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Unread 02-06-2006, 14:37   #21
Thomas J Stamp
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Mark Gleeson - do you work for IE?
I often wonder that.....

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Totally crazy to run trains in the morning to cater for commuters and none in the evening,
From IE:

1730, 1800, direct 1830 change at Portarlington and come back

You have to agree with the man, that's very poor.

Portlaoise, same times:

1730, 1800, 1835, 1915, 2100.

I imagine the 1915 and 2100 are Cork trains but at that hour of the evening they could stop there.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 15:00   #22
Mark Gleeson
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I don't work for Irish Rail, in fact an investigation was conducted within IE to find out if I was operating under an alias they came up dry. All the costs are publically available, Irish Rail have no problem writting long articles for the trade press

Its fairly simple to work out the fleet size and allocations and there is no spare, problem is finding space to run an extra train if you could find a train set. In fact Irish Rail are short by about 40 suburban coaches currently

Next question is there was 4 coaches are available where should they be deployed, options are
1) Drogheda line, over crowding levels resulting in numerous people fainting, track capacity available, also possible extend lenght of some trains
2) Maynooth, over crowding levels resulting in numerous people fainting, track capacity available, also possible extend lenght of some trains
3) Kildare Dublin, patchy service but extreme track capacity limits, the one possible slot for an extra train has been rejected by Irish Rail as available.

Its either 1 or 2 without question

The only thing wrong about the evening service is you have to change at Portarlington if you get the 18:35, still its only a 70 minute journey, 3 trains 30 minutes apart in the rush hour which is reasonable its a lot better than some places

Costs are very important, at the moment its possible to get 2 fully loaded trips per rush hour out of a set running Dublin Newbridge, if you extend beyond Kildare the set won't be back in Dublin to cover other services, so you need more equipment. Mornings are easy enough as you can position stuff and simply depart earlier

This is not simple stuff, timetabling is a nightmare, we are working on a off peak time table for Dublin Portlaois/Athlone since thats a major issue in Kildare and Newbridge and on paper a train to and from Monestervin every 2 hours is just about possible, the peak timetable is resource constrained

You can't go in to Irish Rail management and ask for what is impossible you have to go in with a reasoned case backed by proof it works at that point you are in a position to force the issue, we have been there and Irish Rail changed there story very fast once we proved the previously impossible possible

19:15 is a Fridays only to Limerick
The 21:00 to Cork already makes far too many stops

There is talk of a later suburban service to Port Laoise but Irish Rail have the usual excuses about not doing it, they need a an extra driver, takes 70 odd weeks train one

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 02-06-2006 at 15:09.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 15:03   #23
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Originally Posted by Jimbo
Mark Gleeson - do you work for IE?
I wish he did but sadly he's too competent to work for CIE.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 15:18   #24
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Originally Posted by Mark Gleeson
I don't work for Irish Rail, in fact an investigation was conducted within IE to find out if I was operating under an alias they came up dry.
LOL
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Unread 02-06-2006, 15:30   #25
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Does the off peak timetable you are working on include stops in Monasterevin after say 7?
After all the waffle again Mark you are basically saying the reason there are no later services is that it takes 70 weeks to train a driver!!! That's the biggest load of BS I've ever heard. There is only one train an hour leaving Heuston in the evenings, where are all the drivers! What they are really saying is IE staff do not want to work late and provide a real service our taxes pay for.
If it's so complicated how can Germany (and others) get all trains to run on time in a far more complex network?
There is honestly no reason Kildare cannot be serviced better in the evenings and later at night including Monasterevin
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Unread 02-06-2006, 16:30   #26
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The train in question is the 22:45 to Kildare and they need another driver trained to cover the roster changes that result in its extension to Port Laoise (further hour driving), this was not unexpected (daily driving hours and milage are restricted) and it does take 70 weeks to train a driver, thats best practice and has been subjected to safety evaluation as have the rostering arrangements, drivers don't get extra for working at night nor do they have a say when they work.

This is not a simple problem, even the off peak timetable is proving complex to arrange, it is principally designed for 9am to 4pm (since there are spare trains in Dublin) but the approach would work at a lesser scale after 7:30 as well (train fleet is then well beyond Dublin), the main criticism of the current timetable is the big gaps in the afternoon, our current draft proposal would more than double the number of trains calling at Monasterevin (and a lot of other places) and provides a clockface timetable across all routes integrating with Irish Rails proposed new Cork/Limerick timetable as well as good connections.

