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Mickey H 26-12-2018 14:32

New Trains
According to the latest issue of the British magazine "Modern Railways" Irish Rail intend to order 41 intermediate cars for 22K units as this has finally been approved by the NTA. They will be delivered over a two year period from March 2021.

From 2023 onwards IR want to start taking delivery of 480 new vehicles:

250 which will work off the overhead and additionally with either battery or diesel power

230 which will be overhead only.

Additionally the article states the 2700 reinstatement has been abandoned (one tender, deemed too expensive) as has the project to re-engine some or all of the 201 locos (no compliant tenders received)

ACustomer 27-12-2018 23:13

The order for extra cars for strengthening ICR sets makes a lot of sense. However given the cancellation of the 2700 and the 201 loco projects, I would not count the chickens yet.

The intention to order 480 vehicles from 2023 onwards begs a large question: the extent of intended new electrification. Maynooth looks fairly certain and also perhaps Connolly to Hazlehatch. What about the line to Pace? What about the Northern line to Balbriggan, or Drogheda?

More important the sheer numbers of vehicles would imply something much more radical: intercity electrification (probably 25kv, necessitating dual voltage capability).

Given ambitions to go over to electric cars, surely railways are much more amenable to electrification. Do we have any coherent and detailed plans for all of this?

Dublin13 28-12-2018 15:04

Any truth in the rumour that Irish Rail have secured Class 170 and Class 185 trains from the UK?

Mark Gleeson 29-12-2018 09:49

The order for 41 cars has not yet been signed. Neither Irish Rail nor the NTA have been willing to give us a statement confirming the status of the program and we have been asking for this going back to late October. Until it is signed and the 30 day pause period that follows is completed and no challenge is made by another manufacturer then we have an order. Irish Rail made the request in 2016...

The DART2 order is still very much at a scoping stage, it is still being discussed internally by Irish Rail. But is envisaged to cover the Maynooth/M3 Parkway service as phase 1 then Balbriggan as phase 2 and so on, with replacement of the 8100 fleet as the last phase. It will be a 1500VDC/25kVAC dual power and may come with a diesel power car unit added in.

There has been some talk of leasing trains however it is unclear if this is practical given the conversion costs as well as the mountain of certification required. I wouldn't call the 2700 program dead, a basic overhaul could be undertaken and this needs only provide 5 years or so life until the first phase of the DART2 units arrive. It would be a lot cheaper and quicker than the lease option.

ACustomer 29-12-2018 12:48

Mark, that's interesting. I get the impression that projects get forever tossed around between Irish Rail (and maybe CIE for fixed assets), the NTA, and of course the Department of Transport. A case of too many cooks?

The 26kv/1500v dual-use issue seems to imply long-distance electrification of some routes. The Irish rail system is so small that partial electrification is going to bring problems with relatively small fleets constrained from system-wide use. Have the maintenance and the operational (i.e. inflexibility) costs of this been properly internalised into any investment appraisals? I have my doubts.

The rather pathetic decision-making process revealed by the 2700 saga does not inspire confidence.

Inniskeen 01-01-2019 09:43

I wouldn't entirely rule out basic refurbishment of the 2700s either - surely if heritage groups can maintain and restore much older equipment, Irish Rail could manage to resuscitate the 2700s ?

Mark Gleeson 02-01-2019 10:25

Once the reality of the madness of the leasing idea settles I'd bet the 2700 will reappear.

Just bear in mind the number sought on lease is a lot more than the 2700 fleet, the situation on the ground is getting worse daily as numbers grow rapidly so a large number of extra coaches are needed ASAP.

Ireland trains 09-01-2019 15:28

I was also reading in modern railways that irish rail are giving the ICR's a refresh with new leather seat covers.
While i knew that Irish rail were doing the refresh i thought they had not goten funding for the new seat covers.
So if IÉ are replacing the seat covers when will they start to be rolled out and which cover option did they pick

Mark Gleeson 10-01-2019 07:53

The accuracy of what is published in the UK rail press is at times suspect.

There is a refresh ongoing of the 22k fleet, one unit at a time in Connolly. If you find a 22k with USB sockets then its a refreshed unit.

The seat covers is a second item to come later in 2019, unclear if this is happening or not.

James Shields 10-01-2019 14:29


250 which will work off the overhead and additionally with either battery or diesel power
If they could use battery power rather than diesel, is would surely cut out a lot of complexity and mechanical components (as well as noise, making them a lot more pleasant for passengers), and save on emissions, and support regenerative breaking to improve efficiency.

I only recently learned we had battery trains to Bray in the 1930s. If we could do it then, think what could be done with modern lithium-ion battery technology.

Mark Gleeson 11-01-2019 11:38

Battery is certainly an option but what we are seeing is some form of diesel option.

Range is a issue, would need to be able to get out an back to Maynooth for an entire day with only a brief spell under the overhead in the city centre section to charge up. So you couldn't leave Connolly without the assurance of enough charge to get back. Dundalk/Drogheda isn't too bad as you get under the wires as far as Malahide, but you can only charge at full rate when stopped as otherwise you would overload the overhead system.

