Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

End of the line rodent!!!

Posted in Customer service, Ireland, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 16 February 2012

It seems then that the story I first posted about back in November, that will see Iarnród Éireann withdraw its fleet of 2700 and 2750 Class DMUs is true, as can be seen here in an article in the latest Railway Herald. These are units that are less than a decade and a half old and, although having had initial reliability issues, seem to be working well following their transfer to deal with the majority of services originating out of Limerick, while Iarnród Éireann have given the class a refresh and external modifications (deleting the gangway) only recently. And yet they’re to be put into storage, most likely because IÉ decided to take the Oliver route when it came to buying its super duper 22000 Class, now finding itself overstocked (though not on Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men, perhaps fortunately), with it being the most numerous class of train currently in service in Ireland, and needing to justify the significant expenditure of buying them, whether they are actually suitable for the work IÉ intends to use them for or not. Presumably (and I’m only guessing here) IÉ continued purchasing more and more 22000 Class trains in the belief that all of the infrastructure investment it intended to carry out under Transport 21 would get the go ahead, and did not envisage the end of the Celtic Tiger and the Irish economy tanking – taking that idea a step further, it likely believed that it would be able to find employment for its existing fleet as well as the new 22000 Class. Now, given that not only will there be nothing new done to the heavy rail network that hasn’t been started, but that IÉ seem to be after closing even more lightly used routes, they have too many trains and not enough services to run. So, it plans to store its twelve 2700 Class and two 2750 Class units. The Railway Herald piece goes on to suggest that, because they are being stored, there is the potential to have them returned to service at some point, or sell them to an alternative operator. However, the last paragraph makes ominous noises:

…although this would obviously be outside of Ireland, and the added problem of track gauge and issues with loading gauge could be a preventative factor…

The way it uses the word “obviously” means that IÉ appear as intractable as ever at the prospect of anyone else operating passenger trains on the parts of the network it doesn’t want to. Which presumably means a death knell for a group like SWIFFT if it can’t get access and it can’t get trains. So, given that operators in Great Britain are crying out for additional rolling stock, then perhaps it would be worth one of the ROSCOs investigating the loading gauge issues and the cost of converting them from Irish to Standard Gauge to see whether they would be capable of operating here. Then we can have a wry chuckle should there come a time when Ireland is looking for more trains of its own, and it has to go out and buy yet again.

It's the end of the line for Iarnrod Éireann's 2700 Class DMU, despite them being in service for only 14 years

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5 Responses

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  1. Claire said, on 21 February 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Seems a bit of a shame and waste, especially after the recent refresh and modifications. I don’t know how long they’re planning to have them in storage but, if it’s too long, they run the risk of they’re starting to become outdated, and potential buyers will be put off by their age if they hang around gathering dust so to speak for too long when newer units will be being built with better, more modern facilities.

    I suppose IE could try to run more services? Would that be possible?

    • Chairman Pip said, on 22 February 2012 at 9:15 am

      Anything’s possible, but Iarnród Éireann have shown a marked reluctance to consider running anything that is additional to what they already do. Remember that a significant proportion of the network is single track, so there is a limit to what additional they could run. Further, the population of Ireland is a little over 4.5 million, and nearly 2 million of those live in the Greater Dublin area. That being said though, there is no reason that Iarnród Éireann couldn’t look at running more trains and new services, rather than undertake their current policy, which seems to be to contract the network to serve just the largest cities (Dublin, Cork, Limerick).

      • Claire said, on 22 February 2012 at 11:04 pm

        I’m sure many people in the more rural areas of Ireland would be thankful of a rail link. Businesses would benefit from it and, after all, not everyone drives. The single track is an issue mind you. I suppose it would cost a fortune to alter that?

      • Chairman Pip said, on 23 February 2012 at 2:11 pm

        In a word, yes. It would take a lot of money, and probably a great deal of engineering effort. Not to mention the undoubted protests that would come. Because there are always protests.

  2. mick said, on 18 August 2012 at 9:07 pm

    10th august 2012 saw the last run of a 2700.

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