Iarnrod Eireann Decimating Irish Rail Heritage

MINISTER

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Jun 6, 2004
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I am reliably informed that Irelands railway heritage and history is quietly and quickly being run down.

What is happening is that coaches and engines from the 1950's an 1960's are being completely scrapped without any examples being kept for posterity. Yet, there are groups of Railway enthusiasists who would buy examples to be preserved for public use and pleasure. These groups wish to develop museums in Ireland and they are unable to get access to any railwayana.

This removal of railway coaches and locomotives, along with a policy of not hiring new drivers, is leading to cancellation of services and also not allowing capacity for additional services particularly at busy times.

Not alone this, but there is a concerted effort underway to remove all freight from our railways. I am told that as soon as the new ring road is in place around Waterford city the wood freight trains and bulk container trains will be gone and replaced by road freight. Also, a container company wish to run up to two trains a day but Iarnrod Eireann will not accomodate them.

Many of the railway sidings and goods yards are being lifted and sold for development thereby leaving no room in railway staions for freight. Kilkenny Station would be a prime example of this.

A senior executive of IE is also reputed to have stated that he would have a railcar only service in Ireland. To this end Iarnrod Eireann are selling 132 Mark 3 rolling stock out of 188 coaches even before those on order have arrived! We are also believed to be selling the Mark 4 coaches back to Spain, soon to be followed by the 201 class locomotives to South Africa. This reduction of our country's rail stock is happening at a fast pace.

We are also exporting our old sleepers from the track and they are being reimported by garden centres and sold to the public.

Some railway stations are also having track lifted to allow less train movements and thus reducing capacity for trains and passenger movements.

Those working for many years in IE cannot understand the management operations which appear to be like those policies pursued in the UK at the early stages of privatisation.

Thus, many of the staff would say that the media are not giving the full picture when reporting on IE and as a result the employees are being portrayed as being intransigent and unreasonable, when, in fact, many of them are steeped in railway tradition and are proud of Iarnrod Eireann and the passenger and freight services it has traditionally provided.

So when you next complain about the service think on the above!!
 


retep

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May 25, 2007
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1,730
I made reference to some of this in my submission on Sustainable Transport - The thrust of the document does ask some pressing questions about the viability and future of freight on Irish railways and certainly it would seem from your posting that this is somehting that IE managment want to get away from completely even thought the Sustainable Transport proposals would have a shift back from road to rail freight as one of their desires.

I suggest you make a submission in this regard to the Sustainable Transport Public COnsultation - The date for reciept of submissions has been extended to May 13th

http://www.sustainabletransport.ie/index.html
 

corelli

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Jun 13, 2007
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So Iarnrod Eireann are replacing the ancient, freezing, filthy, ecologically unsound rolling stock that I have had to suffer on a regular basis for years and years and replacing them with the new, bright, clean, thermostatically controlled stock pulled by the most ecologically friendly diesel engines in europe (was on a new one the other day....FANTASTIC) and we are supposed to be worried because some silly old train spotter and his friends were not afforded opertunity to buy the old crap ones.

Oh dear!! I must write straight away!

I would like to see proof of your assertion that services are being cancelled and dissapated? As far as I am aware they are opening routes not closing them. The new western rail corridor is a case in point!
 

juanpablo

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Sep 30, 2004
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265
The Carriages being sold off are made redundant by the delivery of new Railcars over the past while. Its only the trainspotters who will miss them.

IEs future has been marked as delivering Intercity & Commuter services, thats where the investment is going.

Freight services by Rail are uneconomical in comparison to our really rather good Road Network. maybe in the future this decision will be revisited, but for now let IE focus in delivering its important projects (and the WRC ;) ) and establish a viable alternative to Driving Commutes.
 

Bray Head

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Sep 29, 2006
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retep said:
I made reference to some of this in my submission on Sustainable Transport - The thrust of the document does ask some pressing questions about the viability and future of freight on Irish railways and certainly it would seem from your posting that this is somehting that IE managment want to get away from completely even thought the Sustainable Transport proposals would have a shift back from road to rail freight as one of their desires.

I suggest you make a submission in this regard to the Sustainable Transport Public COnsultation - The date for reciept of submissions has been extended to May 13th

http://www.sustainabletransport.ie/index.html
Rail freight quite rightly belongs to Ireland's transport heritage. It's useful for transporting something like coal or wheat from the middle of a continent to a port on the edge. It makes no sense on a small island where nowhere is more than half a day's truck haul from a port and where the economy is based on high-value low-weight products. It's horrendously expensive and would take an insignificant fraction of traffic off Ireland's roads.
 

covert

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Nov 25, 2006
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11
Wow, OP is genuinely bonkers!

I am reliably informed that Irelands railway heritage and history is quietly and quickly being run down.
Source? Fastest growing rail service in Europe you know.

