Irish Railway Record Society
Irish Railway News - Journal 165
RAILWAY PROCUREMENT AGENCY (METRO NORTH)
Drumcondra-Griffith After the end of the consultation process for the five route options put forward for the section between the Drumcondra and Griffith stops (see JOURNAL 164), the RPA decided on the detailed alignment it intends using in its Railway Order application. Taking account of both the issues put forward by the public, as well as the engineering and operating requirements, the RPA selected a route, which combines the best points of two of the options put forward.
The chosen alignment would follow St Joseph’s Ave for a short distance after leaving the Drumcondra stop. It would then turn slightly left to pass under the River Tolka and the eastern end of Griffith Park, before a gentle right-hand turn would see the line following the western boundary of St Patrick’s College. A final slight turn, this time to the left, would take the alignment into the Griffith stop.
Dublin City University Following concerns raised by residents and local representatives about the site of this stop, the RPA has put forward two design options: open air or underground; and two location options: beside Albert College Estate or inside Albert College Park. In all cases there would be emergency ventilation ducts, each approximately 25m2 in area and 2.5m in height, situated at each end of the stop. Stairs and lifts would connect the entrance with the platform level.
The Railway Safety Commission has issued a guideline that the distance between emergency access points should not exceed 1,000m. Locating the stop in Albert College Park would result in the distance to the exit at Ballymun exceeding the RSC’s guideline and requiring the provision of an emergency access point midway between the two stops, in the vicinity of Ballymun library.
Following a period of consultation, the RPA selected an underground station beside Albert College Estate as being the best option. The Agency noted that there was little consensus on the location of the stop from local residents and their representatives, while consultants advised that the environmental impact would be far greater if the station was located inside Albert College Park. In a first step towards mitigating of local residents’ concerns, including those relating to loss of green space, noise, anti-social behaviour, car parking, safe access to local amenities etc, the RPA has decided to move the station a short distance southwards.
On 13 September the RPA announced that it had selected qualified Infrastructure, Rolling Stock and Operator candidates in the first stage of the procurement process for the project. The successful candidates were given until 2 November to form ‘Qualified Bidding Groups’, each consisting of one candidate from each of the above categories. This led to the formation of four groups:
The RPA plans to issue tender documentation to the qualified bidding groups in early 2008.
The RPA has commenced the pre-application process with An Bord Pleanála.
RAILWAY PROCUREMENT AGENCY (METRO WEST)
In October the RPA announced that it had selected the emerging preferred route corridor for Metro West. The chosen route, which will connect Tallaght, Clondalkin, Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown to the proposed Metro North line at Metropark near Dublin Airport, was described in JOURNAL 162 as Route Option 1.
Having selected the best overall route, the RPA will now focus its attention on developing outline designs for the alignment, track layout and stops along the chosen corridor. During this phase of the process further public consultation, including open days, will take place, allowing the possibility of minor variations to the chosen route. Following this phase of consultations the RPA will fix the alignment and commence preparations for an application for a Railway Order.
RAILWAY PROCUREMENT AGENCY (INTEGRATED TICKETING)
The RPA has indicated that a fully integrated ticketing system for the greater Dublin region is unlikely to be operational until 2010. A meeting of Dublin City Council was told that the Agency hoped to launch a ‘Smart Card’ for use on Luas and IÉ services in 2009, thereby offering limited integration.
Clonsilla-Pace On 7 September, CIÉ applied to An Bord Pleanála for a Railway Order to allow construction of the Clonsilla-Dunboyne-Pace line. It will be double track and 7.5km long.
The new track will follow the former Dublin & Meath Railway / MGWR Navan branch, which opened on 29 August 1862. Passenger services were suspended temporarily during the Second World War due to fuel shortages and were finally suspended on 2 January 1947. Goods traffic continued to use the line until it was closed completely by CIÉ on 1 April 1963. The alignment from Clonsilla to Pace is still intact and largely free of development, although no longer in CIÉ ownership.
The route distance is approximately 5km to Dunboyne plus a further 2.5km to a proposed Park+Ride site adjoining the new M3 at Pace. The application noted that the line would be constructed for ‘series 2900 [sic] Diesel Multiple Unit trains. There are plans to electrify the line in the future’.
