Irish Railway Record Society
JOURNAL 192 IRISH RAILWAY NEWS
TRANSPORT AUTHORITY (NTA)
RAIL REVIEW 2016-2030
NTA’s Rail Review, already the subject of much debate (both in railway and
national media), was considered by Cabinet on 15 November 2016 and later
published. It says the semi-State body needs an extra €103 million a year over
the next five years to ensure its survival.
less than 10 per cent of those who commute into and around Dublin travel by
rail, worsening congestion on the capital’s roads is likely to mean commuting
numbers, including those who travel by Luas, will rise from the current 7 per
cent figure, the Review predicts.
the railways are failing, or unable to deal with, commuters in the other cities.
1 per cent of people working in Cork, Limerick and Waterford travel by rail.
Cork, houses have been built away from existing stations, rather than near them,
making rail travel unattractive: “[This] is a major issue for the city and
needs to be addressed,” the Review says.
irrelevant Meanwhile, rail commuting
is “almost irrelevant” in Galway. Fewer than 400 people travel into the city
on the Galway/Limerick line. Galway’s scale and density makes proper commuter
services unlikely “even in the long term”.
Waterford, “the use of rail for travel to work is negligible and is likely to
remain so given the populations and scale of demand”. In Limerick, rail will
find it “extremely challenging to play a significant role”.
rural routes should be considered for closure, the Review argues. The Limerick
to Ballybrophy (via Nenagh) line carries as few as 22,856 passengers a year,
costing approximately €550 per passenger.
Limerick Junction to Waterford line carries 35,018 passengers annually at a cost of
€362.40 per head.
Review says all five stations between Ballybrophy and Limerick – Roscrea,
Cloughjordan, Nenagh, Birdhill and Castleconnell – and all four stations
between Limerick Junction and Waterford – Tipperary, Cahir, Clonmel and
Carrick-on-Suir – are among the 15 least-used on the network.
Labour TD Alan Kelly has criticised closure calls, saying more investment is
needed. Vital pieces of infrastructure should be protected and were not designed
to make profits.
idea that only profitable public transport routes should be maintained would
lead to the withdrawal of public transport from whole swathes of both urban and
rural Ireland,” he said.
Review also suggests the Ennis to Athenry line, which was revived in 2010 at a
cost of €100 million, might be a target for closure, though its possible
expansion is mentioned in the coalition deal.
the link, Minister of State Seán Canney said passenger numbers had doubled over
the past year, helped by online ticketing and more useful timetables.
stations accounted for some 46 per cent of total boardings nationally and 48 per
cent of total alightings. With the exception of Cork’s Kent Station, all of
the top 10 stations were located in Dublin.
Franks, chief executive of IÉ, said the State subvention must rise, or else
fares will have to. The current level of funding is “unsustainable” and was
the primary cause for the deterioration of the infrastructure.
as well: Passenger
numbers are continuing to climb, with fleet capacity currently under the demand
curve. To solve this in the medium term, two proposals are in place. The first
is the refurbishment of “14 Class 2700 sets”, with 11 sets in service and 3
spare. This is estimated to cost €300,000 per vehicle. The other option under
consideration is up to 48 new ICR ‘B’ centre cars, although with 80 seats
and no toilets (compared to the current 72 and 1 toilet). These are estimated to
cost up to €2.6 million each. Both options require significant investment but
are required to cope with rising passenger numbers.
Review was posted for public consultation from 15 November 2016 until 18 January
full Review is available to view on www.nationaltransport.ie/consultations/consultation-on-rail-review-2016/
results from the passenger census conducted on 19 November 2015 were released as
both an independent report and as part of the Rail Review. As before, it was
conducted on a “typical day”, with the favoured Thursday being used.
before, the busiest stations were in Dublin (Connolly, Pearse, Heuston and Tara
Street), the busiest train being the 08:00 Greystones – Malahide (1336
passengers total, 923 maximum at one time). A total of 141, 477 journeys were
made, an increase of 13% over the similar survey done in 2014.
full report is available on the National Transport Authority website.
STATEMENT TO JOINT OIREACHTAS (PARLIAMENTARY) COMMITTEE ON TOURISM, TRANSPORT
GDA Transport Strategy 2016-2035, approved by the Minister earlier this year,
sets out how the vision for greater use of sustainable transport could be
delivered by 2035 allowing also for a 29% increase in transport demand over that
strategy outlines the heavy and light rail networks and the core bus network, as
well as a supporting cycling network and demand management measures that are
necessary to ensure that 55% of the trips to work in 2035 are made by
sustainable modes (up from 38% in 2011).
cost of all the measures in the strategy is €10bn, which averages at €500m
each year over the 20-year horizon of the strategy. Delivering these projects
will accrue an overall benefit to cost ratio of 1.5 to 1. However, the current
capital funding for improvements to public transport are not at the levels
required to meet the GDA Strategy goals.
€350m is provided each year for the next three years for public transport
across the state which includes the funding required for steady-state funding of
the rail network across the entire State. The Authority will shortly publish its
statutory Draft Implementation Plan, which will set out what can be delivered
within the current financial envelope in the next six years.
in Travel Following a period of
reduced transport usage and suppressed transport growth, both in relation to
private car use and also public transport patronage, 2014 saw the start of a
reversal of these trends. Public transport usage has increased for all modes
since then – bus, Luas and commuter rail.
Paralleling the changes in public transport, car travel has also
increased across the Dublin region since 2014.
