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    • #706287

      Just noticed the following but don’t have a subscription to read on….

      “Key metro links are axed to save €700m
      THE revised metro from Dublin Airport is to go straight into O’Connell Street, by-passing key city centre rail stations to save €700m, it was learned last night. “


    • #731731
      Paul Clerkin

      Indo is a free subscription so you can register to read it….

    • #731732

      no link to connelly, no link to pease, stop at o’cll and another on d’olier street with a travellator to tara. mixed feelings myself, seems silly to have a big curve in the link, but this simplified version is inconvenient i guess to people getting a mainline train into dublin and then a metro to the airport.

      indo is free by the way, you just have to register.

    • #731733


    • #731734

      I have the horrible feeling they will make a pigs ear out of the Metro. All this talk about integrated transport and they still go ahead with an expensive transport link which completely fails in this respect. Why do we need to have a major interchange at O’Connell Street! Why not link up with the exisiting transport network at Connolly and Tara Street.

      And how shortsighted to miss out the opportunity of including stations outside of the canals. That means anyone who wants to use the airport link and not want to travel in from the city will have to use their car…

    • #731735

      I didn’t see any drawings from the paper, but the TV briefly showed a “concept map” that was used before. It showed the metro line running through a station called “Liffey Junction”.

      If this is the suggested station in Phibsboro on the “D-Connector”, surely it would make sense to include the link from Heuston to Connolly in this plan. This would then bring passengers to both stations without moving them through, what will be a highly overcrowded, O’Connell Street Station.

    • #731736

      Originally posted by Harry
      I didn’t see any drawings from the paper, but the TV briefly showed a “concept map” that was used before. It showed the metro line running through a station called “Liffey Junction”.

      i.e., it will join up with the Maynooth line and run down the old Broadstone line trackbed. Possibility of a connection to the Kildare line on the disused line from Islandbridge Junction to Connolly Station (the one Irish Rail pretend doesn’t exist) although engineering wise, it would be tight to fit platforms in.

      An indirect link to Heuston and Connolly could be provided by running a LUAS spur from Line A to Broadstone to connect into an interchange station on such a METRO line, but would the authorities have the vision to co-operate to allow this to happen?

      I doubt it.

    • #731737

      If the metro doesn’t include the Heuston to Connolly tunnel I am leaving this country!

    • #731738

      isnt there also a route planned 2 link Ballymun/Blanchardstown/Lucan/Tallaght? Where in blancharstown will this line run through as i doubt all of this line will be underground.How foolish was it not to provide space for a metro line and stations in the major shopping centres and surburban certres around dublin like most ‘proper’ countries! Are the trying 2 prevent us from getting around?

    • #731739

      It’s pretty common in other countries to have to walk a fair distance underground to connect between different rail systems.

      It might seem quite far on the surface between O’Connell Street and Connolly or D’Olier Street and Tara but it would seem much closer underground with level walkways, travelators, lack of weather and so on.

      The spread of some underground stations abroad can be astounding but they are perceived as being quite localised because a single station name covers several platforms and many exits.

      Examples that come to mind would be T-Centralen (subway)/ Central Station (mainline rail) in Stockholm (link) and Central (subway) / Hong Kong Station (airport line) in Hong Kong (link – all that brown and grey shaded area).

    • #731740
      Rory W

      If there is a travellator connection between Tara street station and the D’Olier street Station then it is connected to the network. An underground link there is less than 400 yards so get walking.

      Why do we need a Station at O’Connell Street – because it is the central street of the city, if we are truly going to revitalise it then it should be treated as the centre not something to be ashamed of.

      Carlton Centre for New station I say

    • #731741

      Funny way to save money though isn’t it? If we really wanted to save money and minimise the disruption the entire track could be laid in a spiral out in the docks or how about decentralising and putting it in the midlands?
      Rail infrastructure shouldn’t be built in the wrong place just ‘cos it’s cheaper.

    • #731742

      Rory W, connecting to Tara Street doesn’t connect the Metro to the main line rail, it would be good if someone could get from Kildare to the Airport with only one change, getting a Dart from Connolly to Tara and then a metro north would be a pain in the arse. However, the discussion above provides a partial answer: connect to the platform 11 d-connector and run some of the trains through from Heuston, this won’t help you if you are coming from Maynooth, but you can’t do everything with a single line.

    • #731743
      Rory W

      I do think it should link at liffey junction with the interconnector and sligo line. My point was aimed at those who think just because it doesn’t run directly into Connolly/Tara/Pearse and that you wont step off the Dart and step directly onto the metro without having to walk for a while.

      At least it will be an underground link that people will be able to walk

    • #731744

      Originally posted by ed69
      isnt there also a route planned 2 link Ballymun/Blanchardstown/Lucan/Tallaght? Where in blancharstown will this line run through as i doubt all of this line will be underground.How foolish was it not to provide space for a metro line and stations in the major shopping centres and surburban certres around dublin like most ‘proper’ countries! Are the trying 2 prevent us from getting around?

      I understand that there is a reservation from the Maynooth Line to the Blanchardstown Centre. However, Fingal are currently revising their development plan (ads in the paper) so whether or not it will survive is another matter.

    • #731745

      I say scrap the RPA and the DTO, that’d save a couple of millions, what do they all do all day?

      The money saved from this could be given to a private company to design, construct and run the metro for 30 years. Any cost overruns/delays would be the company’s fault.

      The government would waive the Vat and pass enabling legislation. The state gets the metro back after the 30 year period

      Problem solved!!

      Over to the Spanairds/Japanese/Alabanians (whoever)!

    • #731746

      It should be pointed out that this is only a single phase of the metro, hopefully the first of many, and as a result, it should stick rigorously to its primary mission of providing a direct high volume high speed link from the airport to the city centre.

      Once you start saying that for only a little bit more money you can have this or you can link it to that, you are succumbing to exactly what keeps driving the costs up. How many people on average are going to insist on an immediate link to a mainline rail station, of all the people who arrive in the city? How many times do you insist this when you go abroad as a tourist. A short five minute walk or luas trip from O’Connell St to Connolly and you have your mainline link. As a citizen of the country, i don’t particularly want to be dumped in Connolly as my first stop returning home here. Much prefer O’Connell St!