There is provision for a future station at the planned Strategic Development Zone of Hansfield (near Clonsilla), which will be provided in tandem with other infrastructure and housing developments in the area.
Total annual passenger demand is predicted to be in the region of 2m passengers by 2016. The application said ‘44 trains, increasing to 88 trains over subsequent years, will run from Clonsilla Station to Pace, leading to a peak time service of one train every 15 minutes’.
The proposed journey time Dunboyne to City Centre was quoted at 30 minutes, M3 Park+Ride to City Centre journey time at 33 minutes, ‘service frequency up to every 15 minutes at peak times, subject to developing demand’, and the ‘scheme design will allow for future upgrading to DART service’,
Subject to the granting of the Railway Order it is anticipated that construction of the Clonsilla-Pace section would commence in late 2008, with the line opening in 2010.
The application noted the following:
The former Dunboyne station house on the up side was converted into a dwelling approximately forty years ago. This house will remain in private ownership. A new railway station will be built on the down side. The area has been kept free from development and lands immediately around have been identified as future development areas.
Pace and Dunboyne stations will be to a generic design, and will consist of 174m long platforms, buildings and footbridges. The application also noted that platforms would be constructed for the proposed Hansfield station but that the station will only be constructed when development takes place in the area.
Full cognisance of the River Tolka Flood Study has been taken onboard for the areas around Dunboyne and Bennetstown, which has resulted in the raising of the railway by approximately 2m, which requires the construction of an embankment. It will also require demolition of Bennetstown Bridge, a protected structure.
The application notes the following works to bridges and culverts:
In November IÉ advertised for contractors to perform the following works between Clonsilla and Pace ‘earthworks to bottom of ballast including site clearance, removal of existing track materials, excavation and filling; construction of new stations along the route including platforms, footbridge with lifts, station building, telecoms equipment room; car parking facilities at stations incorporating a 1,200-space park and ride facility at Pace and a 400-space car park at Dunboyne; the construction of 2 new overbridges; the construction of 6 new underbridges; the upgrading of parapet walls and containment at 2 existing bridges; the replacement of the existing bridge deck at Stirling Bridge; demolition of 2 overbridges; the installation of new boundary treatment works along the rail corridor; the installation of new track drainage system including refurbishment of existing culverts and construction of new culverts; electrical and telecoms works to stations including new connections to ESB supply and interface, Public Lighting (roads, stations, car parks), PA systems, CCTV for stations etc.; new permanent way and signalling yard at Pace; approximately 2.5 km of roads and junctions; placement of ballast along the route. New permanent way and signalling work to be installed by IÉ’. The time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate was 17 December.
The public enquiry was held between Monday 10 and Friday 14 December under Inspector David Dunne.
Pace-Navan Roughan O'Donovan - Faber Maunsell undertook the ‘Scoping Study for Phase Two’, Pace-Navan, 18 miles, under the guidance of a steering committee of Meath County Council and IÉ officials. Consultation meetings were held in Dunshaughlin and Navan in February 2007 to seek input on preferred routes and stations. The study examined nine possible routes and was being considered by Meath County Council before Christmas. Newspapers said the consultants found that the project was economically viable, with a return on investment in excess of the Department of Finance guidelines. Project cost in 2007 terms was estimated at €455m, including €284m for construction and €93m for the acquisition of land and property.
The preferred route is the original MGWR line, with some minor deviations, for example at the Black Bull road junction, where part of the M3 under construction has been built into the old alignment (resulting in a possible shift of the rail line to the west), and also at Drumree. Further deviation may also be required at Kilmessan, where the Station House Hotel and eight houses block the old route. Five underbridges will also be required at Trim Road, Bective, Rathregan and two at Fairyhouse. They also reported there would be two proposed stations in Navan, one in the centre of the town and one at the north of the town on the disused Kingscourt line. The line would be double track.
Lobby group Meath on Track welcomed the findings and noted ‘The Boyne Viaduct, a magnificent six-arch stone bridge, has been immaculately preserved as a result of the opportune intervention of local man George Briscoe who prevented explosive demolition of the bridge when the line closed in 1963 and subsequently purchased it from the State for £60. It is currently used to transport cattle across the river. That single purchase made by an individual is expected to save the State the €60m, which it would have to spend on a new viaduct’.
