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Unread 19-05-2008, 10:34   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default [article]Iarnród Éireann admits journey times are longer

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Originally Posted by Irish Examiner
Iarnród Éireann admits journey times are longer

By Paul Kelly, Consumer Correspondent
TRAINS were faster in the 1970’s than services are today despite billions of euro being spent on upgrading the rail network.


Timetables from 1974 and 1993 show journey times are now longer between principal destinations like Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Sligo.

Fifteen years ago, the fastest train between Dublin and Cork completed the journey in two hours and 20 minutes, yet today the swiftest service takes two hours 45 minutes. In 1974, passengers could board the 6pm train at Dublin Heuston and arrive at Waterford at 8.15pm, yet today the journey time has increased by eight minutes.


And the service between Dublin and Sligo takes three minutes longer despite new track, upgraded signalling and faster trains. Consumer campaigners have called on Iarnród Éireann to explain why journeys were taking longer despite billions of euro of investment. “It is amazing that journey times should take longer today than in the 1970s,” said James Doorley of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland.

“The roads and planes are getting quicker so making journey times longer does not seem to make an awful lot of sense.” Yesterday, railway campaigners said Iarnród Éireann had spent €1 billion upgrading the network since the late 1990s, yet trains were as slow as ever.

“They’ve spent a billion making the railways clean, safe and reliable, yet the trains are not getting faster,” said Mark Gleeson from the Rail Users Ireland action group. “But the roads are getting faster every day and if the train is getting slower then there’s less reason [for the Government] to invest in the railways.” The Government has earmarked €5.5bn for rail under its Transport 21 plan. Iarnród Éireann said journey times had lengthened as the country’s 960-kilometre rail network accommodated more trains and higher numbers of passengers. “

We have spent money improving frequency of services as well as reliability, which is what passengers told us they wanted,” said spokesman Barry Kenny. “Our time today of two hours 45 minutes between Cork and Dublin beats road hands down.”
Quote:
By Paul Kelly, Consumer Correspondent
IARNRÓD ÉIREANN has been accused of failing passengers after admitting journey times have got longer despite billions of euro being spent on the railways.


Since the 1990s, Irish Rail has spent €1 billion upgrading track, signalling and fencing while the Government is planning to spend €5.5bn on further improvements before 2017.

Yet a comparison of this year’s train timetables with those from 1974, 1993 and 1994, reveals journeys on the same routes are taking longer today than a generation ago:


nIn 1993, the fastest time between Dublin and Cork in both directions was two hours 20 minutes on Sundays and two hours 30 minutes on weekdays. Today, despite a more powerful locomotive with an improved top-speed of 160 kilometres per hour, the quickest journey is two hours 45 minutes, or 15 minutes longer.

nIn 1974, the journey from Dublin Heuston to Waterford’s Plunkett Station each way took two hours 15 minutes with 12 stops in between. Today, the fastest journey on the same route takes two hours 23 minutes yet the service only calls at six stations on the way.

nIn the early 1970s, passengers travelling from Dublin Connolly to Sligo could make the journey in three hours flat. Yet today, the best time is three hours three minutes, despite new Intercity railcars, new track layout and new signalling.

nIn 1994, the 8.20am Limerick to Dublin service took two hours five minutes. Today, the 7.35am takes 15 minutes longer despite a powerful 160kph locomotive.

Last night the Rail Users Ireland (RUI) pressure group said Iarnród Éireann had to concentrate on improving journey times.

“Passenger numbers are up but that’s because people have no choice other than to go by train,” said RUI spokesman Mark Gleeson.

“Irish Rail has spent €1bn to make the network safe and reliable, but there has been no investment to beef things up. The roads are now getting faster, but if the trains don’t get faster then we’ll get into a vicious circle of declining passenger numbers and less investment.”

Irish Rail had only just got around to tackling track problems at Portarlington, Co Laois, after trains were forced to travel there at just 48kph for the past 12 years, he said.

Iarnród Éireann’s journey times also look poor when compared with those in Britain, where rail services have long been considered neglected and underfunded. The 162-kilometre trip from Dublin to Waterford takes two hours 23 minutes, yet passengers can travel 372 kilometres from London to Darlington in northeast England in two hours 30 minutes.

Iarnród Éireann spokesman Barry Kenny insisted journey times would improve in future, saying investment in services was increasing passengers.

“If you look at timetables today we operate a lot more Intercity and suburban services and that congestion, for want of a better term, has to be factored in,” he said. “We also have an allowance for improvement works, which will have an impact because trains will go slower.”
http://www.examiner.ie/irishexaminer...048-qqqx=1.asp
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Unread 19-05-2008, 10:41   #2
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Sligo timetable 1973/1974 is available

http://www.railusers.ie/images/timet...o-Dub-1973.jpg
http://www.railusers.ie/images/timet...Sligo-1973.jpg

For the record Thurles Dublin with one stop was 88 minutes back then, best Irish Rail can do today is 89 minutes non stop, in 1993 its was 73 minutes
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Unread 19-05-2008, 11:34   #3
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Some of the comparisons are unfair to IE: the Examiner contrasts London-Darlington with Dublin-Waterford: to anyone who knows anything about railways, the WCML in the UK cannot be compared with anything in Ireland, especially a route which is largely over single track. Also the Sligo line now has 8 trains each way compered with 3 until quire recently: this means much more crossing at loops, which does not come without a time penalty.

