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Unread 14-11-2009, 21:42   #1
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Default New (disimproved) timetable (Part 1)

Overall verdict - sadly, a significant disimprovement on the current service.

A very disjointed timetable which neglects several obvious and identified opportunities for improved network integration, through services and journey times.

Traditionally timetable reviews focus on the major routes and so called lesser routes may only get a passing reference. I say this as an observation rather than in a critical sense. So to try the opposite here goes...

The timetable for the line is dated 29th November, 2009 until further notice. In effect, due to the continued total absence of a Sunday service, the commencement date is Monday 30th. The cover photo features a railcar running along the (western) banks of the River Slaney with Ferrycarrig Bridge and castle in the background. The route descriptions are, as customary, bilingual though the Gaeilge is now listed at the top, with the English equivalent underneath. "Enniscorthy" has been removed from the route title. The timetable (PDF version so far) is un-numbered. The current timetable is numbered 12 as in a presumably informal route numbering for timetable production purposes.

As detailed in the IÉ website summary of changes, the number of Waterford to Limerick Junction and vice versa trains falls from four to three in each direction.

Rosslare Europort - Waterford - Limerick
* The 0625 Enniscorthy - Rosslare Europort no longer commences at Arklow at 0544. It now commences at Enniscorthy, departing Wexford (O'Hanrahan) a minute earlier at 0647, Rosslare Strand seven minutes earlier (at 0705), to arrive at Rosslare Europort at 0710, eight minutes earlier than heretofore. The connection to the Waterford-bound train at Rosslare Strand thankfully remains.

* The 0705 Rosslare Europort to Waterford is advanced slightly to 0700 and now takes 1h 20 minutes to reach Waterford (Plunkett). The current end-to-end running time is 1 h 18 minutes. Curiously an extra minute is allowed for both the Bridgetown-Wellingtonbridge and Campile-Waterford sections. One ponders is this the result of a speed restriction or merely a discretionary adjustment by compilers of the timetable.

* The 0635 Waterford to Limerick Junction is advanced to 0630 and operates five minutes earlier throughout. Onward connections from the Junction to Heuston, Cork and Limerick are not changed by more than two minutes.
Disappointingly the one out of four trains to be discontinued is the 0935 Waterford to Limerick Junction effectively totally dismantling through journey opportunities from the ferry, Rosslare, Enniscorthy, Wexford and South Wexford stations to stations west of Waterford. (At present one can arrive into Waterford at 0823 and continue westwards at 0935 – not perfect by any means but nonetheless viable).
The new timetable sees the ex Rosslare train arrive into Waterford at 0820 and the next train westwards not depart until 4 hours and 10 minutes later at 1230.

* The 1230 Waterford to Limerick Junction is accelerated by seven minutes, though it is largely negated by there being no onward connection to Limerick until 1454, resulting in an arrival into Limerick (Colbert) eighteen minutes later than at present. Passengers for the Dublin-bound connection have an eighteen minute wait (currently seven minutes) whilst Cork-bound customers who previously had to wait 1 h 22 minutes now have a forty minute wait. At Waterford the train from Dublin arrives fifty three minutes beforehand (currently twenty eight minutes).

* The 1638 Waterford to Limerick Junction is advanced to 1615 and is decelerated by five minutes, arriving into Limerick Junction at 1801. Onward connections to Dublin, Cork and Limerick all entail longer waits. This train crosses the 1510 Limerick Junction – Waterford at Carrick-on-Suir, the only instance where passenger trains cross on the line in the new timetable.

Limerick Junction - Waterford - Rosslare Europort
* The 0850 Limerick Junction to Waterford commences and terminates at the same times though all the intermediate timings are changed slightly. Connections from Limerick, Cork and Dublin into the train remain unchanged. At Waterford the train connects into the 1100 to Dublin (previously 1045).

* The 1145 Limerick Junction to Waterford train is discontinued.