Other A report from the European Parliament Committee on Petitions (EPCP) casts doubts on the Government's decision to press ahead with the new M3 motorway rather than restore the former railway line. In June 2007, the EPCP went on a fact-finding mission to Meath to view the M3 in progress. The committee, which is made up of senior parliamentarians criticised the Government in their October report which, among other things, noted: 'It is surprising that so much emphasis is placed by the Irish authorities on the development of road infrastructure and so little on developing an efficient and more sustainable rail network for passengers and freight. It is surprising that there is no commuter service between Navan and Dublin, and that none is planned before 2015 at the earliest, a fact which condemns and confirms an inevitable choice of motorway construction. These are issues that seriously need to be addressed by the Irish authorities’.
Kingscourt Commuter When queried about possible extensions, IÉ said ‘We have no plans to open the Connolly to Kingscourt line at the moment. However, under Transport 21, we will reopen a line as far as Dunboyne in 2010, and then as far as Navan in 2015’.
Fibre optic cable laying began before Christmas. Track laying is scheduled to commence in February and to be finished by October. Trains are expected to run in Spring 2009.
KILDARE ROUTE PROJECT
Formation and other preparation work continues between Inchicore and Hazelhatch, largely behind fences without any interruption to trains. Sub-ballasted sections for the two new tracks were in place or being worked on over the route. In general the new tracks will be on the north side of the existing tracks, but slewing will be required under several bridges.
Work on bridges is limited by the need to keep local access available at all times and it is not permitted to close adjacent bridges. Only three bridges may be closed at any one time. Starting from Inchicore, the state of bridges and other structures at the end of 2007 was:
Late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning services were suspended in a similar pattern to that noted in JOURNAL 164.
WESTERN RAIL CORRIDOR
Ennis-Athenry Beam re-laying of new track commenced on Tuesday 16 October, starting at Craughwell and heading towards Athenry. Long welded rail (LWR) trains were on site the previous week. Earlier on Tuesday 11 September, 144 was hauling a ballast train discharging between Craughwell and Athenry. On Thursday 18 October, 142+149 were on a re-laying train near Craughwell. The unloaded train departed at 14:00 from Athenry following the 13:05 Galway-Heuston, arriving back into Portlaoise at 17:20.
By mid-December, 31/2 miles of new CWR (Continuous Welded Rail) on concrete sleepers had been laid using the Donelli track laying gantries. The project involves renewal of 36 miles of track, including all necessary fencing and drainage, installation of points and crossings at Gort and renewals in Ennis.
Two turnouts for the new passing loop at Gort were in place by December, with loop track being installed. Elsewhere, cabling work was in evidence. Six underbridges had been renewed and three level crossings closed, with many others planned.
IÉ applied to Galway County Council for planning permission to remove old platforms at Gort and Ardrahan to ‘achieve the required track safety clearance’. Separate permission will be sought for the new stations. A 90m long platform with shelter, ticket vending machine, car park, public address, customer information systems, help point and CCTV systems will be provided at Sixmilebridge, Gort, Ardrahan, Craughwell and Oranmore. These stations will also be accessible to the mobility impaired. New public address, customer information systems, help point and CCTV systems will be provided at Ennis and Athenry stations.
The project represents investment of €106.5m and Limerick-Galway trains are expected to commence operation in 2009.
Galway-Tuam The vice-chairman of the Inter Counties Rail Committee, Councillor Michael Connolly, Fianna Fáil, said the committee want to see major changes to the plans for Ceannt station, Galway, as they will impact on the rail link to Tuam and on to Mayo. He says there is growing concern that those involved in the proposal have only factored in train travel requirements to 2012 while they should be planning for rail travel up to 2025. ‘We feel that some of the work planned for Ceannt station has nothing to do with public transport. There is a lot of emphasis on building development on the site. If it goes ahead in its present form we in our organisation will be very unhappy and those using public transport will be unhappy too’. His organisation will be writing both to IÉ and the Minister for Transport about their concerns
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