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Unread 23-03-2016, 15:04   #1
Deedsie
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Default How to improve the Limerick - Nenagh - Ballybrophy line?

Hi,

I have been reading a bit about the Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy line as I could never understand how the line was so unsuccessful. Hoping people here might inform with the issues affecting the line. I would love to hear any comments or suggestions on how this train line could best serve its route.

I am not appealing for any additional services at the moment. My proposal would be to approach Irish Rail to request they change the time the train currently departs Limerick Colbert station on weekday mornings to 05:30 am on the Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy line?

• A commuter train arriving in Dublin Heuston at 10:00 am is not much use to any employees wishing to work in Dublin City or anywhere else between Nenagh & Ballybrophy or between Ballybrophy and Dublin.
• For students, 10:00 am is too late for anyone trying to get to college/university in Dublin or accessing a transfer to Maynooth.
• An earlier train that would arrive in Dublin Heuston before 09:00 am would receive far more customers and could give a boost to the Limerick – Nenagh - Ballybrophy line.
• With the imminent reopening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel, a transfer at Kildare station would make it possible to travel from Castleconnell, Birdhill, Nenagh, Cloughjordan or Roscrea to Drumcondra, Connolly, Tara, Pearse or Grand Canal Dock in the heart of Dublin city centre rather than just Heuston station as is the current situation in just over 2 hours.
• From these stations, commuters could transfer to the DART Network and access Dublin North and South.
• This could be very useful infrastructure to the municipal districts of Limerick East, Nenagh, Thurles/Templemore, Borris – in – Ossory/Mountmellick & Portlaoise.
• Irish rail and individual municipal districts could easily advertise this commuter train with slogans like “Avoid the N7 traffic” or “Avoid the M7 roadworks” when the M7 widening project gets underway.
• A journey on a train would be more economical, better for the environment and could potentially save the Limerick – Nenagh – Ballybrophy line from inevitable closure. The line is not working as it is, time to try something different with the timetable.


Once the Phoenix Park tunnel line opens, it should be advertised that there will be a Limerick - Nenagh - Ballybrophy line train every weekday morning arriving at Heuston station no later than 08:30 for transfers to Luas and Dublin bus.

It should also be advertised that there will be a stop at Kildare station for those wishing to transfer onto the Phoenix park line and direct access to Drumcondra, Connolly, Tara, Pearse, Grand Canal Dock and the DART network in the heart of Dublin city.


If the Limerick – Nenagh - Ballybrophy line doesn’t make some changes it will surely close eventually.

I know the line is in need of investment to improve speed to compete with other modes of transport but I don’t know exactly what works are required. Be great if someone could fill me in.

I have read there are 25 level crossings on the line that would need to be automated? And that there would be at least €8 to €10 million investment required to make the line competitive.

Last edited by Deedsie : 24-03-2016 at 08:02.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 10:40   #2
Deedsie
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Default Fantasy proposal

I totally understand that financially this is not viable and there is not enough rail users using the line at present.... However.

Wouldn't it make more sense to have a stop just south of Borris - in - Ossory itself and a spur off the current line following a route North of the M7 to join up with the Cork line somewhere between Ballybrophy and Portlaoise. Kilcotton or Ashbrook area.

I am sure all of this has been looked at and reviewed before but I have only recently taken an interest in the subject.

I think unless 50% of the limerick traffic are travelling on this line it is unlikely to ever make a profit. The only way to get limerick people to use it is to invest in the line to reduce travel times.

Last edited by Deedsie : 24-03-2016 at 12:14.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 11:36   #3
Mark Gleeson
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Welcome

As you no doubt know a direct Limerick Nenagh Dublin service was provided in recent years providing a 0825 arrival at Dublin Heuston.

It has been alleged a (former) government minister bypassed the established procedure and left Irish Rail with no choice but to add the service. The very first document on file concerning this change was an email sent by RUI querying rumors of a timetable change, there then followed a pile of communication, which captures the make it up as it went on routine.

The service was subsequently altered to a 0833 arrival without the approval of the National Transport Authority in breech of contract requirements. It was withdrawn fairly quickly due the significant costs in running the service with minimal passenger take up as well as significant negative impacts on other services

Unless 30-40 million in capital funding can be found the line is not viable and any plan should focus on Limerick and not Dublin. Far more people in Nenagh going to Limerick than Dublin.

No intercity trains will use the Phoenix Park Tunnel route, it will be for Dublin area commuters only.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 11:44   #4
James Howard
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This is a pretty common pattern over the entire network. Aside from the Cork line, journey times are increasing almost everywhere. This is partially due to the idiotic 10 minute DART timetable but there must be a degree of accumulated maintenance deficit involved.

