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Unread 22-05-2006, 11:47   #1
James Shields
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Well, I took the Luas over to Heuston and hopped on to the 9:00 to Cork, where I met Mark and NavanJunction. I took lots of photos, making sure to wander up to the locomotive end and have a look around there (no points for those predicting an orange loco).

The interior was bright and airy, and very pleasent to walk around. The toilets seemed very like the disabled toilets on the 2900, with a big swoosh around door. The interior displays were all very elegant, with an LED map showing the routes (but as Mark pointed out, nothing north of Athlone), scrolling displays at the carriage ends telling us where we were going (very like the 2900) and individual LED lisplays over each seat saying "vacant", as the booking system was not working. There are also exterior displays next to the doors. The automated announcement told us where we were going in Irish and English and was very clear. However, there was a manual announcement that the doors were about to close, and that was almost inaudable.

The seats seemed very hard when you sat down first, but comfortable enough once you settled into them. It remains to be seen how they'd feel after a few hours. Mark had already measures, and there's a little less leg room and the tables are a few cms narrower. Mark grumbled that there was nowhere to plug in his laptop, though he could pick up a WiFi signal that seemed to be coming from the train.

We headed off, more or less on time, pretty uneventfully. Passing Inchicore, we saw another CDE set in a siding. Mark pointed out that the only CDE set that was positioned to make the run last week still had plastic wrapping on all the seats, so even if there hadn't been a strike it's unlikely it could have run.

Mark had notes on all the bumps from his recent Mk3 run. He was even able to point out where a section had been realigned in the last couple of weeks, so he didn't know how it would compare. It was impressive how he'd interrupt the conversation with, "now there should be a bit of a bump in about ten seconds." I think he was actually quietly impressed. The ride definitely wasn't quite as solid as a Mark 3, but it was nowhere near as bad as it could be (light years ahead of the Enterprise, though that's not saying much). According to Mark, we got up to about 90mph, and things still seemed quite comfortable, though there was a worrying vibration. The sould insulation seemed very good, as we passed a number of trains heading in the other direction, and there wasn't a sound to be heard.

Barry Kenny came over to chat with us, and was very polite, though I think he played the "I was away last week so I don't know anything" card a little too much. He acknowledged there were issues with the ride, and said they were working with CAF to fix them.

NavanJunction and I got off at Kildare, as Derek was getting on for the next leg of the journey. We took the slow trip back on a 2900, which was interesting from a comparison viewpoint as you could feel every bump we went over. We were musing about the prospects of sitting on one the whole way to Sligo, which doesn't seem like a pleasent experience.

I thought it was also interesting to see where the new Park West station is being built. It's quite a bit further out than the current Cherry Orchard station (by necessity because of where the Interconnector surfaces). I really think there will be a need for an underground station between Park West and Heuston. Although noone got on or off at Cherry Orchard, why would they when the train only goes to Heuston? But if they could get to Stephen's Green or change at Pearse, it would be a whole different story. There will be a fairly bug chunk of popluation caught between two stations, especially after Inchicore is redeveloped.

It's been an interesting morning. I'll post photos later.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 13:14   #2
Mark Gleeson
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Default The Cork Dublin Express Train has entered service

This morning Platform 11 took a trip on the 9am Dublin Cork, the new Cork Dublin Express train. I travelled to Thurles with a every changing number of companions, including a Meath on Track representative

All in all the train was quite impressive none of the horrors predicted came true, we had a perfectly clean train, someone had taken a powerhose to the underside.

It started out with the locomotive beltching out blueish smoke not a good sign

Down to business ride is not as good as a MK3 but equally its not poor the lateral ride in corners was excellent but it came unstuck at times in rough patches. All the spots a MK3 got caught out also caught out the CDE. At no time did speed exceed 90mph so its unfair since most MK3 journeys I make hit and sustain 100mph for miles. They have tweaked the ride and there are more tweaks to come. All in all the ride is most acceptable and is probably best described as the MK3 international Cu Na Mara style, good and you would be more than happy. We were positioned in the best seats in the house, mid coach on the third coach 4107, ride tends to get a little giddy towards the rear

The devil is in the details

Tables are 5 cm less in width than MK3 tables, but you get an extra 2 cm from seat back to table, legroom, seat width are broadly the same. The armrests lift up, yippe.

