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Why do Fine Gael commit to the Western Rail Corridor?


Schuhart

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Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
4,844
How is it that the only commitment to a named rail project in the Fine Gael election manifesto is to the Western Rail Corridor?
Extract from page 81 Western Rail Corridor

• Fine Gael will support the reopening of the line from Ennis to Sligo and will re-open the WRC as far as Claremorris, during our first term in Government and instigate a Railway Order to Coolooney.
Before we mistakenly chase off down the ‘balanced regional development’ discussion, let us firstly recall that what we are talking about is reinstating a service that will be slower than road. Hence, we don’t even need to get into how if people in Mayo really want rail they’d want to stop building those one-off houses.

This project thrives on misinformation and the knee-jerk reaction of people in the West to support anything with ‘West’ in the title. But it just doesn’t do what it says on the tin. There’s a lengthy feature on the project in the Farmers Journal which fails to get to the nub of the issue. Take this point
When Ann Melia moved from Dublin to Claremorris, Co Mayo, in 1999, she hoped to find a better quality of life in rural Ireland. However, with a gruelling 88-mile daily drive to work in Galway City, the mother of two says "the jury is out". And all because of the lack of a commuter rail service in the west.

"When you travel 440 miles a week, there isn't much left of you," she explained. "In 1999, I'd leave Claremorris at 7.30am and be in Galway for 8.20am. My journey now takes me one hour and 10 minutes. I leave the house at 6.30am and I'm now waking up at 5.15am every morning. Am I going to have to get up at 4.15am next? It's absurd."
Leaving aside the absurdity of moving to a rural area to get a cheaper and bigger house and only then noticing the need to commute 88 miles (well, duh). The implicit suggestion is that the WRC can do something for this woman. However, when you look at the timetable of the proposed service you actually find the journey time from Claremorris to Galway will be one hour and fifteen minutes, or longer than by car – without taking into account journey time to and from the stations at both ends.

Also, as the rail line is single track, there will only be three services in each direction per day. So a Claremorris commuter would only have one train in each direction that potentially suits. a departure at 7:35am that arrives in Galway at 8:50am and a solitary evening departure from Galway at 17:25pm (which gets back to Claremorris at 18:39pm).

Hence, clearly the WRC is a joke.

What's wrong with just admitting the WRC is a bad idea and a waste of money? How does the West gain by piling money into a big heap and setting fire to it? How are our Kyoto commitments helped by burning diesel to send empty rail cars about? How are commuters helped by an infrequent service that takes longer to get them where they need to go? Why the need to give it special mention in a manifesto, where more substantial projects that would actually bring benefits are bundled together into a meaningless and vaguely positive statement that commits to nothing?
 

wildmind

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Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
106
This is the only country in Europe where people would question the linking of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities by rail (the line will link Cork Limerick and Galway)

You know if we had any wit and actually invested in a rail system to french standards Dublin to Cork would take about 1hr 10 minutes?

But we prefer global warming roads.
 

covert

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
11
wildmind said:
This is the only country in Europe where people would question the linking of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities by rail (the line will link Cork Limerick and Galway)

You know if we had any wit and actually invested in a rail system to french standards Dublin to Cork would take about 1hr 10 minutes?

But we prefer global warming roads.
No, this is actually the only country in Europe where the regional development and balance is so non-existent, that it means that an economic case for linking the 2nd, 3rd or 4th cities by rail cannot be made.

Likewise, the population of our 2nd city means that a high-speed rail like the TGV between Dublin and Cork wouldn't justify the cost (not that anyone's preserved a route for it - high-speed rail is like a motorway: you don't just upgrade an existing road/line, you've got to build a brand new one that's straight, doesn't have level crossings, and - oh yeah - that doesn't have backwoods politicians looking for a stop at every hamlet along the way). And if it did take just 1hr 10 mins to get to Cork, it would turn Cork into a dormitory town of Dublin!

