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 Â£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 IarnrÃ³d Ã‰ireann 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 Ennis
does not offer a good service; if you miss a train by 2 minutes you wait 2 hours for the next one.