On the other hand, some of the times on the Dublin-Cork line are quite inexcusable when compared with the situation 20 years ago.
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Unread 19-05-2008, 12:09   #4
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If Irish Rail want to claim fares are euro standard we can expect a euro standard service

Sligo line has two tracks to Maynooth now, not Clonsilla and has electronic signaling which saves at least a minute at every crossing point

Bear in mind the permitted line speeds on every route have increased over the last 15 years

I was traveling on a secondary route in the UK earlier this month, we hit 117 mph and cruised steadily at 100mph, you wont find any route in Ireland where you get to do more than 15 miles at 100mph
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Unread 19-05-2008, 13:16   #5
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I know that we have more modern signalling, ctc etc., but given the buttervant rail disaster in 1980 was it a good idea to compare rail times and speeds to the 1970s?
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Unread 19-05-2008, 13:33   #6
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Buttervant has nothing to do with speed, or the driving of the train, the speed limits imposed afterwards applied solely to timber bodied coaches. The 1973 times relate to the 'supertrain' timetable operated by the trusty re engined A class locomotives and steel Mk2d coaches

The entire Mk3 and Mk4 fleet are designed for 125 mph operation

Curiously things got even faster in the late 1980's after the accidents as the Mk3 coaches appeared and 90mph was approved

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 19-05-2008 at 13:50.
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Unread 19-05-2008, 22:26   #7
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Its finally out lol, Trains on the Rosslare line are getting no better there is full potential already for a total time of 2hr30mins end to end and in some cases even less time can now be achieved.

The Sligo line is 3hrs above but some Rosslare services took this time for 30miles of less track. The roads are full of traffic can you really see why! We need fast train services at not crawl pace ie->
Is there any timetable from the Rosslare line in the 1970's and upwards I would love to look at it. The time between stations IE have no excuse they spent €1billion on the network but speed just doesnt apply to IE
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Unread 19-05-2008, 22:35   #8
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1970's era was 3 hours 15 minutes

Best current is 2 hours 48 minutes

I wouldn't be complaining
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Unread 20-05-2008, 10:08   #9
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Well, if they don't do something about the average times on the Cork-Dublin route people will simply drive once the motorway's complete. It's not too far from completion either!

It seems crazy that a 200km/h capable train is taking this long to do that route.

What's going on?!

Bad signalling?
Bad management?
Union sticking to the 1932 train timetables?
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Unread 20-05-2008, 10:14   #10
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Its a function of bad management, bad timetabling and poor management of routine infrastructure maintenance not to mention the beat the customer charter routine

Dublin Cork today with 3 stops (Thurles,Limerick Junc and Mallow) is practical in 2:35 not the 2:45-2:50 Irish Rail quote and thats allowing a 5 minute allowance. Kildare route finished subtract 10 more minutes. I did it in 2:34 with 4 stops in 2006

Biggest hold up is random speed restrictions popping up Newbridge and Ballybrophy are long standing
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Unread 20-05-2008, 20:44   #11
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I've noticed Iarnrod Eireann are always tipping themselfs from the Dublin Cork route as its the fastest but they never seem to mention any other route as the motorway is much faster than the train. Take Dublin to Gorey 1hr50mins by train and about 1hr10mins by car tell me why the Rosslare line is so quite again !!
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Unread 20-05-2008, 21:57   #12
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Quote:
Gorey 1hr50mins by train and about 1hr10mins by car
I've been up and down a few times to Gorey since the bypass had opened and I the quickest I have ever got to Gorey was about 1h 45. Still beats the train though
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Unread 21-05-2008, 08:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSW View Post
I've noticed Iarnrod Eireann are always tipping themselfs from the Dublin Cork route as its the fastest but they never seem to mention any other route as the motorway is much faster than the train. Take Dublin to Gorey 1hr50mins by train and about 1hr10mins by car tell me why the Rosslare line is so quite again !!
Well they're faster than a non-direct bus, but that's set to change if the bus starts averaging motorway speeds the entire route down.

Irish Rail seem to be determined to build a 1960s railway network for some reason. I don't quite understand why Cork-Dublin in particular can't be a LOT faster than going by road.

Perhaps it's time that the Green Party starts to show that they're not just Greena Fáil and starts to actually put some serious pressure on to get the intercity services in shape.

Pumping billions into a semi-state company that's unwilling or unable to do anything other than buy shiny new trains and then continue to operate them in exactly the same way as the old trains is a bit of a waste of tax payers money in my opinion.