The WRC is in FG's manifesto explicitly because Enda is a Mayoman who cannot afford to have the very vocal and active WRC lobby on his case, while FF can pat O'Cuiv on the head and say "yes Eamon we'll do it now you go and shore up the western vote" for the same reasons.
 

eurocrat

Active member
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
231
The West Rail Corridor is not an end to itself. It is merely the beginning of the substantial upgrade in public transport infrastructure in the West of Ireland. It will only be one track at the moment but that will be upgraded in time. There is an issue as to whether Rail transport will be the fastest way getting from Tuam or Claremorris to Galway considering the route it is taking (via Athenry) however we are looking to built on existing rail at the moment.

I believe there is a need to link up the rail in the West of Ireland, but special focus must be placed on the provision of commuter services from both Athenry and Tuam (with adequate parking facilities a both stations). After that a twice daily service from Galway to Sligo should suffice. The timetable you see on the website is by no mean final.
 

joel

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Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
810
covert said:
wildmind said:
This is the only country in Europe where people would question the linking of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities by rail (the line will link Cork Limerick and Galway)

You know if we had any wit and actually invested in a rail system to french standards Dublin to Cork would take about 1hr 10 minutes?

But we prefer global warming roads.
No, this is actually the only country in Europe where the regional development and balance is so non-existent, that it means that an economic case for linking the 2nd, 3rd or 4th cities by rail cannot be made.

Likewise, the population of our 2nd city means that a high-speed rail like the TGV between Dublin and Cork wouldn't justify the cost (not that anyone's preserved a route for it - high-speed rail is like a motorway: you don't just upgrade an existing road/line, you've got to build a brand new one that's straight, doesn't have level crossings, and - oh yeah - that doesn't have backwoods politicians looking for a stop at every hamlet along the way). And if it did take just 1hr 10 mins to get to Cork, it would turn Cork into a dormitory town of Dublin!

The WRC is in FG's manifesto explicitly because Enda is a Mayoman who cannot afford to have the very vocal and active WRC lobby on his case, while FF can pat O'Cuiv on the head and say "yes Eamon we'll do it now you go and shore up the western vote" for the same reasons.
You don't suppose improvements in infrastructure would encourage regional development?
 

locke

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Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
3,090
wildmind said:
This is the only country in Europe where people would question the linking of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities by rail (the line will link Cork Limerick and Galway)
Reopening the relatively short stretch between Ennis and Athenry would achieve this.

You can divide the line into 4 section
Ennis-Athenry = No brainer
Athenry-Tuam = Case for it as a commuter line if the local authority can zone for development on the line
Tuam-Claremorris = Pretty hard to justify. The best you can do is say that once you've got to Tuam, you may as well go on to Claremorris to link up to Castlebar, Westpot and Ballina.
Claremorris-Collooney = Absolutely ridiculous. The line was never built for heavy rail anyway, so you effectively have to rebuild to put a service on iy.
 

eurocrat

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Dec 23, 2004
Messages
231
covert said:
The WRC is in FG's manifesto explicitly because Enda is a Mayoman who cannot afford to have the very vocal and active WRC lobby on his case, while FF can pat O'Cuiv on the head and say "yes Eamon we'll do it now you go and shore up the western vote" for the same reasons.
The WRC will only go through a tiny part of O'Cuiv's constituency - the Oranmore to Galway city bit (about 5miles of track). Now Oranmore is not O'Cuiv country let me tell you and that rail line is operation in any case, it just that it there is not train station in Oranmore.
 

covert

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Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
11
eurocrat said:
covert said:
The WRC is in FG's manifesto explicitly because Enda is a Mayoman who cannot afford to have the very vocal and active WRC lobby on his case, while FF can pat O'Cuiv on the head and say "yes Eamon we'll do it now you go and shore up the western vote" for the same reasons.
The WRC will only go through a tiny part of O'Cuiv's constituency - the Oranmore to Galway city bit (about 5miles of track). Now Oranmore is not O'Cuiv country let me tell you and that rail line is operation in any case, it just that it there is not train station in Oranmore.
O'Cuiv is FF's Minister for the West in all but name. His job is to trumpet what is being done in the west, or create noise where nothing is being done. That and change the names of towns against the wishes of their population.
 

parish pump

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Mar 3, 2006
Messages
7
The WRC and Luas for Galway will be an unbelievable waste of taxpayers money.Its parish pump politics at its worst.
 

