Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby Contraband » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:24 am

First off I would like to say that this is an entirely speculative thread.

As Shannon airport lies just 15 mi (24 km) north of Limerick city, does anyone see a future for a rail line connecting the two destinations?
This would be no Metro North by any means, it would be above ground and would entail few stops.
Perhaps all it could be is a spur off of the Limerick - Galway rail line?
Once Metro North is completed (and the dark economic days are behind us), I believe that a rail link for Limerick-Shannon Intl' (or a spur off of the Limerick - Galway line) could be a viable infrastructure investment. After all, the airport is the 3rd busiest in Ireland (I would have said second, but apparently Cork is busier!?)

What do you guys think?
Contraband
Member
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:02 am

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby PaulC » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:59 am

I use Shannon airport for about 6-7 return flights a year and I am always surprised at how quiet the airport is at all times. I don't see the rail link as being successful at all. A start would be to have a more regular bus service from Shannon Airport to Limerick. At the moment there is only 1 bus an hour. One every half an hour would be more satisfactory.
PaulC
Member
 
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Kent UK

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby jungle » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:22 am

What there may be a case for is connecting Shannon town and Shannon industrial estate to Limerick by rail. Shannon Airport could then end up served as a consequence. As a standalone destination, it probably doesn't cut it.

Remember Shannon Airport now handles significantly fewer passengers than Cork (mostly because Shannon is declining faster rather than Cork growing faster) and nobody is talking of a rail link in Cork. Granted the terrain would make a link harder in Cork, but Cork could also be combined with a service to the city's southern suburbs.
jungle
Member
 
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:11 pm

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby zulutango » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:48 am

firstly, we shouldn't be trying to justify a rail connection solely on the economics of it. A rail link is a service, and can justifiably be a loss-leader if it encourages population growth, industrial investment, etc. There are not many examples of railways in the world that are designed to make a profit. That's why they are generally under State control, as the State recognises that investing in rail brings wider benefits to a country than simply revenue.

Secondly, we should not ever look at the current situation when we are deciding to invest in large infrastructual projects. We should be looking to the future, and far into the future for that matter.

Now, I think the Mid-west region is the natural candidate to be the counter-balance to the Dublin metro region that this country is crying out for. With that in mind, and considering the points above, and looking to how the Mid-west should develop over the next 50 years, then, yes, a rail link to the airport merits strong consderation at the very least.
zulutango
Member
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:21 pm

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby jungle » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:42 am

I'm not sure why the Mid-West would have a greater claim on being a counter-balance to Dublin than the South or the West.

As for the idea that railway lines will just bring growth. How did that work out on the Waterford-Rosslare line or Limerick-Ballybrophy line?

There's a lot of other factors that need to be in place to promote growth.

Like I said, tie it up with a service to Shannon Town and the Industrial Estate and there may be some merit. Just put in a service to Shannon Airport and it risks being a white elephant.
jungle
Member
 
Posts: 424
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:11 pm

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby justnotbothered » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:22 am

jungle wrote:I'm not sure why the Mid-West would have a greater claim on being a counter-balance to Dublin than the South or the West.

As for the idea that railway lines will just bring growth. How did that work out on the Waterford-Rosslare line or Limerick-Ballybrophy line?



While Limerick may or may not be the obvious counter balance to Dublin, Shannon Airport is the obvious counterbalance to Dublin airport, it's (roughly) 70k from Galway, 20k from Limerick, 110k from both Cork and Waterford. With proper links in place it's better placed than any of the other airports, imo. A rail link could help with it's development, if we had a proper rail network in Ireland, but we don't. In the spirit of Zulu's post, we should begin by re-orientating our rail network so that a person could get from Cork, Waterford, Limerick or Galway to Shannon, and vice versa, easily. Ideally we'd also have a road network that would get you from the outskirts of Cork or Waterford to the doorstep in Shannon in about an hour (motorway speed limit 120km/h, distance 110km).

We need (rapidly) to change the Dublin-centric focus of development in Ireland.
justnotbothered
Member
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:52 pm

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby PVC King » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:56 am

There were proposals a few years ago by the developers of the Sky town/centre or some other similarly named project to completely fund and deliver a spur from the Limerick - Ennis line as a planning condition / carrott.

If one were looking at this one would need to look at connecting Limerick / Ennis / Shannon in a triangular fashion; i.e. building a branch line from the Limerick / Ennis line to Shannon / Airport to an intermediate point where trains to both Limerick and Ennis would each stop at the same time allowing the Shannon service to pick up passengers from both urban centres which are the principal urban connections of Shannon.

My fear would be that there may not be enough demand to justify sufficiently frequent services between Limerick and Ennis to justify say 30 minute or even hourly frequencies between the 2 centres; without a good service to plug into the fear is that the Shannon line may not wash its face.