      Good point about Metro Stations being a sprawl underneath the city, despite the small sizes of the exit. A travelator from D’Olier St to Tara should be very quick.

      Anyhow, the ‘real’ plans will be displayed for a month of public consultation, so i will wait until then!

    • #731747

      redeoin, dublin airport is used lots of people from outside dublin, it would be useful to link to mainline rail, at the moment none of our airports are easily accessible by rail and if you live outside dublin this is a real hassle. If the metro is going as far as d’olier street, how much harder would it be to link to pearse? the link to connelly and the otherhand is an irrational ir/rpa obsession and it is right to drop it.

    • #731748

      “The government would waive the Vat …”

      Legally impossible under EU law not to charge VAt where due.

    • #731749

      I was in Barcelona recently and the majority of stations involved down a stairs to the ticket hall and down another stairs to the platform (interchanges aside). You rightly point out that this is the first phase of what will hopefully (I won’t hold my breath – remember DART) be a number of phases. All the more reason then that you get the location of stations right and plan these stations as if they are the basis for a larger network.

      I think you have a good point about arriving in O’Connel Street, but I reckon that, with the arrival of LUAS and the inevitable reduction in taffic that will have to take place in Dublin city centre, Connolly will increasingly become a more important transport hub with mainline, DART, LUAS and bus links. Not everyone taking the metro into the city will want to stay there – many will be continuing in to the southside or into the expanding east of the city (ie Docklands). I think the Metro shoudl stop at O’Connell Street (up near Parnell Square – a great draw to the north end of the street – see ‘Carlton’ threads) and continue on to Connolly and then Tara then St Stephens Green.

    • #731750

      On another point, shouldn’t it be line 2 of the DART for consistency and all further lines should Be Dart Line 3 etc….

      DART is unique to Dublin, Metro is a bit alien.

    • #731751

      Not if it means keeping that awful pea green livery…..

    • #731752

      I think linking the Metro to a mainline rail station is sensible, but if it adds significantly onto the cost, as it appears to do, then they are as well leaving it for now, as being able to get to O’Connell St quickly and switch to Luas for O’Connolly and Heuston satisfies the largest number of options in one go.

      The problem is if you terminate the Metro at a city centre rail station, you have to have Heuston and Connolly already linked by a mainline line, and Connolly will have to become the terminus for all trains to the city, which means a massive expansion of Connolly.

      The alternative is Liffey junction, but you have the same problem, with Liffey Junction acting as the terminus.

      However if the Metro simply terminates in O’Connell/D’Olier St, it facilitates rapid transfer to Luas for Heuston/Connolly and all mainline rail destinations, or Tara St for Dart connections. It also facilitates most bus services etc.

      The way Dublin is designed there is a natural gravitation towards the city centre, and the cost of shifting that centre of gravity is very high. The benefit of the first metro link terminating in O’Connell St is that satisifies the most number of options at least cost, and with no disruption to the existing system.

      And remember, this only the first link! Later links can work towards shifting the centre of gravity esp. for mainline rail passengers, who technically shouldn’t have to come near the city at all.

    • #731753

      If the plan is to terminate at D’Olier Street, the where will the trains go then? Will they simply change cabs and return back up the line?

      If this is the case why does it necessitate a massive expansion at Connolly? DART is catered for (albeit poorly in terms of platform to street access), mainline is catered for (and how much mainline traffic uses Connolly? will this decrease when the M1 finally opens in all its glory). All thats needed thenn is the freeing up of underground space for platforms and sidings.

    • #731754

      Well the trains just go back up the line, as in Madrid. If you have the Luas going to Connolly I don’t see why the first metro link has to go there too, especially if it is going to cost the guts of 3-400 million to make that adjustment…

      My point about a massive expansion of Connolly is that the argument for bringing the metro to connolly is to hook it into the mainline rail system. But this is only of serious benefit if Connolly is the terminus for most mainline rail. In reality that function is split between heuston and connolly. So you can pointlessly bring people to connolly on the metro, where they have to get the luas to heuston anyway; make connolly the mainline rail hub by opening an interconnector, which necessitates a huge expansion of Connolly (if you are going to bring all the southern trains in); or just leave connolly alone, accessible on a short five minute trip via Luas.

      Although one changeover on the transport system is ideal, two changeovers on the transport system are not bad, if they are logical ones; and bringing the Metro to O’Connoll St, where you can easily reach Connolly or Heuston via Luas, sounds fine to me…

    • #731755

      I just cannot understand the problem here.

      You would get the new Metro to O’Connell Street, hop on the Luas to Heuston or Connolly Station, then jump on the inter city train to whatever your destination is. I don’t understand what the big deal is – this is the same in most cities.

      Say you arrive in Paris Airport and want to go to Versailles or something like that. You would have to get train into Gare Du Nord, get Metro to Montparnasse, and get another train to Versailles. Same in London. Same in New York, except there’s no train link even there. Same everywhere.

      The Metro’s primary purpose would be to serve Dublin city centre. After all, we do have airports in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kerry, Belfast, Sligo, Waterford and Donegal, which the State already subsidises. Why the massive concern with linking the Metro into the intercity rail network?

    • #731756

      Surely a direct link to the Docklands, ie, Connolly, is necessary.
      This is the city’s saviour in terms of development land and concentrating population. The future of the city and indeed surrounding counties is being placed in this area to counteract sprawl and soaring land values.
      The investment and planning that is being injected into this place is surely a measure of its importance and hence its need for a Connolly stopoff.
      Its likely that we’ll be kicking ourselves in 10 years if we don’t act now.

    • #731757

      The beauty of a Metro system is that it could be extended when general economic conditions have improved.
      My attitude would be to build it to O’C Street and then when we have money again, interlink Luas, Metro, and National Rail as a matter of priority.
      With a Luas extension to the Point also planned, it would not be too much to ask a resident of the Docklands to get the Metro to O’Connell Street and then switch to the Luas for the final short leg of their journey.

