But will they run on time…

Perhaps I’m not reading this properly, or perhaps the full statement when it appears will explain it better, but according to this report a transport meeting of the North/South Ministerial Council in Killadeas, Co Fermanagh, discussed whether hourly services could be introduced on the Belfast to Dublin railway line – “Train operators are considering further development that would also involve new engines and the removal of speed restrictions.” That’s not the part that’s confusing.. this is

Northern Ireland Regional Development minister Conor Murphy confirmed: “We want an increase in frequency of the service and also the time taken. It is a rolling programme over a number of years, and it will require significant investment from both administrations, north and south.”

An increase in frequency of service and also the time taken? Adds Still waiting on that official statement

, , , , ,

  • Sean

    An increase in frequency of service and also the time taken?

    I think that refers to the duration of each journey

  • Fraggle

    ‘time taken’

    probably an increase in the time taken to begin doing any of this.

  • páid

    Sounds like a resurection of the ‘unite Ireland by blowing up the connecting trainline’ policy.

    Bus to Newry, anyone?

  • Dewi

    More time to admire the wonderful Irish countryside of course……….Now what would be cool would be a TGV high speed line.

  • aye conor could have phrased iy better “a decrease in journey times” ( through track upgrading ).

    Well, with Aer Lingus now based in da Nort, trains planned to go faster and more frequently between the capitals? plus the planned motorway to Derry ( any news on that? ) what we have is the infrastructure being put in place for re-unification.
    As for the orange vote, the romantics left amongst us will deliver that one, not the politicians 😉

  • kensei

    I’m sure he means decrease in time. Increased frequency would be nice as the current arrangements are annoying especially when you have to be anywhere, but will the Enterprise service get even more ridiculously expensive?

  • Dawkins

    Pete,

    “We want an increase in frequency of the service and also the time taken.”

    You see a lot of that sort of thing here. I recall a billboard that boasted the train could whisk a chap to “Dublin in almost two hours.”

    Er…

  • The Serpent

    Pete

    Even by your own standards of advanced pedantry I think you know what he meant!! The reference to the removal of speed restrictions might give you a clue as would the reference to an increase in the frequency of service although that would be more inference than logic.

    Anyhow it’s old news and the following announcement was made some time ago as to Translinks’ (albeit long term) aspirations….

    Belfast – Dublin Enterprise Strategy

    Translink is working on an outline ‘vision 2020’ with Irish Rail for a high speed rail service to Dublin with departures every hour with a 90 minute non stop journey time.

    A preliminary report commissioned by Translink in early 2006 confirmed that a high speed, high frequency service could be economically viable.

    In March 2006 a strategy was agreed with Irish Rail for consideration of interim service enhancements in the short/medium term, including additional departures.

  • Rory

    It is the time wasted in realising the pettiness of the nit-picking observation that inspired this thread that is more worrying.

  • Comrade Stalin

    To achieve this will require substantial investment :

    – the existing rolling stock would be capable of doing the journey in 1hr30; indeed a few years ago (around 2001ish) I remember them doing it in 1hr50. To get the extra 20 minutes, the journey would have to non stop; additionally several improvements would need to be made to the track which is speed-restricted in many sections (particularly between Lisburn and Moira, and on the section crossing the border – the speed is restricted due to the track curvature). Finally, Irish Rail would have to lay a third track between Connolly and Malahide to allow the Enterprise to pass through without being blocked by local DART trains. To do this, you’re looking at many tens of £millions.

    One alternative to getting around the speed restriction on curved tracks is to use tilting trains, like the ones used in the rest of the UK. However, this doesn’t get you out of the DART-inflicted bottleneck around Connolly; and you’re looking at around £25m per set. You’ll need at least four of them.

    To run an hourly service out of both cities, assuming a journey time of 1hr30 and a turnaround time of 30 minutes, I figure you would need 4 trainsets to run the service. Translink/Irish Rail presently only possess 3. They could make 4 by reducing the number of carriages in the existing 3, but then they’d run out of capacity on the train for the peak services in the early mornings and late evenings. Additionally, you’d be buggered if one of them broke down.

    A major problem with the existing Enterprise is the fact that the present locomotives are being overloaded. The Enterprise is the only locomotive-hauled train in Ireland which does not have a separate generator for on-board power; instead an alternator is connected directly to the locomotive’s prime mover. This places substantial load on the locomotive and causes a high failure rate. To address this, Irish Rail rotate the locomotives used on the Enterprise frequently (this is why you often see the Enterprise with an Irish Rail locomotive on it) but there are still frequent breakdowns.

    As kensei says, I personally find the Enterprise to be quite poor value for money, especially compared with the bargain price of a bus ticket to Dublin. The buses almost never go wrong, as long as you allow some time for traffic congestion. The train on the other hand goes wrong so often that you could not rely on it if (for example) you were catching a flight. Worse, with the train, if it breaks down mid-way between stations you cannot leave until another train comes to rescue it.

  • Pete Baker

    Obviously I shouldn’t expect statements by NI Executive ministers to be coherent.

    So sorry for expecting some level of intelligence from our elected representatives.

    Although, as The Serpent points out, it’s not a project that originates within The Administration.. so why should ministers understand it.