What is happening is that coaches and engines from the 1950's an 1960's are being completely scrapped without any examples being kept for posterity. Yet, there are groups of Railway enthusiasists who would buy examples to be preserved for public use and pleasure. These groups wish to develop museums in Ireland and they are unable to get access to any railwayana.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. However, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland has examples of fleet across many generations, directly supplied by IE, up to and including the 1960s Craven carriages which went out of service last year. The Mk11 trains from the 1970s weren't disposed of in this way, as the corrosion levels were dreadful. Also, IE has supplied museums and rail heritage groups the length and breadth of this country, as well as some overseas groups, with materials spare from the investment.

This removal of railway coaches and locomotives, along with a policy of not hiring new drivers, is leading to cancellation of services and also not allowing capacity for additional services particularly at busy times.
All of the trains have been replaced by newer trains, and service frequency has increased (hourly on Cork, two-hourly on Sligo). Driver numbers are up by 50% in a decade, and more are being trained (if the current drivers removed the block to the training).

Not alone this, but there is a concerted effort underway to remove all freight from our railways. I am told that as soon as the new ring road is in place around Waterford city the wood freight trains and bulk container trains will be gone and replaced by road freight. Also, a container company wish to run up to two trains a day but Iarnrod Eireann will not accomodate them.
The following major freight customers of IE went out of business: Asahi in Mayo, IFI, Bell Lines, the beet farming industry. Guinness decided to go by road when the keg volume sales dropped. IE currently run Tara Mines, Coillte, Cement, and Norfolkline services. Name the container company - I contend that this claim is a straight lie.

Many of the railway sidings and goods yards are being lifted and sold for development thereby leaving no room in railway staions for freight. Kilkenny Station would be a prime example of this.
Because that's what should really be done - bring freight into the heart of cities.

A senior executive of IE is also reputed to have stated that he would have a railcar only service in Ireland. To this end Iarnrod Eireann are selling 132 Mark 3 rolling stock out of 188 coaches even before those on order have arrived! We are also believed to be selling the Mark 4 coaches back to Spain, soon to be followed by the 201 class locomotives to South Africa. This reduction of our country's rail stock is happening at a fast pace.
So what if he/she did (although, I contend that this too is simply made up)? The new railcars on commuter and Intercity (Sligo, Limerick) routes have been a big hit with passengers, numbers way up. The only people interested in a train being loco-hauled rather than railcar are nerds. Selling the Mark 4s "back to Spain"? You're genuinely certifiable if you believe that. Some Mk 111s are being refurbished, some are being sold - they are 25 years old you know.

We are also exporting our old sleepers from the track and they are being reimported by garden centres and sold to the public.
I almost don't know what to say about this. IE produce some sleepers, and import some. If they can export disused ones, great for them. Most old timber sleepers are creosote laden and cannot be sold to the public here by law.

Some railway stations are also having track lifted to allow less train movements and thus reducing capacity for trains and passenger movements.
Name where. Apart from connections to disused lines. More trains are running on most routes, and will be on all routes by the end of the year. Hardly tallies with your claim that capacity is being reduced. You see those extra two lines being built on the Kildare line?

Those working for many years in IE cannot understand the management operations which appear to be like those policies pursued in the UK at the early stages of privatisation.
I'm sure that they are aghast at the record investment and record passenger numbers.

Thus, many of the staff would say that the media are not giving the full picture when reporting on IE and as a result the employees are being portrayed as being intransigent and unreasonable, when, in fact, many of them are steeped in railway tradition and are proud of Iarnrod Eireann and the passenger and freight services it has traditionally provided.

So when you next complain about the service think on the above!!
Any industrial relations issues and portrayal of IE staff is completely unrelated to the clueless nonsense in your post. Tradition is no reason for sh1tty old trains, and freight which loses money. Rapid expansion of passenger services with modern trains is the right thing to do.
 

solair

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Mar 30, 2007
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Iarnrod Eireann's role is to provide proper public transport services, not to preserve rail heritage. If we were to go down that route we'd be going to work on museum pieces.. .

The new Cork trains i.e. the "Mark 4" carriages are most certainly not being sold back to Spain. How could they even do that? Even if they wanted to, there's absolutely no possibility of it happening. They're a custom order built specifically for Irish Rail. They are however designed to be used with 2 power cars, i.e. will have 2 pointy ends rather than one. This will drastically improve their efficiency, environmentally friendliness, speed and reliability. It means the Cork train can ultimately run at 200km/h (125mph). This is part of the design of the fleet and medium/long term plan for the Cork-Dublin Express route. It will mean the ultimate withdrawal of the '201' locomotives currently in use with the new Cork trains.

The fleet of locomotives that they have at the moment will more than likely become redundant over the next few years as the Intercity Railcars roll out and the Cork train gets its power cars. I'm sure some of them will still be in use for rail freight.

The new Intercity Railcar fleet are a vast improvement over the clapped out old bangers they are replacing i.e. the 'cravens' and the 'mk 2' trains which are well over 30 years old. They're truly dismal vehicles to travel in and I for one am glad to see the back of them!