    • #731758

      Kefu, do you work for the RPA? Without an intergrated system the metro would not work!

    • #731759

      I am not entirely sure we should use the arguement of ‘when time get better we can…’ Historically, this has led to projects being developed at less than their potential.

      A link to the existing rail network would not be to benefit mainline services as these are all northbound and would have joined the Metro earlier (at Swords for example). It is to fit in with the existing DART connection to south Dublin therefore creating a north-south easy airport link.

      New plans just announced today also adds to the issue. The Government are planning to ask developers to build a new National Conference Centre and lease it back to the State. Okay so it may not happen…. but then again it may! And if the Docklands is chosen as is most likely (or eventhe RDS) then a direct Metro link into Connolly would be vital to its success. Think of all the hotels which will spring up in this area should a conference centre get the go-ahead.

    • #731760
      Rory W

      A direct link to the docklands isn’t necessary – there isn’t a direct link from Heathrow to Canary wharf but commerce still survives. Use the O’Connell street stop to connect with Luas as mentioned by kefu and redeoin to go east or west of O’Connell Street.

      Jesus you’d sware people in this country wanted a direct line from their living room to the departure lounge!

    • #731761

      Or while I’m on the Barcelona theme elsewhere (guess where I have recently been!) Barcelona has a fantastic metro system but as yet no link to the airport! You have to get a train every 30 mins to Sants (their version of Connolly) and then switch to the Metro for the city centre etc, or else take a bus to the city centre.

      Though a direct link from living room would be nice ; )

    • #731762

      You’re right there isn’t a direct link from Heathrow to Canary Wharf ot more importantly the City of London (as London’s main business area). So surprise, surprise, the Mayor’s office is supporting the building of CrossRail, an underground rail project to connect Paddington (where the Heathrow Express currently terminates) with Liverpool St in the heart of the City. In addition the Mayor’s office (or rather Transport for London) is proposing a large expansion to the London City Airport, in the Docklands, together with lightrail connection to Canary Wharf and the City (via Bank).

      But I rest my case on this one. Its seems to be the general view to terminate at D’Olier St (whats on D’Olier St??). I think that is myopic and going against the trend for the city to develop to the east.

      I would also be concerned about any plans to reduce the stations along the Metro before it reaches the city, which I believe is being mooted.

    • #731763
      Rory W

      So am I right in saying that everybody in the country has a problem in going up an escalator and getting a connecting luas to Connolly/ Heuston?

    • #731764

      Good point about the rationale behind bringing the Metro to D’Olier St. They must see it as a useful gateway to College Green and Grafton St, as well as the underground link to Tara.

      However I am beginning to hope that the southern and western phases of the Metro are being designated to terminate at D’Olier St in the long term, with D’Olier St forming the Metro hub of the City.

      I know there are some big fans of linking into Connolly, but to me it makes sense to form a separate hub for the metro, as this will in time carry a high number of low-luggage passengers on daily journeys, (and long distance passengers will only form a proportion) and D’Olier St is a good place for a hub, when you consider it’s location just south of O’Connell St, and North of Grafton St/College Green.

      Rather than link directly into the existing system, if D’Olier St was the meeting point of the North, South and West lines, with quick access to Tara and the proposed Luas extension to Guild St; and the O’Connell stop served a similar but more modest function for Connolly and Heuston access en route from the airport, you would have a very well balanced integrated system, without overloading any existing service area.

      In my experience rail and metro stations combined can be very messy. A purpose built hub at D’Olier St could have four simple spokes running off it – one to Bray, one to Lucan, one to Swords, and the Travelator to Tara.

      It is probably just wishful thinking on my part, but my guess is that in the medium term D’Olier St is being proposed as more than just a terminus for the North Line, because on a City map it is a very suitable location for developing that type of transport system, as it is close to everywhere, but big enough and private enough to handle tens of thousands passing through, without the constriction and disruption you would have if you had a hub at (a) a major shopping district (b) a constricted location such as Grafton St or Connolly (c) a ‘scenic’ spot such as Stephen’s Green.

      We could have a centrepiece station underground at D’Olier St that is a modern classic. I am all on for standardised simple stations, but I think the hub station should get extra attention as a one off and be a work of brilliance!

      I feel like saying to the RPA to throw me a freaking bone here, as they never explain anything, but that is my two cent swiftly thought out and undoubtedly flawed ‘vision’…!

    • #731765
      Brian Hanson


      Am I the only person who thinks the Metro to the airport is a joke (concieved by the incompetent and now discredited DTO in their silly ‘Platform for Change’ doc), unneeded and is being fought over by various self-proclaimed “transport experts” who don’t know what they are doing?

      What is this obsession with underground? The bus services into Dublin city centre works fine – why then a Metro that dumps people and their bags in the midle of O’Connell Street? It all seems nuts to me and has more to do with contractors under bidding each other in order to get the construction and then the public is left with a half-arsed system that unintegrated.

      I would much rather Dublin follow reality and the rest of the world and build a heavy rail spur off the Maynooth line near Clonsilla, run it up the old Navan branch (which should be reopened regardless) and then into the Airport from the west. Once the trains are at high speed they shoot across north county Dublin to the airport in minutes. Terminate ithem in the City Centre at Spencer Dock, and more importantly this will connect Dublin Airport to the entire rail system and not unload people in O’Connell Street to get stranded and without transport again – this how the DB ICE network in Germany serves the Airports there and Oslo and Manchester have heavy rail connections that serve more than just the nearest city, but entire sections of the country. Not everybody is going into town – certainly not O’Connell Street.

      The whole Metro thing is just some passing political fetish for underground trains and we really don’t need it. We need a heavy rail service to Dublin Airport with national connections and direct services. The Metro was born in the minds of the same eejits who demolished the ramp at Connolly and the LUAS across the M50, they do not know what they are doing – scrap the Metro and built the heavy rail link to the Airport.

