Rail Corridor

Rialtas

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Sep 1, 2004
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I think a western rail corridor has huge potential. A high quality rail connection should be constructed linking Cork, Limerick, Galway, Castlebar, Westport, Sligo, Letterkenny and Derry. It would run from North to South with all Connaught, Munster and western Ulster in its hinterland, moving people and goods to and from the port of Cork and the continent.

Why stop there? A motorway following a similar alignment would open up the west and transform its economy.
 


joemomma

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If we were to cover up and tarmac the railway line from Dublin to Galway, and use it as a dedicated busway instead of running trains, how long would a journey between the two cities take? Try the same calculation for Cork if you like.
What a bizarre puzzle. How on earth are we supposed to know how long it would take?

I can only assume the journey would take longer, but how much longer I can't say. It would probably be somewhere between the current bus journey time and the current train journey time. The only thing we could say for certain is that fewer passengers would be carried.
 

Ulysses

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joemomma said:
What a bizarre puzzle. How on earth are we supposed to know how long it would take?

I can only assume the journey would take longer, but how much longer I can't say. It would probably be somewhere between the current bus journey time and the current train journey time. The only thing we could say for certain is that fewer passengers would be carried.
Whether or not the puzzle is bizarre depends on one's perspective - like most puzzles, I s'pose.

My perspective is that of someone who is annoyed at the fact that the trains are so slooooowwww in this country. I don't propose that we should tarmac the railways, but I'm intrigued to know whether the trains are actually any faster.

You can calculate how long it should take by making some assumptions and applying some maths. Buses have a safe long-distance operating speed of 100 km/h, would not be prevented from maintaining that speed because of the dedicated busway, and have a much shorter stopping distance than trains. This means that buses could maintain a more or less constant speed along the route. So the journey time should be the distance in kilometres divided by 100 km/h, plus stopping time at intermediate "stations". For the purposes of this exercise, I've estimated stopping time as 3 minutes per stop.

The Dublin to Galway route is approximately 220 km, and has 8 intermediate stops. This gives a total journey time of 2 hours 36 minutes, compared to an average of 2 hours 40 minutes for the current train service.

Dublin to Cork is approximately 260 km. Stops vary a bit more, but the maximum is 7. This gives a total journey time of 2 hours 57 minutes, compared to an average of 2 hours 45 minutes for the train service.

The summary numbers for some other routes are:

Dublin-Sligo: 2 hours 39 minutes (3 hours by train).

Dublin-Waterford: 1 hour 51 minutes (2 hrs 30 mins by train)

Dublin-Westport: 2 hours 39 minutes (3 hrs 30 mins by train)

The trains are just too slow, and if we provide a rail link between Cork and the Atlantic Corridor that is as crap as the service around the rest of the country, the locals won't use the thing!
 

joemomma

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You can calculate how long it should take by making some assumptions and applying some maths. Buses have a safe long-distance operating speed of 100 km/h, would not be prevented from maintaining that speed because of the dedicated busway, and have a much shorter stopping distance than trains.
I honestly don't think I'd be too comfortable on a bus which is travelling at a sustained 100km/h over a 2-3 hour journey. In any case, for your figures to add up, 100km/h would have to be the average speed, meaning the bus would need to be travelling at greater speeds for some of the journey. Not my idea of a comfortable ride.

I don't propose that we should tarmac the railways, but I'm intrigued to know whether the trains are actually any faster.
Faster than what? A non-existent mode operating under ideal conditions? I'm not sure that the comparison is all that enlightening.

Kevin Myers once floated this idea of turning all our railways into bus corridors, but it really has very little merit (I know you're only proposing it for comparison purposes). Of courses buses could be quicker if they didn't have to share the road with other traffic - they'd be more like rail. However, they would lack many of the benefits of rail, principally capacity, passenger comfort, and loading speed. Also, the permanent busways would require more land than is currently occupied by rail.

Of course our trains could be faster - they could be TGVs or bullet trains. But with the level of enthusiasm the government displays for investment in public transport, I suspect we'll have to wait a while for that. In the meantime, 2.5 hours on the train to Cork will beat 4 hours plus on the motorway any day. And you can even post to politics.ie on the way!
 

KingKane

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Ulysses said:
KingKane said:
"But bear in mind that a modern fast rail link from Cork to Galway would cost a very large sum of money and would never break even."
And your point?
My point is that transport infrastructure of any kind doesn't make money. You were highlighting the fact that a Galway to Cork line would not break even as if that were a sufficient reason for it not to be considered.

It should be remembered that one of the biggest deals in all public transport is the stopping to pick up passengers and passing through urban centres with 50km limits.
 

Neutral

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new_FF said:
Neutral said:
That campaign seems to focus more on the less important Limerick & Galway to Sligo end of it.

Galway to Cork should be the 1st priority!
Jaysus Neutral, Limerick is between Sligo and Cork for God's sake.

etc.

Have to say I don't get you.

