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-   -   Monasterevin (http://www.railusers.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=758)

Jimbo 31-05-2006 13:06

I believe the services stopping at Monasterevin are meant to be improving, can anyone tell me exactly what is happening here? Is there any chance more services will be stopping there soon?

comcor 31-05-2006 14:26

I'm interested in this too. I am going there for the day next Sunday and was surprised to discover that there are no Sunday services. Looks like I'll be taking the car instead.

Mark Gleeson 31-05-2006 14:44

As it stands there are no extra services planned out of Heuston well Irish Rail deny any spare capacity when extra is asked for, the timetable is a major disaster in design terms and it will be recast completely in Dec 2006 as there will be a 18:00 to Cork, first stop Thurles. To make matters worse there will be more 100mph trains as old trains are taken out of service which results in a higher cost to make a stop. We know Portarlington will become a major interchange location as well in the next year. We also know that no intercity service will call at Monasterevin

We do know that the capacity of many trains to Galway, Athlone and elsewhere should increase by about 10-15% over the next few months, that won't come close to keeping pace with demand on the Kildare/Newbridge Dublin section

Monasterevin is an example of what not to do, the station was provided on the back of local political pressure without any consideration of providing extra resources to support it. The demand doesn't justify an increase in service and given its 36 miles from Dublin its outside the core demand area so it falls into the trap that no improvement can be justified and I'm sorry to say there are more important issues to attend to first

Kevin K Kelehan 31-05-2006 17:36

Monasterevan is the perfect example of County Council's planning policies directly undermining the viability of a rail station. Between the Bungalows and Motorway sertvice station Kildare Co Co clearly display their contempt for sutainable urban planning and sustainable transport.

IE have tried but with 60 passengers a day it is difficult to forsee additional services until Charlie Talbot & Co get their act together

Thomas J Stamp 01-06-2006 10:27

If you recall the chicken and egg senario I posed about a few months back with regard to planning you'll find the Monaserevin senario most interesting.

I was told in 1997 to buy proerty in Monastereven as there will be a staion opening there soon and property prices will shoot up. Being on an apprentice wage i couldnt, however, in hindsight it is obvious that the station was opened to allow housing to be built and not as a response to housing.

Kevin K Kelehan 01-06-2006 11:28

The tragic thing is that Kildare Co Co have not directed development into the town instead allowing one off houses to be built in everywhere else.

The number of Kildare Co Co planning grants overturned at Bord Pleanala level is staggering particularly in ecologically sensitive areas such as Pollardstown Fen a habitat of European importance. Whilst Monasterevan is perfectly placed to absorb a far higher quantum of development.

Jimbo 01-06-2006 13:36

Seems absolutely ridiculous to have a train station if you don't have any service. There appears to be alot of housing being built in Monasterevin at the moment but no real train service to Dublin. Will the Arrow be extended to stop there in future? I wonder how many people travel to Kildare to get the train from Monasterevin.

Kevin K Kelehan 01-06-2006 13:45

How many houses have been added within the town perimeter in recent years?

Mark 01-06-2006 13:52

The Athlone and Portlaoise commuter services will stop in Monasterevin.


Mark Gleeson 01-06-2006 14:02

Its infeasible to extend the arrow service to Monasterevin, many turn back at Newbridge now as track capacity is so tight. The cost would be €8 million in additional rolling stock, plus another odd million in signalling changes

The point to note here is two fold

Newbridge and Kildare commutters are not eager on major changes or modifications/extensions until Irish Rail actually provide the current timetabled service

The planning and development situation is not supportive of a rail station

We are currently looking at a vastly different timetabling solution which could in theory provide a train every 2 hours to and from Dublin to Monasterevin in the off peak

AZ1 01-06-2006 14:23

Q: How Many Pax?
You mention 60 people at Monasterevan: is it possible for the public to know how many people travel from any given station on a given day/week/month/timeframe? Or how many say, day-return tickets are sold at a given station, or on a given route?
This isn't confidential or sensitive information, is it? I mean, there isn't another carrier engaging in head to head competition with IE. Thanks!