The new timetable pushes my commute outside of the threshold of tolerability and I'm going to have to figure another plan after nearly 13 years of commuting.

The reality is that unless there is significant investment and improvement in journey times, Irish Rail may as well just start shutting lines down because it is a waste of money pouring operational subsidies into services that are no use to anyone. One could be forgiven for suspecting this is the plan anyway.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 12:17   #5
Deedsie
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No intercity trains will use the Phoenix Park Tunnel route, it will be for Dublin area commuters only.
A transfer at Kildare onto a phoenix Park Tunnel line train would make it available to intercity trains?
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Unread 24-03-2016, 12:23   #6
Deedsie
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Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
This is a pretty common pattern over the entire network. Aside from the Cork line, journey times are increasing almost everywhere. This is partially due to the idiotic 10 minute DART timetable but there must be a degree of accumulated maintenance deficit involved.

The new timetable pushes my commute outside of the threshold of tolerability and I'm going to have to figure another plan after nearly 13 years of commuting.

The reality is that unless there is significant investment and improvement in journey times, Irish Rail may as well just start shutting lines down because it is a waste of money pouring operational subsidies into services that are no use to anyone. One could be forgiven for suspecting this is the plan anyway.
I can see the Phoenix Park Tunnel line being an absolutely astounding success. A relatively small investment for huge rewards.

Maybe this should lead to a long term project of upgrading the entire rail network to an agreed standard. I think this would be a good use of national infrastructure capital? What would the opinions here be?

Last edited by Deedsie : 24-03-2016 at 12:31.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 12:25   #7
berneyarms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Howard View Post
This is a pretty common pattern over the entire network. Aside from the Cork line, journey times are increasing almost everywhere. This is partially due to the idiotic 10 minute DART timetable but there must be a degree of accumulated maintenance deficit involved.

The new timetable pushes my commute outside of the threshold of tolerability and I'm going to have to figure another plan after nearly 13 years of commuting.

The reality is that unless there is significant investment and improvement in journey times, Irish Rail may as well just start shutting lines down because it is a waste of money pouring operational subsidies into services that are no use to anyone. One could be forgiven for suspecting this is the plan anyway.
Any change in Sligo line journey times has nothing to do with the 10 minute DART timetable but rather would be down to changes in the speed limits on the Sligo line.

We have yet to see the final timetable so I wouldn't be rushing to a decision just yet.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 13:55   #8
James Howard
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On a related note, I see that Limerick - Ennis is still closed which is going on for four months now and they are estimating the end of April before services can resume. This is another example of a line which either needs investment to resolve this problem or to be closed down. A railway line that closes for 5 months is of no use to anybody. This line seems to close for at least a couple of months every year.

This is the reality after 8 years of cutbacks, I don't see how the status quo can continue for a lot longer. The system either needs closures or more money going into track maintenance or people are going to find better ways to get around.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 21:56   #9
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Originally Posted by berneyarms View Post
Any change in Sligo line journey times has nothing to do with the 10 minute DART timetable but rather would be down to changes in the speed limits on the Sligo line.

We have yet to see the final timetable so I wouldn't be rushing to a decision just yet.
The changes on the Sligo line have little to do with either speed restrictions or the vanity 10 minute interval DART service. The three issues affecting the Sligo line are

1) Further reduced rolling stock allocation.

2) Painfully slow scheduling between Connolly and Maynooth.

3) Use of Sligo services to provide short haul commuter stops at Kilcock and Enfield.

There are a few speed restrictions associated with accommodation and field crossings but these are not sufficient in number to have any material affect on scheduling.
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Unread 24-03-2016, 22:06   #10
Mark Gleeson
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Sligo is not the topic here
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Unread 24-03-2016, 22:24   #11
Inniskeen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson View Post
Welcome

As you no doubt know a direct Limerick Nenagh Dublin service was provided in recent years providing a 0825 arrival at Dublin Heuston.

It has been alleged a (former) government minister bypassed the established procedure and left Irish Rail with no choice but to add the service. The very first document on file concerning this change was an email sent by RUI querying rumors of a timetable change, there then followed a pile of communication, which captures the make it up as it went on routine.

The service was subsequently altered to a 0833 arrival without the approval of the National Transport Authority in breech of contract requirements. It was withdrawn fairly quickly due the significant costs in running the service with minimal passenger take up as well as significant negative impacts on other services

Unless 30-40 million in capital funding can be found the line is not viable and any plan should focus on Limerick and not Dublin. Far more people in Nenagh going to Limerick than Dublin.