The MK3 fleet to which you refer was the more recent 1980s intercity fleet that was common on the Cork line before the new trains hit the tracks. These date from the early 1980s and are all due to be scrapped. There are a number of reasons: they don't comply with modern disability access requirements, they flush their toilets directly onto the tracks and they don't provide modern safety features that would be considered essential thesedays. The cost of refurbishing them would be astronomical and there is simply no economic case for keeping them.

Put it this way would any sane person upgrade their 1983 Ford Escort by basically completely rebuilding it at huge cost rather than simply purchasing a new car?

As for keeping the locomotives in service... why ?

Railcars are a far better solution. They're faster (better acceleration), they don't wear the tracks as quickly, they have better reliability as there's 2 engines under each coach rather than just a single engine pulling the whole train and they allow Irish rail to operate shorter trains more frequently without them becoming uneconomic!
Oh yeah they're also much more environmentally friendly and fuel efficient!
(Similar story for the MK4 trains when they get their powercars)

What you're forgetting is that Irish Rail's job is to provide public transport. It's not there to preserve old clapped out railway stock as some kind of a national transport museum curator service!

If an enthusiast / museum approached them, I'm sure that they'd be happy to provide old trains, as long as the museum didn't expect them to fund their delivery or refurbishment.

Railways are public transport systems, that's what they always have been. These wonderful old victorian systems were cutting edge in their day and have always progressed to the best technology available. Do you think the Victorians would have preserved the ass and cart public transport system they had when the railways opened ? --- I seriously doubt it!

If you want to see rail transport being a success in Ireland, you should be supporting the introduction of the new fleet not getting hung up on some obscure technical detail about locomotives versus railcars that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the end user's experience.
People just want modern, frequent, clean, efficient, fast and reasonably priced trains that actually take them to where they want to go in relative comfort!

I would completely agree with you on the running down of rail freight however. It's disgraceful that Iarnrod Eireann is not doing more to encourage freight on our railways. They don't seem to be making much effort in this regard and have even closed freight yards / sold them off.
The only thing I would add though is that the frequent strike action on the railways has damaged the rail freight market, perhaps irreparably. No company can afford to have goods sitting in yards while some wildcat strike action takes place for some random ridiculous reason.
I'm not pinning the blame on the unions entirely either. It seems that the whole organisation has a major issue with industrial relations that needs to be resolved and that has to come from both management and unions. Something's clearly seriously wrong with the relationship between the two.

The fact that Ireland doesn't really have a lot of bulk industries has also meant that road freight is more competitive. It suits 'just in time' and point-to-point small shipments that are highly time sensitive. Rail tends to suit large bulk products e.g. cement and other bulk goods, manufactured cars going to ports etc.

Going forward though as fuel prices rocket, it's likely that rail freight may become more attractive again. It's vital however that it's used where possible and where appropriate as it's a lot less environmentally damaging than moving everything by road.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
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No surprise in lack of preservation of Irish railway heritage Im afraid , we have an amazing knack of not minding anything until its gone and then lament the fact we didnt preserve it.Look what happened the canals now costing a fortune to repair etc. Georgian Dublin ...........
 

fergalr

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Oct 4, 2006
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johnfás said:
covert said:
Fastest growing rail service in Europe you know.
It would bloody want to be after the destruction of the last 80 years.
We're not there yet... as anyone waiting for a DART that mysteriously fails to turn up or takes an impromptu stop is only too well aware.
 

solair

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Mar 30, 2007
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kildarecommuter said:
No surprise in lack of preservation of Irish railway heritage Im afraid , we have an amazing knack of not minding anything until its gone and then lament the fact we didnt preserve it.Look what happened the canals now costing a fortune to repair etc. Georgian Dublin ...........
It's not the old trains that I would be worried about preserving, it's the old train routes.

There were a lot of lines closed that run straight through areas that are very popular for tourism or that have had massively growing populations.

Dublin and Cork in particular had extensive local commuter networks which were absolutely decimated.
They served what were then villages but are now heavily populated suburban areas that would be ideally suited for either rail or tram links.
 
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Aug 18, 2016
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Re Iarnrod Eireann bosses reckless with Tax Payers Money

i have no problem with need for new trains - mk4 and railcars
But it is disgraceful to spend taxpayers money like monopoly money
Bottom line is 2 Sets out of 7 Sets of MK4 Coaches lying in storage and a waste of millions
Class 22000 Railcars overpurchased - simply too many to match current national train timetables
Some MK3 Coaches could have been kept - after all not long ago that 40-50 year coaches on the tracks (Cravens)
Up to 12 Class 201 Locomotives in Storage
Who in Iarnrod Eireann is going to take responsibility for this overspending - the senior management?
Someone has to be accountable because it is clear that these people are not spending their own money
 

daveL

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Oct 29, 2010
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meh

the 50s and 60s could hardly be classed as the halcyon days of rail travel..
 

Roll_On

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The Irish state has never built any new railways, it has only ever replaced some that it dismantled decades ago.
 


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