      There, I said it! *ducks*

    • #731766

      isn’t the metro supposed to do more than link us to the airport brian, its is supposed to allow people to get in from ballymun, it is supposed to link dcu to town and it is supposed to be the first part of a metro system. a mainline link to the airport would also be good and would get people from the airport into town faster, but wouldn’t remove the need for a metro system. of course, an alternative would be a heavy rail link to the airport and a luas line linking ballymun, north fringe, dcu etc, but that might not be much cheaper, it would have a lower capacity and it would take up road space.

    • #731767

      Does anyone remember when the buses went on strike, the city was never so free. I reckon go underground and get rid of some bus routes.

    • #731768

      I’m not sure I agree with that arguement….. get rid of the buses and the cars will take their place.

    • #731769

      “The bus services into Dublin city centre works fine,” eh?
      No they don’t!!!!

    • #731770
      Rory W

      Is Dublin the only EU capital without a Metro system? Surely what is good for the rest of civilisation is good for us. I think that there should be heavy rail as well, but thats another story

    • #731771

      A metro is imperative. We have no available or cheap land overground, the only solution is to go under.

      Dublin is the only EU capital other than tiny Luxembourg that has no metro system. In the applicant countries only the Baltic states are without one.

      Greater Dublin will soon be 2 million souls and growing, so with a population like that how else do you get them from A to B in large numbers quickly??

      Excellent website on all things metro at

    • #731772

      The only Metro that will work in Dublin is the version that is constantly being promoted by Frank Mac Donald, ie the Circle line, including the disused tunnel from Heuston to Connolly, then adding on to the Docklands, down to Pearse, and then more new tunnel onto Heuston again, stopping off on Stephen’s Green and various other areas like Wood Quay etc.
      From all of this, Luas, QBCs and taxis can be linked.
      In which case this airport line is exclusively an airport line and should not be trailing off to other areas, even Connolly which I suggested earlier.
      But because we know nothing, indeed it appears no one else does either, about a circle line, or indeed any grand vision to be achived over time in the city, everyone is just groping about in the dark proposing this that and the other for lines that don’t even appear to have definite purposes.
      Clarity, clarity, clarity is needed.
      And vision.

    • #731773
      Stephen Eccles

      :The only Metro that will work in Dublin is the
      :version that is constantly being promoted by
      :Frank Mac Donald, ie the Circle line, including
      :the disused tunnel from Heuston to Connolly,
      :then adding on to the Docklands,

      The tunnel is not disused at all! Frank McDonald knows little or nothing about the reality of Irish (or any other) railway transport. He is just another one of the guru/pundits, all talk, but when you get down to the technical details he knowns nothing. It’s nothing more tangible that his philosophical mandate and let the taxpayers and the engineers complete his visions. Frank is great on the urban planning stuff, but his knowledge of transport is infantile. “His” project will permanently destroy valuable heavy rail lines in central Dublin/Docklands and not make full use of them. When I need somebody to lecture me on the evil of PVC windows I call Frank McDonald, when I need somebody to explain rail transport I’ll go with Platform11, James Nix from DIT or some of the people at Irish Rail News who actually know what they are talking about when comes to rail transport.

      :Clarity, clarity, clarity is needed.
      :And vision.

      you want vision clarity and more importantly technical backup by people who understand railways as a working technical and operations asset and not some Green Party-esque “wouldn’t it be nice” malarkey then go to it’s all there.

    • #731774
      Brian Hanson

      Frank McDonald maybe naive about railways but compared to Kevin Myers…

      An Irishman’s Diary

      What is the charm of the long-distance train? Why are societies in thrall to it everywhere? It is an incompetent, obsolete, inflexible and unbelievably expensive way of transporting people between cities, asks Kevin Myers.

      Yet everywhere, the train bewitches governments into subsidising its gargantuan follies and its monumental ineptitudes.
      Trains made sense before the invention of the tarmacadamed road, before the internal combustion engine, before the light diesel engine, before the pneumatic tyre. But what is the sense in having cities connected by a railway service that at best runs every two hours or so, and which is utterly inflexible?

      Consider the cost of the railway. In terms of land used, it is the biggest single user of capital in Ireland, and just about every other country in Europe. How many hundreds of thousands of track-bearing acres does CIE own? What is the capital value of that land? And when people talk about the utility of the railway, do they talk about the capital subsidy of the land, and the almost sinful extravagance involved?

      Take our longest, thinnest line: Dublin to Sligo. Even by the standards of the crazy world of railway economics, Sligo-Dublin is utterly insane. You cannot have a sensible railway system between a low-population region and a city. For a railway to make sense, traffic must essentially be generated equally at each end: otherwise, you simply have empty trains on one leg of the journey. And the money being spent on transporting thousands of tons of empty metal from one part of the country to the other could be far better spent on a school or a hospital.

      But Sligo would fight with witless ferocity for its railway. Its railway is what defines it. No politician would survive if he or she proposed ending the immoral waste of money that is the Dublin-Sligo rail connection, even though it is doing Sligo no good at all. Never mind the thousands of tons of empty metal trundling back and forth each day; how many trains are there per day to Sligo? Four? Six? So there you have about 120 miles of track, constituting a vast capital expenditure in terms of land, rail, sleeper, and signal, all worth many hundreds of millions of pounds – and all used less than a dozen times a day.

      Sligo is an extreme example: Dublin-Belfast would be the opposite extreme, where you have two large population centres which meet the necessary criterion for size. But even the old Great Northern Railway under-uses its capital assets scandalously.
      The land-bank CIÉ owns around Amiens Street, containing the station, sidings and track, is perhaps the largest in Dublin, totalling several hundred acres. It is worth billions. Moreover, the land corridor it monopolises through the north city suburbs, through to Skerries, Drogheda, Dundalk, probably has a capital value that could be measured in the billions also.

      How many trains use this capital every day, in each direction? Ten, maybe. When the train is moving slowly perhaps it takes two minutes to cover one particular section of track; when it is going quickly, less than a minute. Maybe each section of track is in use for 20 minutes in any given 24 hours. For the other 23 hours or so, the capital slumbers; but it still has to be maintained for safety purposes.