Lithium-titanate is the new favorite as they support much faster charging which is key to leverage regenerative braking and rapid charging.

Siemens has a train for Austria I've been on fitted out with batteries and if they deliver on the promises it could be viable.

The Drumm battery train was an incredible world leading piece of technology for its time. It's range was nothing short of incredible, 80 miles on a single charge. Modern trains are vastly heavier and come with all the extras of air conditioning and so on which are a significant demand and modern 3 phase drives are very power hungry.

James Howard 21-01-2019 09:24

Looks like nothing is going to happen for at least another 2 years. Surely some sort of low-cost patch up of the 2700s could keep them running for 2 years which would alleviate the situation somewhat.


Overcrowding on the later morning Sligo services seems to be getting quite bad lately. A friend ended up standing from Edgeworthstown to Dublin a couple of weeks ago on the 10:30 ish service and another passenger said that she'd been standing from Carrick. Booking is no help with nobody to enforce it on most trains but at least you get a free journey.

There doesn't seem to be any good solution. Adding 41 cars to the 22Ks is also less than optimal since you'll be adding new cars that can't be used independently of units that will be up to 16 years old by that time. Based on Irish Rail's record, they'll be looking to get rid of the 22Ks by 2027 or so.

James Shields 21-01-2019 11:15

I'm not sure what state the 2700s are in, but trying to get them into service until new coaches arrive would seem to make a certain amount of sense.

However, they are only 12 coaches, and as far as I'm aware, they've all had the end gangways removed, which would make them sub-optimal for running as multiple units.

A concern would be reliability. Frankly, if they were breaking down all the time, they would be worse than no trains at all.

My second concern would be driver training. The 2600/2800 units are small fleets, but at least they have common certification, so drivers certified for one can drive both. Drivers would need separate certification for 2700s.

As far as I know there are a number of 2600/2800 sets not currently in service. I'm not sure if they could be brought back into use, but that would strike me as a more attractive short term option, given the better reliability of these units, and pool of certified drivers.

However, if it was viable to bring all of the unused 26/27/2800s back into service, that would probably be around 20 coaches, which might take some pressure off the most overcrowded routes.

Ireland trains 21-01-2019 20:39

An independent.ie artical said that irish rail will be ordering 600 coaches over 10 years.
This is up from previously reported 300.
41 icr coaches to be ordered this year and 100 BMU.
I guess this extra 300 includes the icrs (41), replacment of 8100 dart (around 80) new enterprise fleet (9×7 car?) And replacmet of 2600 and 2800?.

Also said 4tph galway to athenry
Move docklands and waterford plunkett
Quad track heuston to park west
New Platform 8 at connolly
New cork commuter stations

Mark Gleeson 21-01-2019 21:05

Orders are

41 ICR (confirmed but not signed) primarily for capacity on medium distance commuter services

A framework agreement for up to 600 bi/tri mode 4 coach commuter trains, this is entirely for Dublin, 300 assumes DART to Maynooth and Drogheda, full 600 if the DART underground happens and there will be a need to replace the LHB DART fleet and possibly some of the Japanese fleet. This is a framework agreement so its not a commitment to buy 600, the agreement will contain an agreement to buy X with options for Y

Enterprise is a separate matter and will get stuck in a quagmire of north south relations.

2700 situation is going to have to be visited, we may have some insight on this soon. But there is no other option really if we need to get something in service before the end of 2019. Structurally they are in good condition as they are aluminium so can't rust. Engines and gearbox are basically the same as the 2600 and 2800.

As predicted this has fallen apart before it even started

Jamie2k9 21-01-2019 22:05

What excuse have the NTA given for the time wasting on ordering the ICRs?

They have been looking at it for months and its going to take a few more before anything is sorted. We know its not exactly what they wanted.

comcor 22-01-2019 14:06

What on earth is the thinking on 4tph from Athenry to Galway? Much busier routes don't have anything like that level of service and it parallels a motorway.

Try getting the Kerry line or the Limerick-Ennis line to hourly, or the Cork commuter services to twice hourly before embarking on that.

Mark Gleeson 22-01-2019 20:09

Its only 2 trains each way an hour, nothing really

Athenry Galway cannot be beaten in time terms by car, its impossible to get to Eyre Square faster

Cork Commuter is already 2 trains per hour at peak time on both Cobh and Midleton, the infrastructure was designed with up to 4 4 coach trains per hour, we are currently at 2 2 coach so a four fold increase in capacity is possible.

comcor 23-01-2019 09:53

Cobh needs 2tph all day whenever there is a cruise ship in. Given that is 83 days this year, you get to the point where you have to wonder should it just be 2tph every day and provide benefits for citizens and not just tourists.

Of course, that doesn't require new trains, just extra drivers.

Mark Gleeson 23-01-2019 17:14

Extra trains are provided as a matter of routine off peak at Cobh when a cruise ship is in town and resources permit.

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