Mark Gleeson 01-06-2006 14:26

In context upwards of 100 would get off each rush hour service at Hazelhatch, Sallins and Newbridge, 60 a day in that context is a joke

Priority is where demand exceeds capacity

Irish Rail do have the numbers internally but getting access to them is not so easy

Thomas J Stamp 01-06-2006 15:51

The current new housing appears to be motorway centred, dont gforget that with the new by-pass of Kildare Dublin will be doable (with Nass road improvements) in about 45 mins.

Kevin K Kelehan 01-06-2006 15:56

I presume you are referring to Newlands Cross vs O'Connell Bridge

Mark 01-06-2006 16:25


Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
In context upwards of 100 would get off each rush hour service at Hazelhatch, Sallins and Newbridge, 60 a day in that context is a joke

Priority is where demand exceeds capacity

Irish Rail do have the numbers internally but getting access to them is not so easy

The DTO also have their numbers.

stevetee 02-06-2006 00:37

[quote=Mark Gleeson]
Monasterevin is an example of what not to do, the station was provided on the back of local political pressure without any consideration of providing extra resources to support it...

Reopening the station was exactly the right thing to do for the town. It was a brave leap out of dark days in the 70s/80s, a move the town has really benefitted from. What is missing is a regular service that does not focus exclusively on commuters travelling to/from Dublin, does not rely on the presence of a station master so people can use services on a Sunday and that is more affordable to the average Joe - there have been approximately 10 fare increases since I started commuting in 2000. These are the key issues to be addressed if the station is to become more widely used by its own population.

As it currently stands, the station is either empty or closed 80% of the time. Proximity to Dublin should no longer be the key criteria for assessing the viability of a rural rail service. The populations of all towns along the Kildare line as far as Portlaoise including Monasterevin have rocketed since 2000. Why has it taken IE 6 years to react to this fact ? Even then, why a load of super fast trains that whizz by Monasterevin and end up in Galway or Liimerick. Thats a cultural issue, not an economic one.

The Environment correspondent for the Irish Times made more or less the same point as you make above a few years back in a series about commuter experience of people living in Leinster. He went out of his way to lambast the fact that a town like Monasterevin - in the middle of nowhere- should have 20 million punt spent on reopening a train station that noone seemed to be using. The reality is that since it reopened in 2001 it has been a godsend for the towns commuting public who had to travel up to Kildare by car in order to get a train.

At that time, there was still a full Arrow service running between Portlaoise and Dublin, one that stopped at all stations ( including Cherry Orchard/Park West where I worked), one that could get me home from Dublin at 900pm at night. For some unknown reason around 2003, a series of changes to the timetable left us with a few intercitys - great if you want to go to Galway or Limerick -and peak-time Arrow service only. It got worse in 2004/2005 when the Arrow services began skipping Monasterevin altogether and stopping at Newbridge/Kildare/Portarlington. I could only get ricketty old commuter trains, stinking filthy 3rd world-class carriages. Somehow the town slipped back off the radar despite having the newest train station between Euston and Portlaoise.

Monasterevin was deliberately left out of the planning game because it was (a) not a junction station like Portarlington or Kildare and (b) was not within the commuter belt. SInce 2000, (a) hasnt changed but (b) most certainly has. 32 miles is not a long way from Dublin. All towns equidistant from Dublin - Gorey, Drogheda - now have a good train service. As long distance commuters, the people of Monasterevin deserve to be considered in the changes currently underway along the Kildare Route line.

Jimbo 02-06-2006 08:50

Mark Gleeson - where are you getting the 8m in additional rolling stock?!

As far as I can see there appears to be a few trains in the morning stopping in Monasterevin but very few in the evening, so basically people could get to work but not home again. How hard would it be to run the 6.45, 7.45, 8.45 etc. arrows down the track abit further! After about 7.30 there are very few trains on the tracks. The only one really is this arrow service. I think you'd find if this happened people would be alot more open to moving to places like Monasterevin.
On that point can anyone tell me if there are plans for a later train to Kildare maybe around 12?