      Further insanity is in operation at either end, where each station has to cope with sudden surges of many hundreds of passengers arriving and departing within a few minutes: and then maybe an hour or two hours of nothing.

      So why this fixation with an iron wheel running along a track? This was fine for the 19th century, but what sense does it make now? Why should we be imprisoned by the intellectual and technological limitations of the extraordinarily inflexible railway system, when we long ago mastered altogether more versatile forms of machinery? Why do we not simply lay concrete over the tracks, and turn the old railway network into a high-speed bus-only corridor? This would not merely mean that the “railway” would be used far more often by smaller units, but those units themselves would be capable of leaving the track system and going onto the roads, if need be.

      Moreover, the central stations in Dublin would not then be slave to the behemoths arriving every two hours or so, with their dam-bursts of passengers monopolising all their services and their space for a few minutes. This would free Amiens Street and Heuston stations to attend to the Dublin suburban services throughout the day.

      The virtues of public transport would thus be preserved. Buses would be taken off the main roads of the country and given access (on certain stringent conditions, of course) to the bus corridors. Buses to Sligo or Cork might take a little longer than the train; but they would still be far faster than the car, and what we would lose in added journey time would be more than offset by the vast flexibility gained.

      It all makes sense – unlike the railways, which don’t. Yet across Europe, national railway systems have become a totem of public piety, consuming billions in subsidy annually. The apotheosis of this insanity was the Channel

      Tunnel, a shameful extravaganza of expenditure for expenditure’s sake, which was economically unjustified even when airline cartels kept air travel unnecessarily expensive. Today, the tunnel is utter lunacy.
      So what is the argument against turning our railways into bus corridors? There is only one. The Government would still have to find some way or other to incorporate them all into the Red Cow Roundabout.

      © The Irish Times

    • #731775
      Rory W

      Now thats just plain silly – I assume Myers is just taking the piss as usual. Just because there is no direct rail link to Ballymore Eustace…

    • #731776

      Unless you own a helicopter, or happen to be a brand-name journalist and can e-mail your work to Dublin from Wicklow, trains are the only way to avoid the 21st Century Urban nightmare.

    • #731777
      Brian Hanson

      :trains are the only way to avoid the 21st
      :Century Urban nightmare.

      There was no link to this, so sorry for pasting it. It makes facinating reading:

      Thoughts on future rail policy in Ireland; a view by Hassard Stacpoole, editor of Irish Railway News

      Separation of infrastructure from Rail Company: The ownership and management of the rail infrastructure should be separated from the rail operator (Iarnród Éireann). This is required under EU directives. This would help put the basic rail infrastructure on the same footing as our national road network and allow rail to compete more competitively with road, particularly when it comes to freight.
      The infrastructure should be vested in a new non-profit state agency, which would be responsible for the maintenance and development of our rail network. A subvention for the maintenance and improvement of the rail network would be given to the new infrastructure company by government. It would raise revenue in two ways, firstly by charging Iarnród Éireann and any other potential operator a fee for each train operated and secondly by managing the existing railway property portfolio more effectively. With the removal of the ownership and maintenance of the national infrastructure from Iarnród Éireann, it would allow the company to concentrate on developing its existing services. Furthermore this would also bring forward the need to remove Irelands dispensation to open access as is require by EU directives.

      The need for Open Access: Ireland has sought to defer the implementation of the EU directives, which allow for open access to its rail system for rail freight. Ireland has not implemented the directive, which came into being in March 2003, to allow open access on Ireland’s only portion of the TransEuropean railfreight network from Cork – Dublin-Belfast. The Department of Transport has sought a deferment from the EU and have no plans to implement this directive or implement the directive which allows total open access to the whole network in March 2008 – As it stands Ireland is likely to be the only country in the EU (including accession countries) that will not be implementing open access for freight. By the end of 2003 the European parliament will have legislated for open access for all international freight services in 2006 and national services in 2008.
      The current deferral should be removed and the government should legislate for total open access to allow the development of new freight and other services on the existing rail network in Ireland – this would bring us in line with the more progressive EU states. The Government and Department of Transport inaction is allowing Iarnród Éireann to maintain its unhealthy monopoly.
      Mr Vinois, Head of the Railway Transport and Interoperability Unit of the EU Directorate-General for Energy and Transport indicated in the Western Development Commission seminar on rail in Claremorris in April, that if a potential operator did approach the commission, the EU could force the Irish Government to provide open access on the Irish network despite the current dispensation.
      These directives must be implemented and open access be legislated to allow potential operator to enter the market place particularly in the areas where the current operator does not provide adequate services. This would allow new operators to come on board and develop new services.
      With open access, there will be the need for a rail regulator.

      Rail Regulator: If as suggested the arguments for the separation of rail infrastructure from the operator and the provision of open access on the network is accepted, there will be the need for the establishment of a rail regulator. Furthermore the behaviour of Iarnród Éireann in the last 18 months, has illustrated why there is the need for a rail regulator. Iarnród Éireann as a subsidiary of CIE is not directly accountable to the Department of Transport (DoT) but to the board of CIE. The DoT or the Minister cannot intervene when Iarnród Éireann take decisions which may have major national consequences – this can be starkly illustrated by the removal of the physical junction of the Athenry – Claremorris railway line in Athenry in Nov 2002. If a rail regulator existed, Iarnród Éireann would have had to seek approval from the office of the regulator to remove such a vital piece of infrastructure rather than doing it unilaterally, as it did. The rail regulators power should be wide raging and would be responsible for
      – Ensuring and maintaining a minimum service on all passenger lines (I would suggest a minimum of 4 trains each way on all existing passenger lines).
      – Power to ensure that there is proper timetabling on the system and avoid examples of deliberate and bad timetabling such as exists on the Waterford Limerick line.
      – Ensuring that no major infrastructure projects would impede the development of future passenger and freight service. For example if a rail regulator existed IE would have had to go to the rail regulator to get permission to alter junctions like the work carried out recently in Claremorris and Athenry.
      – Ensure that train-operating paths are allocated fairly between intercity, suburban and freight services.
      – Have the power to licence and allow other operators to enter and operate trains on the Irish Rail network.
      – Have the power to regulate and oversee the disposal of redundant locomotives, rolling stock and property particularly if it will affect the future development of future services.
      – Have the power to ensure that new housing developments do not encroach
      on land required for widened tracks. Recent developments at Kilbarrack,
      Portmarnock and Drogheda are a bit close to the line for comfort.

