Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

An important aspect

Posted in Ireland, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 8 September 2010

Now that the decision over the Waterford-Rosslare line has been made by the NTA, the Save the Rail campaign appear to have moved on to Stage 2, which involves getting a private operator in to run the trains after Iarnród Éireann decamp out. Indeed, in interviews they have stated that the conditions given by the NTA to allow Iarnród Éireann to withdraw mean that there is encouragement to private operators, while at the same time saying that there are at least two groups interested in taking over the line. Now, I’m not looking for specifics of any plan, but the question of actual trains is still to be answered. If an open-access operator does come in, rolling stock would need to be sourced from somewhere, and it’s a lot more difficult in Ireland than it is in Great Britain. If the operator has the backing of a major player, such as Rennaissance Trains (for example), obtaining new build or converted stock would be easier, as Rennaissance has both strong finance and powerful partners in other operations (together with First Group it runs First Hull Trains, while it partners DB Regio in running WSMR). If, on the other hand, the operator is a start-up like Grand Central, then it would struggle to obtain new stock, or stock to convert, and would likely be limited by finance to try and get in situ trains. And the only source of those in Ireland, realistically, is Iarnród Éireann. Even with the idea I suggested of using heritage locomotives to pull coaches, the coaches would still need to be obtained, and I don’t believe that Iarnród Éireann would provide them, even if they have to “facilitate” (i.e. assist) services on the line. Which yet again takes us back to NI Railways’ soon to be withdrawn Class 450 units. As far as I can see, NI Railways probably couldn’t give a monkey’s what goes on down in the south-east, and would likely be amenable to leasing or selling some or all of their soon to be redundant trains (unless of course Iarnród Éireann finds a way to put commercial pressure on NI Railways; but, given that they’re both state owned, that would likely cause a diplomatic incident) to whoever made them a reasonable offer. These would likely be able to serve until finances allowed the purchase of new stock, which I can see as being something along the lines of a high floor Stadler GTW or Parry People Mover. But, the question is (and again, I don’t want specifics), do the interested parties have access to compatible rolling stock that they can obtain and make ready quickly and inexpensively?  

The Class 450 DMU would probably be ideal for the Waterford-Rosslare - do the interested private operators have access to rolling stock they can use quickly?

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One Response

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  1. link said, on 14 September 2010 at 5:31 am

    ok how is this supposedto mean?


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