I am seriously starting to think that the only way this could be resolved in the long term is to move the RPA in on key lines.

So far all CIE have done is :

1) Failed to make any significant improvement to speed of services to the level they're falling behind road speeds.
2) Failed to improve customer service to any appreciable level
3) Failed to improve reliability (constant inexplicable strikes)
4) Failed to provide appropriate vechicles - no bike carrying space in tourist areas, questionable new rolling stock that seems prone to high levels of failure
5) Shown no interest in customer comfort on board - full heating on hot days, full air conditioning on cold days, over crowding.
6) Complete lack of respect for paying customers.
7) Inexplicably bad management of maintenence work.

oh and killing rail freight off completely and thus increasing our carbon footprint for no good reason.

Why shouldn't this crowd just be abolished?

I'm not saying this because I've some ideological love of privitisation. The likes of the ESB have done a wonderful job, but it seems CIE are amongst the worst examples of a semi-state company. Perhaps it's time to call it a day and give someone else a chance?

Even just let the RPA have a bash at running maybe 2 key routes and see how it goes..
E.g. Cork and Belfast

Or, give them the new Cork Commuter stuff

Last edited by MrX : 21-05-2008 at 08:41.
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Unread 21-05-2008, 10:37   #14
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Default isnt this all rather unfair?

you lot dont know when you have it good. compairing 1973 to today and ignoring all the wonderfull things IE have done in the meantime...

like the new signals, the new tracks, the new trains, the new stations, the new wheelchair accessabiltity, plenty of websites....

and all you can whinge about is the fact that the trains are not as fast as they were, and that they pad out the timetables which result in punctuality looking better than it should, and the trains are late/overcrowded/pis not working

you moan that they cant even look down the tracks (ho ho ho) and not solve a driver problem that they knew was coming from the moment they ordered the new 22k trains, resulting in mass cancellations and substitutions with buses....

you lot dont know you're born.
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Unread 21-05-2008, 14:23   #15
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Default Drogheda - Dundalk

Was on the 20:45 Connolly-Belfast Central, which was replaced by a 3-car NIR CAF set. After crawling behind the southern commuters and taking 45 minutes to get to Drogheda, the driver really put his foot down and made it to Dundalk in 18 minutes. He even took the Drogheda bridge at about 45-50mph, which was...interesting. Now looking at the mileposts that was roughly 23 miles in 18 minutes, which is 76mph average. Why can't CIE ever do that? What's so pathetic about the southern commuter trains? It's not as if that stretch of line is congested.
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Unread 21-05-2008, 14:45   #16
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Its 22.5 miles but its uphill most of the way

From a standing start it would be rather hard to get above 30mph on the bridge, once on the two track section the driver can put the foot down he would be able to put the power on a good ten seconds earlier than an enterprise since its a shorter train

Curiously commuter trains (70mph) are given the same time as the 90mph enterprise, the hill has a part to play in that, just because a train can do 90mph doesn't mean to can do it going up a hill at that speed.

The C3k is a very very powerful commuter railcar which gives it the ability to out accelerate everything except the DART, the price of course is in the fuel and capital costs
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Unread 22-05-2008, 21:38   #17
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I do think it's unfair to compare the UK's "flagship" line (London - Darlington is on the ECML, not WCML which is still in the throes of rebuilding) with Dublin - Sligo.

The vast majority of train journeys in the UK are slower now than ever - it's only a few like London - Edinburgh, London - Manchester which have seen improvement - and that's because of eye watering sums of money being spent (and not entirely wisely).

My commute to work takes longer now because of timetable padding, but the main service I have experience of in Ireland is the Enterprise, which is frankly appalling.
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Unread 24-05-2008, 22:46   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrX View Post
The likes of the ESB have done a wonderful job,
Be careful of what you wish for - the ESB didn't build any power stations between 1984 and about 2000 and spent 'not a lot' on their network (mostly done by overcharging clients*). This has resulted in a situation where they now have to spend €3 billion over only a couple of years. Of and didn't I mention the huge demand for electricity and the price increases?


The ESB charges the first people in an area the full cost of a new transformer substation, no matter what the actual demand is. The first commercial user into Waterford Belview Port had to pay IR£/€(?)3m for the backhaul connection, everbody else in there only had to pay for their local connection. Its like ordering a train ticket and being charged for the whole train, even t hough others will use 'your' train.
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Unread 15-07-2008, 08:19   #19
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Just to prove how crazy it is

Sunday 13th
11:25 Dublin Limerick left Thurles at 13:01 arrived platform 2 Limerick 13:40 an amazing 11 minutes early, despite a 25mph speed restriction over a bridge and a slight delay to pass a train outside Limerick Junction

Monday 14th
19:30 Cork Dublin left Thurles at 20:49 (1 minute late) arrived platform 6 Heuston way too early, despite a crawl through Port Laois, Portarlington and the last 6 miles in. I'm still in disbelief it arrived a full 20 minutes early, 71 minutes vs 92 in the timetable
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