The principle problem is 2 tracks out of Dublin, anywhere else would have 4 tracks which solves all the timetabling ills

German railways are nowhere near as punctual as many believe

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 02-06-2006 at 16:44.
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Unread 02-06-2006, 16:52   #27
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So you are basically saying now the reason for lack of decent service is that they can't organise their roster!
I'd be very surprised if there is no overtime paid at all!
It just hard to believe, with problems so blatant why things are so slow to change, the only thing that changes is the price of a feckin ticket!! The main station in Ireland has only two tracks!! Its totally scandalous. How long have thet been working on that roof when they should have been building some tracks.
Are you saying all problems will be resolved when the four lanes come in?
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Unread 02-06-2006, 17:13   #28
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Originally Posted by Jimbo
So you are basically saying now the reason for lack of decent service is that they can't organise their roster!
I'd be very surprised if there is no overtime paid at all!
Working hours are restricted on safety ground and now by the working time act, we live in a real world where you cant have exactly what you want at a moments notice, we know that and have to argue the case with this in mind

The first formal request for an extension of the 22:45 to Kildare was made late last year

The roof has nothing to do with this, it is one of the oldest train sheds still in original condition in the world and is listed, the government decide on infrastructure not Irish Rail, you wouldn't even buy a mile of track for the cost of the roof


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Are you saying all problems will be resolved when the four lanes come in?
Vast bluk of timetabling problems go away overnight it should provide at least 2 extra slots beyond Kildare
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Unread 06-06-2006, 12:07   #29
Thomas J Stamp
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I like Jimbo, tells it as it is, with lots of exclamation marks!!!

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Quote:
Mark Gleeson - do you work for IE?



I often wonder that.....
Shouldnt really be stirring it up like that LOL!!

I forgot when I was extracting the times that it was different as it was Friday only. However, I wouldnt be surprised if when the new Limerick timetable comes in, as Mark said above, there may be some stops in Monastereven. Really one stop on a departure from Heuston sometime between 1830 and 1930 would do it.
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Unread 06-06-2006, 13:47   #30
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The smart money is on having a 18:30 to Limerick all stops Kildare Limerick except, Monasterevin and Ballybrophy, then a 18:35 to Portlaoise all stops Hazelhatch Portlaoise but skipping Portarlington, followed by 18:42 Cherry Orchard, Clondalkin, Adamstown, Newbridge

Timetabling is not easy as everyone must get a fair deal that means no one destination can control the plan
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Unread 06-06-2006, 15:59   #31
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Default Just not good enough. Screw the consensus.

"To extend the Kildare train service..."

I thought that was the whole point of the Kildare Route Project ? Or should that read the " Only As Far As Kildare Town Route Project. Monasterevin is in County Kildare. Portarlington and Portlaoise are in County Laois and are I assume by definition excluded from this upgrade.

"To turnback/start/terminate a train at Monasterevin...."

Nobody is asking for the station to be turned into a junction. Thats setting false expectations way beyond what is required. What we want are trains to stop at the station period. The original plan was to bring the 4 new tracks down as far as Newbridge. Yet that plan was changed. I wonder why ? Too far from Inchicore maybe.

"It is fairly well accepted that Monasterevin station is a failure since the demand is not there."

Since when is a new train station meant to pay its way within 4 years ? The IE criteria for sufficient demand seems to equate to a situation of overcrowding, queueing and hassle because thats all I've ever experienced when using Euston, Newbridge, Kildare, Sallins. The two stations I've used most regularly are Monasterevin and Cherry Orchard. No crowds, no hassle, no bull****. The latter is being shut down and the former looks on the basis of what is being said here as if it is going the same way. A train service should not be judged on pure profit/loss lines esp new infrastructure like a train station. There are people moving into the town all the time partly attracted by the possibility of commuting by train to/from Dublin. And maybe even late at night or on A Sunday (wow, theres a concept) Oh what a shock theyll get when they start using the trains !! Does anyone in IE actually bother to do their sums on this ? And please dont quote me Census figures from 2002. Do you realise how many people are immigrating into Ireland at the present time ? 10,000 a month and a lot of them are heading down towards us. Again this is cultural blockage and not a financial issue within IE as far as I can tell. There are two large trains stations beyond Monasterevin - Portarlington and Portlaoise both of whom were served by the Arrow train service. Why the hell was that taken away and replaced by filthy commuter trains ? Neither of these towns are going to suffer from reduced service in future and neither should Monasterevin. How can it cost more to stop at a station that is closer to Dublin than either of these places ?