      Railway Bill: With the separation of the infrastructure and the creation of a rail Regulator there will be the need for a railway bill. This will give the opportunity to reform the main transport acts, which govern how our railways operate and are regulated.
      One of the key reforms needed in such a bill is tighter control on how services can be withdrawn. Currently if a service is to be withdrawn (or not as the case in the Western Rail Corridor), under the 1958 Transport Act, there is no formal system of appeal. The railway company/operator can give two months notice of its intention to withdraw services; there is no formal way for the public, a state body (such as a local authority) to formally object and oppose the withdrawal of a service or total closure of a railway line – this can only be stopped by lobbying the Minister of Transport directly and any final decision is subject to the Minister of Transport discretion. In a proposed bill a formal system where the public etc can state their opposition must be established. Their objections must be formally investigated before permission or refusal is granted with the proposed withdrawal/closure of a service. If another operator wishes to take over the threatened service, it must be given the opportunity to do so. Furthermore the railway bill should formally enshrine and protect closed railway lines. It must become a statutory responsibility for the owner who closes and withdraws rail services that the closed railway’s track and right of way must be maintained in a useable condition for a minimum of 10 years.

      Rail Freight: The responsibility and development of rail freight should be separated a way from Iarnród Éireann. Iarnród Éireann freight business should be set up as a stand-alone company separate from Iarnród Éireann and CIE group.
      It is vital that a proper workable system of subsidy is put in place to allow the railways to compete and take traffic back from the roads effectively. Earlier in the year we suggested that the government could provide tax relief in the form of capital allowances. This would be an easy and effective way to help stimulate the growth of the rail freight sector. Tax relief in the form of capital allowances would allow companies to invest in infrastructure for using rail freight, which may be in the form of tax right off against investment in plant and physical infrastructure. Why are Capital Allowances available for the construction of toll roads, bridges and multi-storey car parks but not rail?
      There should be total open access to our rail network, which as outlined above, would allow any potential rail operator to enter the freight market. Competition to Iarnród Éireann’s existing services can only stimulate growth and innovation to the current stagnant rail freight market. Unfortunately, any potential new rail freight operators have been frightened away from entering the Irish market because of the Minister Brennan and the Dept. of Transport insistence that they deal directly with Dr John Lynch and CIE. Experience from this exercise has shown that Iarnród Éireann wants to maintain its monopoly at all costs and is determined not to allow another operator into the market place to compete against it or develop new services. The threat of another operator coming into the market place forced Iarnród Éireann to negotiate a new deal with Coillte.
      The proposed rail regulator would oversee the development and growth of the freight market.
      The rail regulator would also ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure that no major infrastructure such as freight yards, potential land banks on railway owned property where freight facilities can be developed are disposed of.
      Finally targets should be set for a minimum growth of rail freight over the next 10 years.

      Iarnród Éireann’s Road Freight Operation: Iarnród Éireann should be forced to withdraw and sell its road freight business. Iarnród Éireann’s road freight business is effectively being subsidised by the public purse, which is clearly at odds with both EU and Irish government ideals and is probably contrary to EU competition law. The current situation is perverse in that a company, which is tasked with managing the railways, is instead investing in its biggest modal competitor.

      Passenger Services: It is interesting to note both Iarnród Éireann’s current business plan as well as the recently published Strategic Rail Review (SRR) have suggested that clock face timetabling should be developed and introduced on the majority of the intercity routes. This has to be welcomed.
      However, it is clear that Iarnród Éireann is not interested in developing its non-radial routes such as Limerick- Rosslare, Limerick – Ballybrophy (or indeed the Western Rail Corridor). As suggested earlier there must be a minimum service level that each line must be provided with. If the operator is not interested in developing these services and providing the minimum service level that is required, a potential community based operators should be allowed into the rail passenger market. This is common practice across Europe where local government work in partnership with the community to develop and operate rail services. This could be the way forward in developing lines such as Limerick – Rosslare, Limerick – Ballybrophy where senior Iarnród Éireann management have shown their indifference in the past to improving and developing services. This could also be a way forward for developing commuter services into cities such as Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
      Rolling stock utilisation and usage must be improved. With better utilisation more frequent services can be provided. Clearly one of the issues Iarnród Éireann has at the moment is the age of their fleet. Iarnród Éireann must be instructed and allowed to lease rolling stock. This is common practice in the railway industry and is still an alien concept to Iarnród Éireann. It would provide a cost effective method of ensuring that there is suitable and modern rolling stock program with out burdening the taxpayer with vast capital expenditure projects. Leasing of rolling stock would allow for existing services to be enhanced, expanded and new services to be developed.
      There is also the clear need to see inter regional service to be developed which I deal with below.