No power sockets for laptops, I mean come on this is 2006. I saw the mock up and it had them

Each coach comes with two tiny bins in the vestibule area, no good at all. We had to put up with two over eager contract cleaners picking up the rubbish

Each coach has an odometer which shows the distance in Km travelled the three coaches we checked (4106/4107/4108) were in excess of 27,200km the required distance for service is 10,000km

The overhead luggage rack is extremely large and has significantly more capacity that a MK3 one which was proven by a large booked group with loads of bags

Station stops where slick since the door release and lock was done from the locomotive so seconds are saved. That was till Thurles when the doors didn't release for about 30 seconds, I had two senior IE managers next to me and the time while Derek had another manager to watch the fun. Doors did release but still they got worried

The PIS was not perfect after each station it would display this is the xx:xx Dublin Heuston Cork, where xx:xx was the departing time from that last station, thus after leaving Kildare this is the 9:30 Dublin Heuston Cork which it ain't. Robo dude speaks Irish quite well actually

Each seat comes with an electronic seat reservation display, all showing seat vacant currently as the software is not stable

The interior is nice the Design Triangle in Derby did a good job, gone is the horrible direct strip lighting its now a nice modern soft lighting. Incidently the spot lights are high intensity LEDs.

Despite earlier reports, there aint no wifi onboard I'm afraid

The AC is very good but you do pick up a carbon smell (brake disks) after a heavy brake application

There is a electronic route map, a bit like the DART one but someone forgot about 400miles of track, so nothing north of Athlone, no Wesport/Ballina/Sligo etc

And finally the PA was rubbish. Auto robo dude PA is perfect, manual is horrible. Just before we left there was a garbled PA with the sound of big diesel engine in the back, typical IE. The train manager then made a PA after Portarlington announcing free tea and coffee to all pity you couldn't hear it as the volume was so low.

Further to lostcarpark's report, Barry Kenny whom I've never met (never had to) actually found me on the train, they must have my photo on the wall in Connolly.

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 29-05-2006 at 19:42. Reason: 41xx to 4108
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Unread 22-05-2006, 13:23   #3
Navan Junction
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Leaving Kildare station



201 end

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Unread 22-05-2006, 13:42   #4
Mark Gleeson
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Some some curious photos

Where did Westport/Ballina/Sligo/Belfast/Rosslare go ?? First person to explain why the map looks like this gets pint off me at the P11 AGM


Every seat is vacant


Ok its lame but a nice wide door, with non slip and a light to ensure you don't miss the step


Last but not least the toliet, of course we found an out of order one. Be sure to push lock when you enter
Attached Images
File Type: jpg wheredidthenetworkgo.jpg (39.2 KB, 441 views)
File Type: jpg doorstil.jpg (89.6 KB, 401 views)
File Type: jpg reservations.jpg (21.9 KB, 396 views)
File Type: jpg bog.jpg (24.6 KB, 406 views)
File Type: jpg leaving_thurles.jpg (47.6 KB, 410 views)

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 22-05-2006 at 15:06.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 13:48   #5
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Doesn't it mean .

--- Green - route travelled
--- Yellow - route remaining to travel

The stations being called at being highlighted in red.

I'd assume if there were no PIS info signals from half way down onwards, that the system would just assume that that route still hadn't been travelled.

As for the route map, the train will never travel outside the Cork-Dublin line. It would just be confusing to have put the full network on. They have a limited space, much like a tube map it's schematic and for simple information purposes only. It does give you a good idea of where you're at. It's also a good indicator that these trains arn't going to be dragged all over the network. Like the Enterprise it's a dedicated service.

Did the automatic announcements work for all stations?

IE can NEVER manage to get their microphone levels right. They need to hire in some technical consultants and get advise on how to use microphones / PA systems. It's ridiculous as this system is brand new and clearly works if not operated and configured by the clueless. It's actually quite tricky to make sure that an audio system works properly so it's something best left to experts. Once configured, just DO NOT TOUCH any of the levels / volumes.

The PA from the 201 will undoubtedly sound noisy as there is a big diesel engine in the background. there's very little you can do about that other than get new locomotives with very heavily insulated cabs.

Last edited by MrX : 22-05-2006 at 13:56.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:19   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
At no time did speed exceed 90mph so its unfair since most MK3 journeys I make hit and sustain 100mph for miles.
I would dispute that -- I've probably done 10 return trips to Cork in a Mk3 set this year and I didn't exceed 100mph once. The wonderbra padding in the current timetable means they don't need to.

On a petty note glad that the armrests come up -- given that most of these trains will be running nearly empty (the most I've ever counted in the same carriage as me on either the 0900 Dub-Cork or the 1530 Cork-Dub was 10 on a weekday) it'll give me more room to spread out!

Good news about the ride though, now that €millions have gone on shiny new kit for IE, all they have to sort out now is to tell staff how to use a PA and how to implement an online booking system.

2015??
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:24   #7
Mark Gleeson
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I tend to get fast non stop trains where 100mph actually happens, been to 103mph once or twice, vast bulk don't get above 90mph

Train was well loaded today, I'd say 275 on board, there was a booking which had taken a whole coach, add in every single person in IE who wasn't rostered and all the managers including Dr Lynch head of CIE and the seats filled up

Oh and in the tradition of Inchicore tools where downed and we got a wave from the assembled staff as we passed, truely sad but still its tradition
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:27   #8
Kevin K Kelehan
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I think its kind of quaint one wonders if such traditions will transfer to the new depot at Port Laoise?
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:30   #9
Thomas J Stamp
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Default My punt for that pint.................