Kevin K Kelehan- don't know how many but currently there are two large developments very close to the station, Ferns bridge (approx 500 houses) and Old Millrace (200).

Mark Gleeson 02-06-2006 09:03

To extend the Kildare local service would require one extra 4 coach arrow train set, which are costed at €2 million a coach, (last batch were actually €2.3 a coach), there is no slack in the current Kildare Dublin service which requires 2 sets for an hourly service at 45 minute journey, given capacity constraints this is not practical anyway

To turnback/start/terminate a train at Monasterevin requires new signalling, more pointwork more cash

Between 8:30am and 8pm no Dublin bound commuter trains pass through Monasterevin, thus you need to find an extra train since the proposed timetable for 2007 indicates the first/last stop for Cork bound as Thurles, Galway/Westport bound as Portarlington.

To be fair Monasterevin does have 3 trains at approx. 30 minute gaps in the morning rush hour all arriving before 9am, thats better than all stations west of Maynooth, south of Greystones. Evenings its not great which is in part due to the fact track capacity outbound is in practice less than that inbound. It is seriously difficult to timetable 70 mph stopping trains into non stop 100 mph trains its made worse by the fact Monasterevin is one of only two stations in Ireland where trains actually pass through at 100 mph (Chareville in Cork might be the other), its tricky enough to manage to fit in the suburban service to Newbridge but beyond Newbridge its a nightmare

Census 2002 gives a population of 2,583, lets say 3k. The ball park demand figure is 36 passengers by thousand head population, 108 which is not far off the reality, Newbridge is 10 times the size

Monasterevin is 36.6 miles out which puts it beyond the 30 mile boundary in fact I would be in breech of my employment contract to live there its too far from Dublin

It is fairly well accepted that Monasterevin station is a failure since the demand is not there. Station was provided but the infrastructure to service it was not, nor was there a business case to provide it, station cost €5 million, extra trainset €8 million signalling modifications €1-€2, €15 million to move 216 people a day (best case) is extremely poor value for money

The major risk at the moment is that who ever screams loudest will get something even if there are more pressing issues elsewhere. The consensus at the public meetings held in Kildare and Newbridge is that the priority is to sort out the existing service before anything is added thats a fair and reasonable approach since the existing passengers are not well looked after by Irish Rail its unwise to complicate matters further

I cant recall Monasterevin being discussed at the 4 public meetings in Kildare/Newbridge but for the first time a very sensible decision was taken by all is to work together so no side loses out that a far deal be provided to all, unless additional track capacity is forth coming and additional on train capacity it makes no sense to further streech the system

What we do know is once the 4 track section is complete (which is entirely within Dublin) Monasterevin will get 2 trains per hour peak, that will be 2009 at the earliest

Thomas J Stamp 02-06-2006 09:43

Build it but will they come?
The passanger figures can be failr easily ascertained by someone standing there on a morning and counting.

According to the IE website todays trains are as follows:

707, 734, 802, 1032, 1546, 1813, 1946.

Departures from Portlaoise are:

645, 715, 724, 741, 807, (I'll stick to early morning commuter)

3 from Monastereven, 5 from Portlaosie. Given the respective sizes in population I'd say that's fair enough. When I lived in Maynooth in the late 90's early 00's there was a compartive service and even then the population of Maynooth was bigger than monesterevin, which also has an hourly bus service.

Jimbo 02-06-2006 13:24

Mark Gleeson - do you work for IE?
How many actual arrow trains are there at the moment?
I'd be amazed if they had to buy a new one to extend the evening service, sounds like alot of waffle to me.
Could it terminate in Portalington and save the extra upgrade cost?
Your point about distance to Monasterevin is irrelavent, fact is it's an hour on the train to Dublin which is a reasonable commute time. If given this improved commuter service it may help some problems in Newbridge and Kildare like parking and overcrowding.
Overall and you admit yourself the evening service is terrible and that's why so few people use the station. Totally crazy to run trains in the morning to cater for commuters and none in the evening, pure incompetent planning and timetabling

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