Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

The glue holds things together

Posted in Commuter, Customer service, Infrastructure, Ireland, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 1 May 2010

Even in spite of the attitudes of the Irish government and Iarnród Éireann, there are groups that still try to improve the railways in Ireland. There is a burgeoning protest against the closure of the Waterford to Rosslare line, pressure groups to allow passenger travel on the Drogheda to Navan line and reopen the Mullingar to Athlone line. In addition, there are proposals for light rail in various cities, most notably in Galway, which has been termed as the “Gluas”. However, Galway City Council, in a ruling earlier this year, decided that building a light rail system for a city the size of Galway is not cost effective, with it being estimated at close to €700m. Instead they have recommended the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit network instead. But, even with this, it’s still putting traffic on the roads and, depending on how it is implemented, would still cause disruption through its implementation. Gluas supporters additionally claim that, according to their estimate, construction of the light rail system would be closer to €250m. It may be that the council, who have said that they’ve used the cost of the Luas in Dublin as a basis for their own costing, have looked at it as an electrified system. The council also have said that, in their view, the population of both the city and County Galway is not enough to warrant making such a large investment. So how’s this – incorporate the Gluas idea into a wider rail investment, bringing in tram-train technology. The street network could then connect to the railway network, potentially going through Moate as far as Mullingar. During rush hour, trams could run from the streets of Galway as far as Mullingar to connect with trains to Dublin Connolly, allowing Moate to serve as a park and ride. Outside rush hour, some trams could stay on the street network as a purely light rail system, with others running a shuttle between Mullingar and Athlone, allowing connection into Galway via the railway. The trams wouldn’t have to be electric, as there are plenty of tram-train systems around the world that use diesel or LPG powered vehicles, such as the Stadler GTW or one of Parry People Movers’ lightweight energy-efficient vehicles. This is the kind of cost effective investment that could be made for (proportionally) not a large amount that could then be used to aid the recovery. What is it about rail investment in Ireland that makes it like getting blodd from the proverbial?

“You never gave light rail a chance — GLUAS backers lash City Hall”
“GLUAS lives to fight another day as councillors come on board in support”

The Stadler GTW, as used on the streets of Austin, would be ideal for the kind of tram-train system that could regenerate rail in Ireland

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Newsaccess. Newsaccess said: The glue holds things together http://bit.ly/9NbeJC […]

  2. Floolatog said, on 22 May 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian, iwspo.net


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