Schuhart

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Jul 24, 2006
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Wolverine said:
Good idea to Tuam from Ennis, after that the Jury is out.
A few have mentioned Ennis to Tuam or Athenry. But is there any actual substantiation for that? Bear in mind the alleged ‘success’ of the Limerick Ennis service really comes from increases in Ennis –Dublin traffic. I not aware of any objective study, such as that carried out for the reopening of the Dunboyne line, that suggests there is a case for any of the WRC. The McCann report, rather comically, stated that it was impossible to quantify how many passengers might use the service. Given that we already have the example of low usage of the Limerick Waterford service, that’s simply not the case.
joel said:
You don't suppose improvements in infrastructure would encourage regional development?
They might, but are you suggesting that reopening an occasional rail service with a longer journey time than road is an improvements in infrastructure? The complaints about the WRC is that it achieves nothing. I pose those questions again:

How does the West gain by piling money into a big heap and setting fire to it?

How are our Kyoto commitments helped by burning diesel to send empty rail cars about?

How are commuters helped by an infrequent service that takes longer to get them where they need to go?
eurocrat said:
The timetable you see on the website is by no mean final.
It’s a single track, so you’ll find there’s not much they can do about the timetable and the journey time will be hard to alter given the nature of the original route.

The idea is just a crock. Why the need to suspend reality and maintain otherwise? Its already failed objective scrutiny, yet it gets in ahead of, say, Cork commuter services that actually are objectively justified.
 

eurocrat

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Dec 23, 2004
Messages
231
covert said:
O'Cuiv is FF's Minister for the West in all but name. His job is to trumpet what is being done in the west, or create noise where nothing is being done. That and change the names of towns against the wishes of their population.
That is an extermely simplistic analysis. I am guessing you are not form the West?

The FFer behind this would be Noel Tracy, not O'Cuiv. Although O'Cuiv is Minister for Rural Affairs it is Tracy's stomping ground. O'Cuiv's ground is Connemara where he recently opened a new airport.
 

joel

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Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
810
Schuhart said:
Wolverine said:
Good idea to Tuam from Ennis, after that the Jury is out.
A few have mentioned Ennis to Tuam or Athenry. But is there any actual substantiation for that? Bear in mind the alleged ‘success’ of the Limerick Ennis service really comes from increases in Ennis –Dublin traffic. I not aware of any objective study, such as that carried out for the reopening of the Dunboyne line, that suggests there is a case for any of the WRC. The McCann report, rather comically, stated that it was impossible to quantify how many passengers might use the service. Given that we already have the example of low usage of the Limerick Waterford service, that’s simply not the case.
joel said:
You don't suppose improvements in infrastructure would encourage regional development?
They might, but are you suggesting that reopening an occasional rail service with a longer journey time than road is an improvements in infrastructure? The complaints about the WRC is that it achieves nothing. I pose those questions again:

How does the West gain by piling money into a big heap and setting fire to it?

How are our Kyoto commitments helped by burning diesel to send empty rail cars about?

How are commuters helped by an infrequent service that takes longer to get them where they need to go?
eurocrat said:
The timetable you see on the website is by no mean final.
It’s a single track, so you’ll find there’s not much they can do about the timetable and the journey time will be hard to alter given the nature of the original route.

The idea is just a crock. Why the need to suspend reality and maintain otherwise? Its already failed objective scrutiny, yet it gets in ahead of, say, Cork commuter services that actually are objectively justified.
In your world everyone will have a car or need to have a car. How will that help Global Warming?
 

cowboyted

New member
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
3
WRC is a start...

By linking the two and allowing a rail line to from Sligo to Limerick it could open up the west.

Move the Galway Airport to Oranmore and the Rail could link there as well. Open up development of a proper developed town more in the Poundbury model in England just more Irish. So they can go to work quickly using train and the car ca be left at home.
 

joel

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Joined
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Messages
810
cowboyted said:
WRC is a start...