" it makes no sense to further streech the system"

It makes absolute sense to stretch the system because what is there at present is simply not acceptable in one of the richest countries in the world ! Please dont follow the Eircom lead and consider it acceptable to shaft your customers because the live in the stix

In summary, the response suggests that Monasterevin wasnt considered in anybodys plans - Inter City, Commuter or Arrow - with a view to improving the service because basically there are not enough people in the town. Irish twittery at its best !! This is an absolute disgrace. Sounds to me as if IE are running scared on this matter. They've taken so long to settle down into their new world of investment and renewal, upgrades, bright new futures, they've forgotten the fundamentals of providing a better service - trains that stop at a local station. Maybe I'm missing something here but someone needs to sort this out because by the sounds of what is being said, the service is going to get a lot worse. Are IE planning to shut the station down again by any chance ?

The last sentence says it all - "2009 at the earliest" in other words Manyana.
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Unread 06-06-2006, 16:04   #32
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Thumbs up Not Aimed at Mark Gleeson

Just in case my posts are worded to the bad, they are aimed directly at IE and not Mark.
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Unread 06-06-2006, 17:49   #33
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Kildare route stretches from Le Fanu Rd to Hazelhatch, originally it went from Inchicore to Straffan, there was no benefit to having the Inchicore bit really, there wasn't much of a case to go to Straffan either once you do the math, 4 track to Newbridge was never on the table, there was talk of Sallins at one time. For those you know their geography will note Hazelhatch station is on the Dublin/Kildare boundary.

The key thing is to understand how the service is structured, Kildare is the outer suburban boundary, Hazelhatch is the inner suburban boundary. The Kildare commuter service was conceived to run between Heuston and Kildare, Kildare was chosen as it was on the outer rim of the commuter boundary and also the first possible terminus (as it was in 1994) as well as a good connection point. Problem is simple Irish Rail can't even be bothered to provide the current timetable to even a decent level, adding an extra service is going to make it even worse and the large base of users in Kildare/Newbridge/Sallins/Hazelhatch are unwilling to accept any further reduction in the service quality, its frankly rubbish currently its only going to get worse the more trains in the system. Thats an undeniable fact.

Despite no additional rolling stock resources in the rush hours there are more trains this year compared to last that has lead to serious reliability problems resulting in cancelations since 1960's era coaches have been retained in service for one more year (its been one more year every year since 1998). Things got very very bad this year as a result

We simply cannot condone trying to run any additional services until Irish Rail get there act together, they have an awful lot to do and they have publicly committed to a lot of what is needed at public meetings we await to see if they deliver if they do there might be a window of opportunity to increase services but that is still dependent on finding more trains

Monesterevin has 3 morning rush hour services, spaced 30 minutes apart all arriving Dublin before 9am, that is an extremely respectable level of service for a town of its size, its a lot better than some others say Mullingar which has only one arrival before 9 (second is 9:03), thats not going to change. Evening is less impressive but two quite fast direct services and a third requiring a change again is quite respectable

There is no off peak service since the coaches used for the morning rush hour are actually pinched from the intercity division and are required for mid morning intercity services. There is no infinite supply of resources, you want more trains but don't want the 1960's era coaches you are stuck in a no win scenario.

What we know is happening is a separation of services, the Hazelhatch Heuston service will operate separately to the regional services to Athy/Port Laois/Athlone, as a result the peak hour service through Monesterevin will remain at no more than 2 trains per hour but at least an hourly off peak service could be provided. The timetabling situation will be very simple after the 4 tracks go in
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Unread 08-06-2006, 20:18   #34
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Cheers for the candid responses. You are that dart board.

Do you think it would be worthwhile forming a Monasterevin Rail Users Group to raise awareness of issues ? If the common perception of the service is one of failure, I think we've a lot of work to do, probably more so than some of the larger stations where survival is not an issue.

Are there any procedures we should follow in going about doing this ?

Would any else be interested in participating ?
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Unread 08-06-2006, 21:07   #35
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The principle problem in Kildare and Newbridge was the cark park, it condition, lack of spaces security and so on. Monasterevin has a modern well laid out car park, its got plenty of empty spaces, it looks well looked after compared to the building site look Newbridge has, not an issue

Accessibility was a major issue elsewhere, Monestervin is a fully accessible station to latest standards, not an issue

Those two issues Irish Rail were happy to agree with and put things in motion, but

On the service level issue the bulk of complaints were to do with delays, poor on train conditions, connections and the dodgy off peak service. Most people do accept the fact that things are heavily constrained.