      Western Rail Corridor: one of the abject failures of the SRR was the failure to come out in favour in reopening part or the whole of the WRC to passenger and freight traffic. As I wrote in both the Sunday Times and the Limerick Leader the consultants got this aspect of the SRR seriously wrong with some basic and fundamental errors which affected the reports final assessment of the projects viability. Fortunately many commentators as well as many politicians from most political parties have recognised that there were serious omissions in the SRR in respect to the WRC. If the concerns are not address by Government soon it is clear that the WRC corridor is set to become a major political issue in both the forthcoming local and European Elections due next year.
      Part of the failure of why the development of the WRC was not recognised as a priority by the SRR is because it is not seen as a preferred project by Iarnród Éireann. The example of the “Athenry incident” last year shows that Iarnród Éireann are determined to dismantle the WRC and want to concentrate on the radial intercity routes.
      What is becoming clear is that Iarnród Éireann should not be involved in the development and reopening of the WRC. Senior Management in Iarnród Éireann are not interested in developing inter regional services as exist on all major rail networks with in the EU. As I suggest above, in areas where Iarnród Éireann is clearly not interested in developing new services, like on the WRC, a new community based operator should be allowed to do so.
      This new Community operator (CR) could be given the task to raise finance through PPP, from local and state authorities through which the railway passes as well as raising grants from the Exchequer and the EU. CR would also take over the operation of passenger services on Waterford – Limerick – Rosslare line and perhaps The Limerick – Ballybrophy line. With the involvement of local agencies it ensures that the local community has a say and stake in its rail services.
      CR could operate interregional services from Cork, Tralee, Waterford and Wexford to Galway, Gort, Tuam, Athenry, Westport, Ballina and Sligo linking the South East and South West with the Western and North Western Seaboard. Furthermore if the Shannon rail link is constructed, with the proposed removal of the Shannon stop over, the introduction of interregional services would bring most major towns within a two hour train journey and allow the airport to survive and compete successfully with both Dublin and Cork airports.
      The introduction of CR to develop the WRC and inter regional services would reinforce the need for a rail regulator, who would ensure the fair allocation of train paths to CR, as in certain places there will be potential clashes with existing and proposed Iarnród Éireann services. The rail regulator would ensure that the two operators at strategic junctions and terminals provide adequate train connections.

      Dublin Area: Clearly the Phoenix Park tunnel must be utilised. This is a cheaper and more practical alternative to the expensive interconnector as proposed by the SRR and Iarnród Éireann. With the development of a station at Spencer Dock and an interchange station at Phibsborough as proposed by Platform 11 (which would connect the Sligo line with the Heuston – Connolly line), most problems can be overcome.
      The issue of capacity needs to be addressed urgently particularly along the loop line (Connolly – Pearse St) and the government should ensure that the DASH programme gets immediate funding and completed ASAP – there can be no further delays to this project due to budgetary or other constraints. However, I would concede that it would be desirable in the medium term to develop a second North South rail link across the Liffey joining Spencer Dock with the DART either at Pearse Street or near Booterstown. This would provide relief to the already congested Loop line and allow further development of Suburban/DART services. This would allow the Maynooth line to be electrified and fully integrated with the DART.
      The Spencer Dock area must and should be developed as a major transportation hub. Sufficient space must be preserved for a substantial station at this location. With a DART service introduced on the Maynooth line and a new second North South rail link, Maynooth services would be routed via Spencer Dock and the currently unused low level line between Connolly and Glasnevin Junction. This would require a second Drumcondra station at Binns’ Bridge and some form of station under the Belfast line at Ossory Road with dedicated covered passageways leading to Connolly for interchange purposes. Kildare Arrow services would run to Spencer dock serving Heuston and Drumcondra (existing station).

      The Airport line as proposed by is Iarnród Éireann the most practical of all the current proposals and should be supported, as this would provide a cheaper alternative to the proposed Metro Line. The link must be built in such a way as to allow for continuation northwards to Swords and to a suggested junction with the Dublin – Belfast line at Donabate. Donabate would become an interchange point with
      the potential for onward connection to Belfast and NI. It also has the merit that it has the potential to provided a bypass around the already crowded and congested Northern Suburban, as it would leave the Sligo line near Liffey Jct. It is very important that this line is built to the Irish Gauge as this will allow the line to be integrated into the rest of the Irish network and allow intercity trains to call at the airport.

      If the Metro goes ahead as proposed by the government it must be built to the Irish Gauge. This will allow the line to be integrated into the rest of the Irish network. If it is as proposed to build it to the international Standard gauge this can and will provide future problems in integrating services with the rest of the network.

      Navan: The Failure of Iarnród Éireann to develop any service to the town must be reversed. Again this is a case of the company not being interested or motivated to do so by government rather than a lack of available traffic. The existing freight line from Drogheda to Navan can and should be upgraded to provide a basic commuter rail service into the capital and consideration should also be made to develop a possible parkway station for Slane in the Beauparc area. From an operational point of view there is no significant reason why a direct service to the town cannot be provided from Connolly Station, if resources are managed properly. Such a project if given adequate political support could be in place within 18 months.
      In the long term the route from Clonsilla to Navan should be rebuilt as this alignment (with some minor alterations from the original) is best suited to serve the growing population centres in South Meath as well as Navan itself.

      Cork Suburban: It is important that funding is put into place for this project. Additional funding can be raised through PPP (Particularly in partnership with property developers) to fund the reopening of the whole line. Proper disposal of non-vital railway property in the Cork area would also help fund the reopening of this line. However many commentators have pointed out to that the high cost figure to reopen and develop the Cork suburban project as quoted in both the SRR and the Faber Maunsell report. This is illustrated in particular when it came to costing given for the provision of railway stations. The SRR and Maunsell report recommend developing commuter services only as far as Midleton. Serious consideration must be made to reopening the whole line to Youghal as a long-term strategic project, which will benefit the development of the whole of the East Cork region.

      © Hassard Stacpoole, Editor Irish Railway News, 30th June 2003

      Hassard Stacpoole is editor of Irish Railway News which is a free email based newsletter reporting on all Irish Railways which is distributed to over 600 subscribers. Under the Irish Railway News banner he has been responsible for 5 submissions to the Strategic Rail Review.

    • #731778

      About Frank Mc Donald, I meant ‘disused’ in reference to passenger services, and his plan is exceptionally effective and simple, it has been endorsed by numerous planners & CC officals.

      It links mainline rail, DART, Luas, QBCs, & taxis, as well as the added bonus of rejuvinating neglected areas of the city.
      Most importantly it also serves the Docklands, and all of its future development.

      It is far from extravagant, but rather compact & efficent.