No intercity trains will use the Phoenix Park Tunnel route, it will be for Dublin area commuters only.
While there was an early morning through service from Limerick via Nenagh, the journey time was pathetic and reliability poor. The line suffers from a combination of bad order track, low speed limits, minimal service frequency and hopelessly uncompetitive journey times.

I am not convinced that salvation lies in services oriented towards Limerick bound commuters unless there was to be a substantial increase in frequency and a significant reduction in journey times. Traffic towards Dublin is less driven by frequency than by scheduling both in terms of journey times and suitability for commuters, students and shoppers. The most significant thing that could be done in the short term would be to re-orient the junction at Ballybrophy to face Dublin rather than Cork - this alone would save of the order of twenty minutes and if combined with fast running on the mainline would provide moderately competitive journey times from Dublin to and from Nenagh and Roscrea.
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Unread 25-03-2016, 17:04   #12
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Has there ever been a study done investigating the feasibility of adding a spur off the line just South of Borris in Ossory to the main line South of Portlaoise? What would it cost? It seems like the best option by far to make the line viable and supporters of making the line viable again should be campaigning for such a study to be done?

I dont expect this to happen in the medium term but if an active and vocal campaign began to advocate for it maybe someday it could happen.
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Unread 26-03-2016, 15:02   #13
Colm Moore
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Has there ever been a study done investigating the feasibility of adding a spur off the line just South of Borris in Ossory to the main line South of Portlaoise?
Do you mean like the blue lines on the image? It would cost perhaps €2 million per km and increase maintenance costs, but deliver no appreciable service improvement. It would somewhat parallel / duplicate the existing main line.

Improving the existing infrastructure would be much more useful.
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Unread 26-03-2016, 16:01   #14
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What is the current setup for this line for signalling and level crossings? Are these still all manual or have they largely been sorted out? If they're still stuck needing a couple of dozen people just to keep the line open, it's hard to see any long-term future for the line.
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Unread 26-03-2016, 16:14   #15
Deedsie
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Originally Posted by Colm Moore View Post
Do you mean like the blue lines on the image? It would cost perhaps €2 million per km and increase maintenance costs, but deliver no appreciable service improvement. It would somewhat parallel / duplicate the existing main line.

Improving the existing infrastructure would be much more useful.

http://railusers.ie/forum/attachment...d=145900452 7
Sorry but your link isn't working for me but I will assume we are referring to the same thing.

My assumption would be that the appreciable service improvement would be the improvement of journey time, which would increase customers which would eventually result in a profit for the line that could be invested in the increased maintenance costs of employing new staff etc or improving other parts of the line such as the level crossings etc

I'm not in anyway advocating this in the short to medium term but if the line is to be made viable people interested need to decide what the most important approach to make the line viable is and speak with a unified voice about it.

Last edited by Deedsie : 26-03-2016 at 16:18.
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Unread 27-03-2016, 18:14   #16
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What is the current setup for this line for signalling and level crossings? Are these still all manual or have they largely been sorted out? If they're still stuck needing a couple of dozen people just to keep the line open, it's hard to see any long-term future for the line.
All signalled manually via three signal boxes at Killonan Junction, Birdhill and Roscrea.

All level crossings bar one are manually operated (and there are a lot!).

Last edited by berneyarms : 27-03-2016 at 19:11.
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Unread 27-03-2016, 18:55   #17
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All signalled manually via three signal boxes at Killonan Junction, Birdhill and Roscrea.

All level crossings are manually operated (and there are a lot!).
Is there anyway to find out exactly how many level crossings there are? Is there a GIS map viewer or anything?
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Unread 27-03-2016, 19:04   #18
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Is there anyway to find out exactly how many level crossings there are? Is there a GIS map viewer or anything?
12 in total - 10 between Killonan Jctn and Birdhill, and 2 between Roscrea and Ballybrophy.

There are a reasonable number of accommodation crossings on top of that.

Last edited by berneyarms : 27-03-2016 at 19:13.
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Unread 27-03-2016, 19:32   #19
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12 in total - 10 between Killonan Jctn and Birdhill, and 2 between Roscrea and Ballybrophy.

There are a reasonable number of accommodation crossings on top of that.
Hi Berney,

Thanks for the reply. Do the accommodation crossing impact on journey times to the same as the level crossings do? Has there ever been an attempt to automate the level crossings or remove them completely?
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Unread 27-03-2016, 19:48   #20
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All crossings impact on journey times.

I'm not aware of any modernisation plans.

I'm afraid you're on a hiding to nothing here.

The line would would require hundreds of millions of euro to be brought up to an acceptable standard and that is frankly needed more elsewhere.
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