Demand for travel is now on the increase and patronage on public
transport is growing. To date in 2016, passenger numbers continue to grow with
an estimated outturn growth of about 5% expected by the end of the year.
trend of increased overall demand is expected to continue and accelerate, with
further economic recovery and population growth envisaged over the next 5 years.
is unlikely that all such demands can be met within existing service provision
and capacity, particularly within the City and other urban areas where
population growth will be highest, and where existing peak capacity is already
is being delivered now? Over the
next year, the following transport improvements will be delivered:
Cross City will commence services at the end of 2017;
services from the Kildare Rail Line linking with the City Centre through the
Phoenix Park Tunnel have just commenced;
10-minute DART service will be provided from early 2017; and
buses will be acquired and additional capacity added on busy routes currently
experiencing high passenger numbers in peak hours.
will be delivered as part of the Capital Plan up to 2022?
additional bus fleet and improvements in bus corridors;
and planning for construction of New Metro North;
of DART to Balbriggan and designs for electrification of commuter sections of
Kildare and Maynooth lines;
of DART Underground; and
of a new national train control centre.
the City region cannot wait for these projects to be delivered. Rail projects
have a long lead-in time. Work must commence immediately on improvements to the
bus infrastructure across the region in order to meet the growing demand and
offer an attractive alternative to car drivers.
needs to be delivered now?
development of bus lane provision on the Priority Bus Corridors forming the Core
enhancement in terms of bus fleet numbers and bus services;
of Bus Rapid Transit services on some high passenger volume bus routes;
of higher frequency and amended rail services on certain commuter routes into
Dublin which requires investment in new rail carriages;
such as Park & Ride provision and fares initiatives; and
delivery of key elements of the cycling network.
the short term, improvements in the core bus network are proposed until rail
infrastructure can be built to match demand.
a welcome move, the majority of rail fares were frozen at 2016 levels for 2017.
However, Leap Card fares have moved to a distance-based rather than zone-based
charging, resulting in some fare increases as well as decreases. The Dublin
Short-Hop Zone (Leap Card Zone) has been extended to Sallins/Naas on the Heuston
line and Kilcoole on the Rosslare line. Both should improve loadings, especially
from an already busy Sallins, via the new Phoenix Park Tunnel service.
Éireann – Moving Sallins/Naas and Kilcoole into the Short Hop Zone, no
increase in day Intercity fares, increase of 2% on Adult and Child Weekly and
Monthly Intercity tickets
- Merge Zone 3 and Zone 4 fares resulting in changes from -4.2% to + 7.4%, 10 to
20 cent increase on adult single cash fares, an d adult monthly and annual
taxsaver fares + 9.9%.
launch by the NTA of a public consultation on plans for Sandymount to Blackrock
‘bottleneck’ were reported in The
Irish Times of 27 October 2016.
continuous pedestrian and cycle route running from Irishtown, on the city centre
side of the strand, to the Seapoint area of Monkstown is included in the
closure of the railway level crossing at Merrion Gates to through traffic and a
new link road between Merrion Road and Strand Road are also proposed in a
consultation document released by the NTA and Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
The scheme was put out to public consultation until 16 December 2016.
chief executive Anne Graham said the scheme, if approved by An Bord Pleanála,
would cost between €40 million and €48 million and would take two years to
complete. The NTA confirmed the compulsory purchase of approximately 35
properties would be required.
aims to improve the rail service as well as travel times for buses and cars, and
to eliminate accidents and “near-misses” at Merrion Gates.
of the scheme involves a realignment of Strand Road, incorporating a new bridge
over the rail line about 250m to the north of the current level crossing
full details of the scheme and the consultation were available at
Leap Family Card was a promotional ticket to encourage families to use public
transport around Dublin during the 1916 commemorations of the Easter 1916
Rising. It could be used by 2 adults and up to 4 children (until their 19th
birthday). It was valid for 24 hours after the first occasion of use on all Luas
trams, scheduled Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services, and DART and suburban
trains within the Short Hop area.
was a promotional ticket that could only be used until 31 December 2016. A
maximum of 10 Leap Family Cards could be purchased per order, but were only
available while stocks lasted. Users were warned that if they had more than one
Leap Card, to ensure that they only put the one they wanted to use near the
validator. If a Leap Family Card was validated by accident, it would
automatically expire after 24 hours.
Family Card proved to be popular and ceased to be available after 2 November.
FOR RAILWAY REGULATION
Wednesday 21 December, the Commission for Railway Regulation released their
annual report for the year 2015.
Whilst Iarnród Éireann was taking a “noticeable different approach to safety
regulation”, the report stated that it had successfully encouraged key staff
to “implement improvements for the benefit of rail safety”. The CRR produced
a draft Safety Management System report (with the help of DNV-GL, a High
Reliability Organisation), which was rejected by IÉ. However a copy was leaked
to the media, resulting in the draft being formally issued. This has resulted in
“healthy tension” between the two organisations.
of an IÉ Safety Committee.
Passed at Danger increased from 10 in 2014 to 15 in 2015 (down from 18 in 2013
and 22 in 2010).
other reportable incidents are listed, including 7 derailments (all in yards).
MkIV Intercity Carriages were authorised for service operation on the entire IÉ
network during 2015”.
A new SMS was
adopted by Transdev in 2015, resulting in two audits. One highlighted minor
non-compliances and the other resulted in no non-compliances.
Ireland Railways: A
minor audit on train crew was conducted during 2015. This highlighted a number
of deficiencies regarding formal recording systems to monitor training and
A number of areas
required action to be taken during the audit of Q4 (the fourth quarter of the
year) in 2015.
full report is available at www.crr.ie/publications/annual-report-2015/.
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