    • #731779
      Brian Hanson

      What Spencer Dock needs is a new 10 or 12 station platform to solve the capcity/integration issue once and for all. The difference that would make to the heavy rail network would be incredible – six tracks run into Spencer Dock at the moment form every line. Think about that…6 tracks. Stick a train station on the end of that with enough platforms and you can run massive numbers of trains in and out. The DART line would be free-up to expand the numbers of DART trains to serious frequency levels. If the opertunity is missed to make Spencer Dock a serious rail station it will be looked upon by future generations as a lost opertuninty. Unlike Frank’s metro, it will not impact on exsisting services at all and it won’t have to be electrified from day one either. McDonald’s Metro is not the answer and I am not being smug here, but it just isn’t – the real answer is a major passenger station at Spencer Dock for heavy rail.

    • #731780
      Rory W

      All very well and good but those six tracks run onto the sligo line and the Dart/Northern line so you would be just replicating the (underutilised) facilities at Connolly anyway.

      A better soluion is to make greater use of the Car Park area next to Connolly if you want more platforms

      So I guess it aint the answer.

    • #731781
      Brian Hanson

      >All very well and good but those six tracks >run onto the Sligo line and the Dart/Northern >line so you would be just replicating the >(under-utilised) facilities at Connolly anyway.

      they also connect with the inter-city network via the Park tunnel. Limerick, Cork Galway you name already feed directly into Spencer Dock.

      >A better solution is to make greater use of >the Car Park area next to Connolly if you >want more platforms

      What and squeeze even more trains into the bottle neck at Connolly? The Spencer Dock can get all the trains into the that area and in not way impact on Connolly only free it up for more services. the Connolly sheds are needed for storage? What do you plan to do about that? have the trains vanish into thin air while they are not being used?

      >So I guess it aint the answer.

      Yes it is. It’s the only do-able one and the one that will be chosen eventually. It can be done without causing construction chaos in central Dublin or affecting the existing inter-city service. If that’s not perfect then what is?

      que “Frank McDonald as Christ…etc”

    • #731782

      From todays Indo…. common sense prevails I least in terms of cost and timescale.:

      TRANSPORT Minister Seamus Brennan has set a target for the completion of the Dublin Airport metro line within four years, and a fraction of its original €4.8bn price tag.

      He believes that the project can be built for less than €2bn by 2007 and has instructed the Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) to draw up plans for the ambitious new appraisal.

      The RPA’s initial assessment suggested that it would take between seven to nine years to build the line.

      A Spanish expert who headed up the Madrid Metro, a larger project which was built for less than €1bn, will also be working as a consultant with the Agency.

      Professor Melis Maynar has already advised Mr Brennan on how Dublin could replicate the Madrid project and has offered his services free. His view is that increased costs are caused by over-staffing and time wasting.

      Measures to fast-track the planning process such as setting limits on appeals will be included in Mr Brennan’s promised Critical Infrastructure Bill.

      Other parts of the legislation will aim to speed up the process by restricting the length of time for public inquiries.

      Mr Brennan expects the RPA to produce a new assessment by the end of this month, paving the way for him to bring proposals to cabinet before ministers take a break in August.

      If all goes to plan, construction work on the Metro would be expected to begin two years from next month.

      The new target of 2007 for the construction of the Metro also happens to correspond with what many commentators believe will be the year of the next general election.

      A recent revisal of the Metro’s projected route by the RPA put forward a shorter, direct link between Dublin Airport and O’Connell Street. The line would save construction costs by-passing key city rail stations to save money and would involve stops at O’Connell Street and D’Olier Street. The move followed the news that the agency had revised its estimated cost of the project from €4.8bn to €3.4bn after investigating the metro system in Madrid.

    • #731783
      Rory W

      Brian – you’re not getting away from the fact that these lines run onto the Belfast and Sligo lines so if there is any bottleneck it wont be avoided by building a new station at Spencer Dock. The answer to Dublin’s woes is to upgrade the signalling so that more trains can run safely on these lines.

      As for your point about the “Connolly sheds being needed for storage” – my simple answer is why? There are sidings and a depot the other side of the sheds so if a train is out of service why not put it there?

      I agree with platform 11 on these things about having an interconnector between Connoly and Heuston utilising the Phoenix park tunnel and under utilised platform 1 at Connolly. Spencer Dock in a lot of peoples minds is as far away from the centre of town as Heuston so why now replicate the facities there.

      As for Frank McD, I agree with him on a lot of things, disagree on others and Christ never lived in Temple Bar

      So I guess it still isn’t the answer

    • #731784
      Brian Hanson

      “Christ never lived in Temple Bar”

      What a great title for a song, or fanzine.

    • #731785

      What ever about this Metro plan ….don’t ye know it’s all gonna be a fiasco as everything else…..with most of the money that’s to be spent on it being pilfered or robbed by the TD’s, developers, consultants, consultant’s consultants, engineers…..etc, etc….don’t hold yer breath folks. Sure the tunnel is’nt even living up to it’s expectatons and it’s not even finished yet. It being not tall enough, stumpy like everything else…..etc…. etc
      It’s a lost cause. Put the money into the hospitals so as they can do the same…..but maybe a few innocent childrens lives might be saved.

    • #731786

      See that the trams are to be back on Paris Streets as the report says above.

    • #731787

      Just look at Zurich and Lisbon. Virtually a tram down every street!

    • #731788

      by the end of this month we should know possibly what the metro will entail. of course dublin needs an integrated travel system but no one idea is going to solve the problems of traffic and congestion.
      if brennan sticks to his guns and breaks up aer rianta and iarnrod eireann plus gets the metro going and with the dublin port tunnel due to open next year we are on the right path.
      it would be great to see broadstone back in use and a new station at spencer dock is going to be a great addition to the city. hopefully this will happen without the paper tigers in iarnrod eireann plus the union zealots throwing a spaanner in the works

    • #731789

      Originally posted by t.scott
      a new station at spencer dock is going to be a great addition to the city.

      A new station a mile away from the City Centre surrounded by dereliction? How will that be an asset, other than allowing Irish Rail to shaft Maynooth Line trains off down to it to get rid of them.

      The authorities this in Belfast in 1976, opening the euphemistically called “Belfast Central” Station, closing two other stations in the process, including one in the centre of Belfast. It was about 20 years before the area around the new station started to be developed and even then, by that stage, they had realised their mistake and reopened the geographic central station at Great Victoria Street.

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