In light of this we are working on (quite close to being complete) a new off peak timetable, which addresses the issues raised, Monasterevin would get a train every two hours in each direction as we envisage a day time Port Laois commuter service (hourly allowing for Limerick), Athlone also picks up an hourly service. We can solve this problem and keep everyone happy

Peak time is a nightmare it would be very difficult get any significant changes, its too complex and this is where the operational problems are and need sorting out before making a step forward

The future
By end 2006 few if any trains will be more than 30 years old, most will date from the mid 1980's that the impact of the new Cork Dublin trains, will mean some more seats as well
Late 2007 will see elimination of the 1970's stock permanently, new depot opens up in Port Laois leading to an improved evening service and more reliable morning service
Late 2009 Kildare Route Project completes and things get miles better

Irish Rail won't tell you any different

If you want to see a big improvement get Kildare CC to sort its planning out and densify, currently the all day total number of people boarding best case using the data Arup gathered when developing investment plans is 108, thats best case 2 trains per hour peak and once every 2 hours off peak would be a reasonable service level, off peak is taken as 1/4 of peak. The fundamental problem in Monasterevin is its small population, that combined with the fact Irish Rail were not provided with the operational resources to match the new station

If you wish to really annoy Irish Rail management (in fact I mentioned Monasterevin to them today) the man you want is Myles McHugh who is the service planning manager (for extra annoyance mention my name), avoid Barry Kenny at all costs. I'll forward on our proposed of peak timetable if you wish, the key thing here is to ensure everyone on the line gets a fair deal making an extra stop in one place means one less stop somewhere else

You might want to read this and the links http://www.platform11.org/local_groups/

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 08-06-2006 at 21:11.
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Unread 13-06-2006, 10:25   #36
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Will you post your off peak timetable here when you have it complete? Can you tell me, is there a later train stopping in Monasterevin on this off peak timetable? That is all I am looking for. I don't care what kinda mess goes on on the Maynooth line, or how much it would cost etc...It really isn't that hard!!! (a few extra exclamations there for Thomas and his distortion field, what does LOL mean by the way?)

Off the point abit, would I be wrong in saying that the signalling system is absolutely useless here. I've seen trains all over the world arrive very quickly after each other, yet there seems to be massive delays when it happens here. At peak times if there is one delay the whole thing breaks down. Do they have a system that shows where each train is on the track at all times? Seems to be a lack of big picture planning.
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Unread 13-06-2006, 10:42   #37
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Laugh Out Loud
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Unread 13-06-2006, 11:01   #38
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Off peak evening you should be seeing something after 10pm, current work in concentrated on 9am to 4:30pm since there is a glut of trains in Dublin doing nothing, evenings something after 10pm is likely

This is not easy had to do a rethink to allow for a train every 30 minutes to Adamstown from 2007 plus allow for freight services (yes there are still freight trains).

The signalling between Hazelhatch and Ballybrophy dates from 1976 it is computer controlled since the mid 1980's, 1986 I think. The exact location of all trains between Clondalkin and Cork/Tralee/Limerick/Galway/Waterford/Athlone-Moate are displayed in real time, I saw a live demo of it many moons ago. Since 2003 the computer routes the trains automatically based on the timetable with the signalman allowed override. The problem is back in 1976 the signalling was specified to simply replace the mechanical system like for like which was fine for a rail system that wasn't even carrying 10 milion a year, that left a limit of a train every 7 minutes, once Heuston was rebuilt that became 5 minutes as Heuston to just before Hazelhatch was resignalled. Fundamental problem is some trains make lots of stops some make no stops so a gap will open up behind a fast train, you also have to account for Waterford trains leaving/joining at Cherryville Junction. The Kildare Route Project resignals out as far as Cherryville

The reliability problem is down to having only 2 tracks, anywhere else in Europe would have 4

The distortion field gag is to do with the amazing ability of Barry Kenny Irish Rails media spokeman to make even a 4 hour delay sound like a good thing, you always feel like you are getting something when you are not, hence why if you want a result you need to dodge the media minder and head straight for line manager

Last edited by Mark Gleeson : 13-06-2006 at 11:10.
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Unread 13-06-2006, 13:32   #39
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O/T a little further but wasnt there some blind alley from the hatch inwards to Heston when they put in the new signals? Did they ever iron it out? You might remember my nervy experiance a few weeks ago with two trians heading out of heuston at the same time well that was what was in my mind at the time.
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Unread 13-06-2006, 13:59   #40
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The big gap between Inchicore and Hazelhatch was fixed when Heuston was rebuilt, made a big difference, the computer can have fun with routing trains, its not unsafe it keeps things moving
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