Limerick-Cork can only be done now by changing at Limerick Junction, where you can have to wait for over 40 mins. to get on an already packed train to Cork. The total time is as much as 2:15. (1:50 by Bus Eireann, 1:30 by car)

Ennis-Cork is also via Limerick Juntion and takes 2:35 - 3 hrs. (3hrs. Bus Eireann, 2 hrs. by car, and that's before the completion of the N18 Limerick-Ennis due in 2007)

While you can pedantically say that they are linked, you could also say that every station is linked to every other one via Dublin!

Galway-Cork by train now requires either one or two changes (often via Dublin!) and takes from 4:50 to 6:30! (Bus Eirean is 4:20 and it's 3 hrs. by car.)


When I say linked by rail, I mean directly linked by rail. That means a straight route with no need to change trains and a journey time faster than by car.

That would need a relatively short new line from Castleconnell to Charleville for Ennis/Limerick – Cork and a slightly longer Galway/Athenry – Ennis/Limerick line.

That would allow a quite easy direct route from Galway to Cork, which I believe should be the 1st priority, and would be far less expensive than Galway-Sligo, which could be built then, getting critical mass from travellers from Cork as well as Galway to Sligo.
 

ryano

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This illustration may be useful:



When I say linked by rail, I mean directly linked by rail. That means a straight route with no need to change trains and a journey time faster than by car.
Well, I doubt you're ever going to get a straight route, but that needn't matter too much. The Cork line itself takes a dog leg to get to Charleville.

That would need a relatively short new line from Castleconnell to Charleville for Ennis/Limerick – Cork and a slightly longer Galway/Athenry – Ennis/Limerick line.
Improving Limerick Junction would seem to be a better value approach than laying new line between Limerick and Charleville. The delays and inconveniences you mention above are not necessary functions of the current network design, as far as I'm aware.

As you can see from the diagram above, there is already a (freight only?) line from Athenry to Ennis.
 

Gael

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voiceofretribution said:
It is faily cronic that there are no direct rail lines from the second largest city in this state to the third, fourth or even any other city apart from Dublin in this country, in the words of Jim Mcdaid, every other banana republic would have this sorted out??
It's because of people like Jim McDaid that this country is comparible to a banana republic.
 

blue33

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Gael said:
voiceofretribution said:
It is faily cronic that there are no direct rail lines from the second largest city in this state to the third, fourth or even any other city apart from Dublin in this country, in the words of Jim Mcdaid, every other banana republic would have this sorted out??
It's because of people like Jim McDaid that this country is comparible to a banana republic.
Really? Whys that?
 

Neutral

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Good map Ryano.

Shows that Shannon Galway and Cork airports need rail links too.

It's hard to make out what the status of lines are though.

Does anyone know if there is a freight service from Galway to Ennis??

If there is, there could be some logic for starting with a route north from Galway.

I do think that Limerick Junction is too far inland. Limerick to Charleville should have a relatively direct link.

If you're going from Sligo to Cork, a substantial detour to Limerik Juction is a bit too much to ask.

Though I see your point in a way, an upgrade of Limerick Juction could be a good short term solution. And it opens up the possibility of Galway-Rosslare routes, which could be important for freight.
 

Neutral

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I checked on the Irish Rail site how long it currently takes to get from Sligo to Galway by rail.

The answer I got was "16 hour(s) 15 minutes"!!!!!
 

Neutral

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It's only 2:30 by Bus Eireann and 2 hrs. by car though, which reduces some of the justification for a rail passenger link that doesn't continue on to Cork.
 

ryano

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Shows that Shannon Galway and Cork airports need rail links too.
The only two airports in Ireland which are located within walking distance of a train station are Belfast City and... wait for it... Farranfore.
 

KingKane

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ryano said:
Shows that Shannon Galway and Cork airports need rail links too.
The only two airports in Ireland which are located within walking distance of a train station are Belfast City and... wait for it... Farranfore.
Ryano, you wouldn't want to be dragging a case after you along the road from KIA (seriously!) to Farranfore train station.

There are some interesting ideas around using the new Limerick Tunnel to get a rail line to Shannon and then extend that line to ennis and you'd have a midwest circle line!
 

david

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Neutral said:
Does anyone know if there is a freight service from Galway to Ennis??
Not any more. It was still in use up to about three or four years ago but now the line is in a very bad state of repair in places.
 

ryano

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Ryano, you wouldn't want to be dragging a case after you along the road from KIA (seriously!) to Farranfore train station.
I know, it's purely theoretical. They're quite close but I don't think there's even a continuous footpath between the two.
 

new_FF

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I think we are all in agreement that this issue transcends party politics.

Yes, the initial costs involved are large and obviously the lines will hardly pay for themselves. However that is not the goal.

The goal is to provide routes that will be profitable and attractive to Commuters. Hopefully it would enourage employers to look beyond Dublin as infrastructure is the key disadvantage in that regard.

Overtime the routes would pay for themselves.
 


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