What may be a very positive piece of groundwork may be to try to increase the number of stations between Limerick and Ennis; if the Dublin Underground Interconnector gets built there may be a lot of additional diesel rolling stock which can't be used in the underground and due to Ireland having a unique track gauge cannot be exported; once the Dart Underground is signed off there will be surplus rolling stock due to any replacements of rolling stock being electrically powered units. Building additional stations would be the only capital cost of testing this strategy to ascertain if commuter rail can form a significant part of transport provision in the Mid West; in the shorter term there may be additional rolling stock from the now closed Waterford/Rosslare route.
PVC King
 

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby Contraband » Sat Jul 31, 2010 10:38 am

PVC King wrote:There were proposals a few years ago by the developers of the Sky town/centre or some other similarly named project to completely fund and deliver a spur from the Limerick - Ennis line as a planning condition / carrott.

If one were looking at this one would need to look at connecting Limerick / Ennis / Shannon in a triangular fashion; i.e. building a branch line from the Limerick / Ennis line to Shannon / Airport to an intermediate point where trains to both Limerick and Ennis would each stop at the same time allowing the Shannon service to pick up passengers from both urban centres which are the principal urban connections of Shannon.

My fear would be that there may not be enough demand to justify sufficiently frequent services between Limerick and Ennis to justify say 30 minute or even hourly frequencies between the 2 centres; without a good service to plug into the fear is that the Shannon line may not wash its face.

What may be a very positive piece of groundwork may be to try to increase the number of stations between Limerick and Ennis; if the Dublin Underground Interconnector gets built there may be a lot of additional diesel rolling stock which can't be used in the underground and due to Ireland having a unique track gauge cannot be exported; once the Dart Underground is signed off there will be surplus rolling stock due to any replacements of rolling stock being electrically powered units. Building additional stations would be the only capital cost of testing this strategy to ascertain if commuter rail can form a significant part of transport provision in the Mid West; in the shorter term there may be additional rolling stock from the now closed Waterford/Rosslare route.


Interesting point about having a surplus in diesel trains in the near future; do you really think the lads at Iarnród Éireann though would see the benefit of spending money by creating new lines and stations to provide use for these trains?
Perhaps they would, they do seem to be getting more pro-active by the year.

What would the likelihood of (any) private investor building such lines and reaping the benefits? (like Virgin Rail in the UK). I think if I remember rightly a Chinese company wanted to construct the entire Dublin Metro 'free-of-charge,' as long as they built it with Chinese laborers and received all cash flow into it afterwards.
Contraband
Member
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:02 am

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby PVC King » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:28 am

I think if I remember rightly a Chinese company wanted to construct the entire Dublin Metro 'free-of-charge,' as long as they built it with Chinese laborers and received all cash flow into it afterwards.


It was Mitsui & Co Ltd if I remember correctly who would have completed what is now the Luas Green Line and a link to the Airport as a private enterprise; i.e. the then government would have signed over the track bed of the former Harcourt St to Bray Railway and then the operator would have delivered a service to the public at no cost to the exchequer but would have had complete pricing freedom. Sadly this was rejected by the 1997-2002 administration; no other similar proposal has ever emerged.

What would the likelihood of (any) private investor building such lines and reaping the benefits? (like Virgin Rail in the UK).


In typical Bransonesque fashion Virgin Rail never built any new lines but simply leased trains and levy fares like £220 return from London to Manchester i.e. an identical distance from Cork to Dublin. The Sky Court proposal offered to build free of charge a rail link from Shannon to the Ennis/Limerick Rail line. The centre appeared but their pr spin of a free a rail line dissapeared just as quickly as the presumption that the centre would fully let.

Interesting point about having a surplus in diesel trains in the near future; do you really think the lads at Iarnród Éireann though would see the benefit of spending money by creating new lines and stations to provide use for these trains?
Perhaps they would, they do seem to be getting more pro-active by the year.


If that splits into two parts there may be a viable way forward; firstly build stations at say Parkway, Moyross, Cratloe etc and deliver a viable commuter service, that could also do really well on match days for both the Gaelic Grounds and Thomond Park ; then talk about a potential spur if say 45 minute frequencies are viable; the existing timetable on Limerick Ennisdoes not offer a good service; if you miss a train by 2 minutes you wait 2 hours for the next one.
PVC King
 

Re: Limerick - Shannon Airport by Rail?

Postby pigtown » Sat Aug 27, 2011 3:39 pm

http://www.transport21.ie/Publications/upload/File/ShannonFinalReport_Final_%20270607.pdf
This is a feasibility study done for Irish Rail in 2006. It's pretty interesting to read but it shows that the demand isn't likely to ever justify building a rail link to Shannon.
pigtown
Member
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:50 pm


Return to Ireland



cron