* The 1546 Limerick Junction to Enniscorthy (Saturdays just to Rosslare Europort) is advanced to depart at 1510 and terminates at Waterford (1705 hrs.) though thankfully in time to connect with a separate train at 1720 from Waterford to Rosslare Europort. Journey time from Limerick Junction to Waterford increases by nine minutes to 1h 55 minutes. Coming from Limerick, a forty-five minute wait at the Junction (previously 20 minutes) is necessary. Passengers from the Cork direction now have a forty two minute wait to connect with this train (currently 1 h 20minutes) whilst passengers from the Dublin direction have a longer wait of nineteen minutes (currently five minutes). Passengers wishing to connect with a Dublin-bound train at Waterford now must wait 1 h 15 minutes, previously 53 minutes.

* The 1720 Waterford to Rosslare Europort completes its journey a minute faster, taking one and a quarter hours to cover the thirty eight miles (previously 1h 16 mins). The minute's saving is achieved between Rosslare Strand and Europort.

The afternoon Dublin-Kilkenny-Waterford train continues to narrowly fail to offer a connection into the solitary County Wexford train of the day.
The 1720 ex Waterford does not continue beyond Rosslare Europort and the last Wexford/Enniscorthy/Dublin-bound train departs Rosslare Strand around half an hour prior to the arrival of this train thereby creating the unusual and overtly user-unfriendly situation whereby it remains possible to commute from Enniscorthy and Wexford to points between Bridgetown and Waterford inclusive in the morning but not return in the evening.

Due to the absence of an evening return rail service maybe an arrangement should be initiated whereby return rail tickets Enniscorthy/Wexford to Waterford should be valid on appropriate Bus Éireann services such as the Expressway Route 5, 1600 Waterford – Bunclody – Tullow – Dublin (serves Enniscorthy 1710) and on the 1630 (Expressway 40) and 1740 (Local route 372) Waterford to Wexford services and appropriate onward Route 2 services from Wexford to Enniscorthy.

* The 1845 Limerick Junction to Waterford takes one minute longer, arriving Waterford 2027 and all intermediate timings are changed slightly.
Coming from all three directions (Dublin, Cork & Limerick) the waiting time required to connect with this train is less.

The Limerick to Waterford Bus Éireann Expressway coach journey takes 2 h 25 minutes. The fastest train journey offered by the new timetable is 2 h 27 minutes (on the 1800 Limerick-Limerick Junction & 1845 Limerick Junction – Waterford).

The Western Rail Corridor receives a mention in the timetable; a footnote states that the 0935 Limerick – Ennis will continue to Galway when the WRC opens in January 2010, exact date to be advised. One assumes the 0935 ex Limerick will be the second Limerick to Galway train of the day? Times for Sixmilebridge are also shown. (Note – only select Ennis – Limerick trains are shown in this table; those that offer connections to Limerick-Limerick Junction trains which, in turn, offer connections onwards to Clonmel/Waterford/Rosslare Europort).

SUMMARY – The (effectively negligible) benefits of the new timetable:
(a) A few very marginal running time improvements to specific trains.
(b) Some improvements to connections at Limerick Junction to/from specific trains.
(c) A quite viable connection to/from the Stena Line Superferry ”Stena Europe” on the Rosslare to Fishguard Harbour route continues to be offered (0615 arrival at Rosslare; 2115 evening sailing ex Rosslare). SailRail ticketing from IÉ stations to stations on the Great Britain network are available via this sea route.
Note: (c), above is in effect a thankful retention of the status quo rather than a new benefit.
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Unread 14-11-2009, 21:46   #2
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Default Part 2

(My apologies, I did not realise there was a 10,000 character limit)

The (numerous) disbenefits of the new timetable: (aka ”What could have been done/what very knowingly needs to be done”):

(i) Removal of the evening journey to Enniscorthy. (It would be easy to address this by running the 1720 ex Waterford to Wexford upon arrival at Rosslare Europort. It could briefly stop at the platform prior to going to the loop in advance of the arrival of the 1630 ex Dublin. Upon departure of the 1930 to Dublin it could return to the platform and operate in service to Rosslare Europort. This measure would also retain a connection from/to the evening ferry arrival/departure respectively for passengers along the line through counties Wexford, Wicklow and onto Dublin.

