Most of the Luas traffic from Heuston will switch to interconnector; but you are right it was real progress finally providing a link from the busiest mainline rail station in the country to the city centre. I just don't see the passenger numbers to interchange from beyond Drumcoundra in the first place other than from the Airport; most of whom will take any connection to the city centre and take a taxi from there to their end destination. Whether it is Stephens Green or well Stephens Green would make no option but you would feel that Pearse and Heuston with no change would be preferable to O'Connell Street for most visitors
I agree that many will carry on their journey, but Red-line and Luas serve different City Centre catchments (simplistically North and South City). Pearse Station or St Stephen's Green is a long way to O'Connell St from a transport point of view.
I don't think I'm understanding your point about taxis - I assume you're talking about tourists etc from the airport - otherwise taxis are a very expensive way of finishing your journey. The thing is that until there's a network is in place real interchange is not going to happen so seamlessly and the city starts to become more polycentric in terms of how it works. Cologne is a smaller city than Dublin and is served by tram/underground lines (which are interoperable) and interchange between bus, tram, u-bahn is normal - london, paris, berlin etc all achieve this - we don't have this culture among our providers which is reinforced by the ticketing system. I strongly suspect that they just don't get it and need to go!
Irish GDP is roughly â‚¬210bn with the deficit being truely horrific for the next three years and about 2.9% in 2014 when it starts to go back to normal levels; â‚¬500m would result in a deficit figure being above 3% as each â‚¬500m equates to 0.23% of GDP and then there is the annual subvention to the line which would be substantial rasing the cost further.
It's not where I was going with this and your argument seems to work against DART Underground just as much. My point was that even if capital spending were reduced it would still be possible. Capital spending is important to the economy and has a multiplier effect in the short run and and investment return in the long run. The government will continue to invest and its a matter of choice regarding allocations.
There are some great people in both IE and Veolia but I would point to London where underground rail is run by Transport for London and where there have been some spectacular failures with PPP's not least of which were National Express on the East Coast Mainline who unilaterally withdrew and the tubelines project bought back from Bectel and Ferrovial last Friday. The job of Government is to govern and in relation to NBRU/SIPTU at all CIE group companies a succession of ministers have failed abjectly.
The PPP model (I'm not a fan) failed spectacularly in relation to London Underground- accepted.
however, TfL sub-contracts bus operations to operators, which are all branded TfL (London Buses - bright red busses), and the bus network has performed extremely well in (with Ken Livingstone's support). Prob most close to the RPA-Veolia model.
National Express east coast was a franchise which failed, but to be fair to them, they were supposed to pay hundreds of millions back to the Government, but then the economy changed. The service continued (and improved while they ran it) and the Government then took it over - Jo Public barely noticed - I have no problem with that necessarily.
My point throughout is that I don't care how it's run per se. I want an excellent coherent service which is about the journeys that I and others make and not about the internal machinations of organisations that are systemically broken. The CIE group will of course have good people in it, but the organisation is broken and does not have passengers at the core of what they do. I'm not promoting Veolia, but I don't recall reading endless pages about the internal workings of Veolia, I just know that Luas is clean, safe, efficient and convenient - not sure I can apply the same observations to DB/IE? I very much agree with you that this is a failure of political will to emasculate the unions in this regard. I think breaking up the organisations would be ideal, but I suspect 'creeping privatisation' or the threat of may ultimately be the thing which makes them start to put the customer first.
In theory the NTA should be starting with the transport system and passengers and working back from that ... in practice, I fear it's going to be a huge disappointment pandering to the existing status quo - sigh.
You list Gort with a population of 3,000 and Clonmel with a population of 15,000 but both are within 30 minutes drive of stations with good service to Dublin; Derry and Letterkenny trade very effectively between each other and don't have a rail link as is the case with Enniskillen with a similar population to Clonmel of just under 14,000 which has no rail link. It is about using taxpayers money in a manner that delivers services only where the population density merits it.
Examples to prove a point. It's true of the timetabling on the recent WRC - Ennis is a bigger example than Gort - if it's there and your running services, it should be used to serve passengers (and freight if there's any demand), and to feed other services. That IE should be allowed to deliberately (or through incredulous ineptness) be allowed to run services that seem to deliberately not connect with other services, thus undermining their usefulness, is amazing to me and I can't see how anyone can defend deliberately running a bad service!
The airport can be connected in a short Dart spur for a fraction of the cost.
Not to labour the point but, MN is about a corridor, not a single connection point. Plus, I'm not sure a spur into that stretch of the northern line that carries other DART services, intercity and commuter services doesn't just programme in capacity constraints in the future.
Swords was never going to reach anywhere close to 100,000 population; too much of it is already built on with 16 to the acre 3 bed semi's so it is what you would describe as a highly dispersed and nimby rich development pattern; I'd be all in favour of a Dart link from Swords to the Northern line directly extending DART services that currently terminate in Malahide; but if Swords grows at an average even 3,000 people per decade for the next 20 years I will be very surprised. A town of this scale should be connected but claims of 100,000 population projected simply exemplify the flawed predictions that MN relies upon.
Swords was an example - the figure below shows just how much housing was delivered during the boom:
There will be significant housing demand in the future. CSO forecasts imply something like 750,000 additional people living in the the GDA by 2026 over 2011 (-250,000 if you strip away ALL migration to Ireland from outside). With an average household size of 2.8 (and declining), this implies a housing requirement of something like 175,000 units or just shy of 12,000 per annum. This brings us back to the lower end of the range delivered during the Celtic Tiger years. My fear is that allowing this need to be loosely distributed all over the GDA will just reinforce the unsustainable form which has been delivered with gusto outside of the better work occurring within the Dublin authorities (higher densities within more sustainable communities have been achieved). These need to be supported by infrastructure and made viable by supply side constraint in less sustainable locations. Development levies can then be used to support schemes such as DU or MN.
The advantage of this northern corridor is in its future capacity - and the North is better placed to accept further growth that the south (we've hit the mountains!), the west - it's already and unsustainable messy, shapeless sprawl. Growth northwards has been amazingly subdued and represents a realistic growth corridor which could pull a lot of uses together.
I agree with your reasoning of putting MN off; if the airport Dart link fails and if the Northern line post interconnector can't accomodate Swords then clearly it is back to the drawing board. But building an underground under Drumcoundra, Glasnevan and Ballymun will I fear always be doomed to cost more than the loadings that the population density can provide.
An amount of me suspects that you may well be right and the future may not be rosy for MN. I think a DART spur would be a weak second for the airport and wouldn't give the City the room for growth it will need in the next 20yrs and beyond.
Frank's point is that these project will (or could) be paid for over a very long period is valid and you seem to be assuming that other elements of the cost of running the country won't be cut instead (and/or as well). I still believe both are deliverable if the timeframe is slowed down. I get the impression you just don't like MN!!! As an aside we were paying about hundreds of million per junction upgrade on the M50 and no one blinked an eye ... there's something very particular about public transport that seems to get people going and no one seems to question whether or not there is a need/demand/justification for (say) the level to which the Atlantic Corridor is being built out - seems to be a mix of Motorway/Dual Carriageway - seems excessive when 2+1 might have done ... a parting thought - I need to eat!