
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"The main issue with Dublin to Cork in anything less than 2h35m is platform capacity at Cork". Surely that can be overcome by the use of the departure platform for actual departures.
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Unread 14-01-2012, 17:55   #11
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The thing is, if you have two intercity trains parked up in platforms 4 and 5, where are you going to put your Mallow commuter services?
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Unread 14-01-2012, 19:04   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Ralph View Post
Cork to Mallow already happens in 23 minutes without any real intervention, and Mallow to Limerick Junction is generally not much over the half-hour as long as it doesn't stop in Charleville. I suspect the timetables may be padded.

The main issue with Dublin to Cork in anything less than 2h35m is platform capacity at Cork.
Are there not two platforms in Cork serving the mainline ?

If the existing Dublin and Cork departure times were maintained and the journey time reduced to 2hrs-20 minutes there would never be more than two Dublin services in Cork station at any one time and then only for ten minutes every hour. Arranging the schedule so that trains in either direction meet at Limerick Junction and Mallow affords maximum advantage in terms of connections although the downside of passengers having to transfer to connecting trains via footbridge, lift or subway mightn't be universally welcomed.

An alternative approach in the event of a journey time reduction between Dublin and Cork to 2hrs-20 min would be to run the existing service pattern with six rather than seven sets with consequent crew and equipment savings.
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Unread 14-01-2012, 22:02   #13
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Was any thought ever given to putting a platform on the south side of the Kent shed on the bypass track?
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Unread 15-01-2012, 14:50   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inniskeen View Post
Are there not two platforms in Cork serving the mainline ?

If the existing Dublin and Cork departure times were maintained and the journey time reduced to 2hrs-20 minutes there would never be more than two Dublin services in Cork station at any one time and then only for ten minutes every hour. Arranging the schedule so that trains in either direction meet at Limerick Junction and Mallow affords maximum advantage in terms of connections although the downside of passengers having to transfer to connecting trains via footbridge, lift or subway mightn't be universally welcomed.
I challenge anyone to deboard, clean, and reboard a Mk4 in ten minutes. Even skip the cleaning if you restore the onboard cleaner. Really eight, since gates close two minutes before train departure. And that leaves absolutely no slack in the event of delays.
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