(ii) Unattractive fragmentation of the afternoon Limerick Junction to Rosslare Europort train into two separate trains with a quarter of an hour wait required at Waterford. (Why can this train not continue to operate as a through service from Limerick Junction to Rosslare Europort?)

(iii) Discontinuation of the 0935 Waterford to Limerick Junction train, the most useful train of the day in terms of offering connectivity from the Co. Wexford stations, thereby effectively dismantling and realistic onward journey opportunities from Co. Wexford to stations west of Waterford towards Limerick, Cork and Kerry.

(iv) Longer waits for connections at Limerick Junction to/from several trains.

(v) Longer waits at Waterford to/from all trains.

(vi) Continued lack of connection between afternoon Dublin – Kilkenny – Waterford train and solitary Waterford – Rosslare Europort train. Currently the 1505 Dublin – Waterford arrives at Waterford at 1740, a mere six minutes after the departure of the Co. Wexford train. Under the new timetable the 1510 Dublin – Kilkenny – Waterford reaches Waterford at 1733, a mere thirteen minutes after the departure of the Co. Wexford (Rosslare Europort) train. There are three platforms at Waterford. Why is this not possible?

(vii) Continued lack of through Waterford – Limerick trains.

(viii) Aside from the Co. Wexford – Waterford commuter train, the continued lack of any train which reaches either Waterford or Limerick in time for a typical work/college day.

(ix) The slightly earlier departure time of the Waterford-Co. Wexford commuter train (1720 from the current 1734) may be inconvenient for a few.

(x) Continued lack of any Sunday service.
Ending on a positive note, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the visionary (my view) 0710 Waterford – Carlow – Heuston two hour city to city service, if very successful may be replicated e.g. a 0830 Waterford – Heuston, arrive 1030. Apart from its Waterford catchment market, such a train would offer a very fast link from the South Wexford stations to the capital with obvious attendant increased patronage. It’s time Rosslare – Waterford was seen as an integral part of the network and developed fully with confidence.

Legislation should also be enacted to remove any potential for deliberately downgrading any line through prescribing a minimum level of service connections that must be maintained and specifying that waits for particular connections must be within certain windows of time. Such conditions might read along the lines of ”there must be at least one through train or connection daily (M-S incl.) in each direction between Rosslare Europort and Limerick; whether provided by connecting trains, through trains or a combination thereof the wait time at any station must not exceed 45 minutes.” Now if we had such criteria we could rest sound at night so to speak safe in the knowledge that timetable changes will not be the upheavals that they are currently.

You may also wish to see also post ”A need to reconfigure Waterford and Wexford stations?” *** See Mark's post which address these points

Last edited by Traincustomer : 15-11-2009 at 16:34. Reason: addition of footnote
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Unread 15-11-2009, 16:38   #3
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Default An integral continuation of the WRC

The line from Rosslare onwards through South Co. Wexford, Waterford, Clonmel and Limerick is a natural and obvious continuation of the WRC and it is very disappointing the powers that be don't (want to) realise this.
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Unread 19-11-2009, 17:16   #4
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Default 0730 Thurles connection

The 2010 Dublin-Limerick timetable introduces an 0730 ex Thurles which departs LJ for Limerick 0800 arriving 0829. Due to the lack of a straight line connection ex Thurles it is actually not the worst idea for a commuter service as it's tough for the car to compete (except for UL/Plassey Tech Park).

At present the incoming Waterford/Clonmel/Cahir arrives at 0812 and due to a wait for connections doesn't make Limerick until 0915.

What time would the Waterford service have to arrive at LJ to get there first and to not impede the incoming Thurles, and how much would have to be done to the route to increase trip speed sufficient to get there (reliably) by that time without advancing the departure time ex Waterford significantly (having been already advanced for 2010 from 0635 to 0630)? My understanding from a post by KC61 on boards.ie is that the timetable is for 40mph but the route should be capable of 50mph.

The reverse trip (dep Lmk 1800 arr LJ 1831 dep LJ 1845) is not great but it's at least doable for 9-5ers.
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