Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Links are like the capilliaries of the network

Posted in Customer service, Infrastructure, Ireland by Chairman Pip on 27 December 2009

The island of Ireland has a total population of approximately 6.3 million. Of these, approximately 1.5 million live in the four biggest cities (Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry), all of which are connected down the east coast of the island. However, there are other significant centres of population in Ireland. As I’ve said previously, the problem with the Irish network is that it is totally centered on Dublin – every major route with one exception goes into one of the two major termini in the capital. But, because of the way the network is constructed, it is likely that people who need to travel will not only have to go into Dublin to come out, but also go across the city to get from one terminus to the other. Say you are in Limerick and want to go to Belfast on the train. You would need to take an InterCity service from Limerick to Dublin Heuston, then cross the city (the easiest way would be on the Luas) to Dublin Connolly to catch an Enterprise service to Belfast. This is where that link lines would be vital, because they would allow services to run to regional centres without having to go via Dublin. One major link line is already being built – called the Western Railway Corridor, this will link Limerick with Claremorris, with a proposed extension to Sligo. This route will be a major intercity route once it is opened. This line could be linked via the mothballed link line through Moate to the main line from Dublin-Sligo, which also connects to the new line to Navan, which could then be linked to the Dublin-Belfast main line using the existing freight line between Navan and Drogheda. For very little capital cost, a massive improvement to the network and the level of service could be provided.

The network as it is now

What the network would look like with improved cross country links


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  1. […] made here and, on the whole, it seems to have been appreciated (or at least tolerated). When I put this up, I got some good feedback from individuals, while explaining that it was simply my idea for […]

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