By linking the two and allowing a rail line to from Sligo to Limerick it could open up the west.

Move the Galway Airport to Oranmore and the Rail could link there as well. Open up development of a proper developed town more in the Poundbury model in England just more Irish. So they can go to work quickly using train and the car ca be left at home.
Yes and don't forget tourism - people without cars need to be able to get about the country.
 

covert

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
11
joel said:
Yes and don't forget tourism - people without cars need to be able to get about the country.
They can - by bus. We're going to reopen a rail line for occasional tourist business, and not worry as it eats taxpayers resources for the off-season?

Fact of the matter is that the same people who demand the WRC as the right of the Westt for regional development, are the same people who have permitted, and indeed lobbied for, one-off, low density housing right along the WRC's supposed catchment area, a type of housing that is the enemy of rail travel.

And like it or lump it, O'Cuiv is the senior government cheerleader for the WRC - who delivers the keynote to the West-on-Track conferences? Who acts as a backbencher by criticising the lack of Western investment?

I'll give you a clue: on ballot papers, his surname begins with C.
 

locke

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May 2, 2007
Messages
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Schuhart said:
Given that we already have the example of low usage of the Limerick Waterford service, that’s simply not the case.
I'm not sure they're comparable. Ennis-Athenry would link Galway to Cork and Limerick (and Waterford). As Galway is the same size as Limerick and Limerick and Cork have a vastly bigger combined size than Waterford, demand should be higher.

Also, it was pointed out on another thread recently that there is no through service from Limerick to Waterford any more; you have to change at Limerick Junction. That doesn't help the figures for the numbers using it.
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
69
joel said:
covert said:
wildmind said:
This is the only country in Europe where people would question the linking of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cities by rail (the line will link Cork Limerick and Galway)

You know if we had any wit and actually invested in a rail system to french standards Dublin to Cork would take about 1hr 10 minutes?

But we prefer global warming roads.
No, this is actually the only country in Europe where the regional development and balance is so non-existent, that it means that an economic case for linking the 2nd, 3rd or 4th cities by rail cannot be made.

Likewise, the population of our 2nd city means that a high-speed rail like the TGV between Dublin and Cork wouldn't justify the cost (not that anyone's preserved a route for it - high-speed rail is like a motorway: you don't just upgrade an existing road/line, you've got to build a brand new one that's straight, doesn't have level crossings, and - oh yeah - that doesn't have backwoods politicians looking for a stop at every hamlet along the way). And if it did take just 1hr 10 mins to get to Cork, it would turn Cork into a dormitory town of Dublin!

The WRC is in FG's manifesto explicitly because Enda is a Mayoman who cannot afford to have the very vocal and active WRC lobby on his case, while FF can pat O'Cuiv on the head and say "yes Eamon we'll do it now you go and shore up the western vote" for the same reasons.
You don't suppose improvements in infrastructure would encourage regional development?
Of course it would. It's hard to believe the myopia that still abounds when it comes to transport.
 

Schuhart

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Jul 24, 2006
Messages
4,844
joel said:
In your world everyone will have a car or need to have a car. How will that help Global Warming?
What makes everyone need a car is building all those one-off houses in the countryside, which means no public transport service is feasible and hence no solution to global warming is possible.
cowboyted said:
WRC is a start...

By linking the two and allowing a rail line to from Sligo to Limerick it could open up the west.
Again, you really aren’t reading the thread. The WRC is not a start, as it’s a service that is slower than road. A start would be to stop building all those one-off houses and concentrate new housing developments in Galway city and in sizeable towns already served by rail.

I say again, because these questions remain unanswered:
How does the West gain by piling money into a big heap and setting fire to it?

How are our Kyoto commitments helped by burning diesel to send empty rail cars about?

How are commuters helped by an infrequent service that takes longer to get them where they need to go?
 

jdwex

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Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
283
It is not really a case of just "reopening" Claremorris-Collooney , my understanding is that the line would have to be completelyt rebuilt. As it stands there would be too many level crossings on the existing alignment for a viable service.
 
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