............ the reason why those destinations are missing is the reason for the strike (but of course). IE have a specily trained monkey who rests behind that little map. When the train is heading to those destinations he changes the map by scrolling it upwards with a special little spanish windy thing. The problem is that the NBRU wanted one of their lads to go in there instead, resulting in a dispacement of little monkeys. As The Blessed Phil Flynn was not available to smear vaseline all over deco from The 'Core to get him into the small area behind the map it could not be operated.

So there.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:46   #10
Colm Donoghue
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but this is Ireland. Everyone waves at trains as they pass.....

I wish I was being sarcastic or something but it's true.
(well in the country side anyway)
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
No power sockets for laptops, I mean come on this is 2006. I saw the mock up and it had them
I have a photo of you holding the socket infront of the mock (at least I had....).

I agree with Kevin, I think it is kind of cool that theh Inchacore staff wave the train off.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 14:51   #12
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Default on-board services

what about the dining car what was the setup on that like. Was it the same as the previous gammy crap or did it even have one?
Any service enhancements introduced on the new trains (complementary papers? telephones, baby changing facilities, vending machines, in seat entertainment like in planes etc ) I am thinking of business class here
any chance you have a pic of the full inside of a carriage?
most customers probably wont care about how shiny the trains are but rather the level of new or improved services available on the CDE's to make up for the independance of cars, the poor speed in comparison to flying and pathetic customer service
Its a pity to hear about the lack of wi-fi this would be a major enhancement (makes the journey seem faster), lack of bins, as well as no plugs for laptops . How many toilets per carriage?
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:01   #13
Mark Gleeson
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No in seat entertainment

One toliet per coach, all of which are fully accessible and have baby changing facilities

Each coach can carry a wheelchair and has space and a restraining strap, a wheelchair passenger joined at Thurles and the doors are all wide enough

Buffet is quite different, its normal 2+2 seating to a glass partition, then there is a curved shop area all in stainless steel. The passage way through the Buffet is extremely tight, that said its not required by passengers

I don't have a full coach photo, its not easy when you have IE managers crawling over the place and passengers don't like been photographed. The trolley blocked my trip to explore the train. I did find the odometer panel and the CCTV camera. I didn't get into the first class section but its the same colour as the standard class but with 2+1 seats and table lamps

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 22-05-2006 at 15:10.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:03   #14
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I can honeslty say that anytime I board a Cork-Dublin or Dublin-Cork train it's invariably at or very close to full capacity.

At peak hours I think they could even do with running extra non-stop trains to allow some capacity to remain on the stopping trains. On the busy trains it's quite common to see people boarding from Limerick Junction, Thurles etc standing for the entire journey because the train was completely full when it left Heuston or Kent.

Sure there'll be a few trains in the middle of the day with fairly sparce numbers of passengers, but that route carries vast numbers of people.

You can't only serve the peaks though. Having an hourly service is nothing unusual in a European / UK context between cities the size of Dublin and Cork. In fact, it's even a little infrequent. You'd see half-hourly peak services on many equvilant routes.

Frequent, flexible and fast service is key to marketing the route. If you have stopping trains you add a considerable amount of time to the journey which makes it uncompeditive with driving / flying and people just won't use it.

Best thing that IE could do is improve the stopping services with regional intercity links feeding those in-between stations.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:16   #15
Mark Gleeson
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Well the good news is I spoke to Steve Murphy during the trip and the capacity problem is known, there will be a number of CDE sets running as 9 coach consists (don't worry the software is designed for this) for the really busy trains.

I think the MK3 cascade with there 10-18 extra seats per coach will start to eat into the problem, well this day next year should be intercity railcars hmm I sense another mess coming soon
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:33   #16
Mark Gleeson
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Five Seven Live RTE Radio One 5:20-5:45pm tonight

Listen http://www.rte.ie/smiltest/radio_new.smil

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 22-05-2006 at 16:17.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:46   #17
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:55   #18
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Quote:
Do my eyes decieve me? Or is it merely the camera angle?

Or have IE finally learned that train floor heights should MATCH (or close enough) platform heights?
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:59   #19
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The pic posted by NJ1 makes the new sets look awful. The carriage is too flat compared to the 201. Shame really, from most angles it looks ok but that one looks bad.


Edit: Fixed typo as I am in a pedantic mood.

Last edited by PaulM : 22-05-2006 at 16:20.
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Unread 22-05-2006, 15:59   #20
Mark Gleeson
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Thats Ballybrophy Island platform, the angle might be a bit generous to it but it was a tight fit. Thurles was fine as well, intericty trains are fine sine there are steps I'm sure a 2900 at the same platform would be interesting.
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