  • Bretagne

    It is old news and it is no vision….

    Now a train service that links Derry, Ballymena,Coleraine,Belfast, and Dublin would be worthwhile releasing a statement about. Doable end to end in less than 3:15 mins – it would mean the Causeway is reachable by rail from Dublin direct, and by a whole new catchment area, and busness people from Ballymena and Derry, who go to Dublin regularly (and there are several) could go by train direct instead of taking the car. (Who is going to lose time driving into Belfast first?)

    Such as express service only requires a passing loop at Ballykelly which Gregory Campbell is pushing for, and Minister Murphy to spend the £10m already earmarked in 2004 to remove the speed restrictions tween Coleraine and Ballymena.

    Oh yes -it does require additional trains – but thats covered in this meeting’s communique.

    That as a new service 5 times a day serves the North West better, woukd (in my view) drive commercial and tourist revenue far harder than increasing to eight a day from Belfast alone.

  • Bretage

    CS – Fair points on your post. Re :
    “Irish Rail would have to lay a third track between Connolly and Malahide to allow the Enterprise to pass through without being blocked by local DART trains. To do this, you’re looking at many tens of £millions.”

    You may have seen…. http://www.transport21.ie/PROJECTS/HEAVY_RAIL/Interconnector.html

    A third/forth rail would be desireable but not necessary.

    This would take DART out of Connolly by 2015, but by 2010 (Broadstone station will be open in Dublin
    to take all the West of Ireland services, which currently take up platform capacity at Connolly.
    That therefore is the earliest date for increased services to Belfast.
    (of you believe the dates of course!)

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bretagne,

    I think we should sort out the link between the island’s two largest cities first, before introducing a through service. I would say that it would be difficult to make a business case for an hourly service out of Derry to Dublin. But there should certainly be a co-ordinated timetable and connecting services.

    This would take DART out of Connolly by 2015

    It is highly, highly unlikely that the DART will be taken out of Connolly. How will people get to Tara Street (the single most busy station in the entire Irish railway network) ?

    It’s not clear to me how the Interconnector will help things for the Enterprise. The DART will still be on the Northern line, and there will still have to be DARTs running through Connolly – Tara Street is the single most busy railway station in the entire Irish railway network. At the end of the day you will still have to have a third road between Connolly and somewhere around Malahide if you want a reliable Enterprise timetable.

    I’m not yet convinced that Irish Rail are being serious about Broadstone. I’ve been along that abandoned line up to Liffey Junction, putting in a double track there is going to be very difficult, the line is narrow in many places and has been encroached upon. Also, from distant memory, the road access to Broadstone for buses, taxis etc is a bit on the tight side. I’d have thought they’d be better building a bigger station at Docklands – there is ample capacity and space down there – and terminating all their Western services there via Newcomen junction, keeping the other line through Drumcondra for the Maynooth line’s DART service.

  • slug

    This is the same minister who told the Assembly that viability of a railway line to an airport requires the airport to serve 100m passengers per year-a figure even Heathrow would not reach.

  • sportsman

    “the two capitals”. Are you for real Parci? You see Belfast as a capital city in the same league as Dublin? Where are the embassies? The Stock Exchange? The Central Bank? The umpteen corporate headquarters? The international financial centre? The REAL government departments? The cultural, media, business , diplomatic , tourism, industrial capital— oh loads of things that Dublin is and Belfast cannot claim or hope to be. And never was.Irelands second city? Sure. Although Cork will probably be that in ten years or so at least on the industrial/business, tourism and cultural front. If it isnt already thinking about it.

  • iluvni

    Sportsman puts himself forward for the 2007 most begrudging git award

  • Dawkins

    Rory,

    “It is the time wasted in realising the pettiness of the nit-picking observation that inspired this thread that is more worrying.”

    I hear what you’re saying of course but I’ll respond with this: How sloppy does it have to get before you draw the line?

    Do you draw it at Pete’s example or the one I quoted? What level of coherent English do you expect from your public representatives and national transport bodies?

    Would you draw the line at, say, this?

    Everyday we run alot of train’s quicker to Dublin.

    You may smile at that but how many of your fellow travellers would find nothing much wrong with it?

    Or would you, like The Serpent, say something like: “Even by Pete’s standards of advanced pedantry I think we know what’s meant!”

  • The serpent

    Back again…

    Quite a few points..some good some I have issues with but at least the debate hasn’t gone done the tubes like a football debate!!!!

    Pete…I do take the point about Ministers statements being better were they coherent obviously. It was your silly pretending not to know what he meant having issued something clearly open to being misconstrued by the like of yourself in a mischievious manner that annoyed me at the start of the thread.

    Dawkins..You referenced me and with the greatest respect after re-reading it several times i am not sure if you are using my post by yourself against Rory as a promise or a threat !!

  • Pete Baker

    Serpent

    “It was your silly pretending not to know what he meant having issued something clearly open to being misconstrued by the like of yourself in a mischievious manner that annoyed me at the start of the thread.”

    Obviously you believe that I shouldn’t point out the incoherence in our Northern Ireland Minister’s statements.

    Or perhaps you meant something else by your comment?

    Should I, instead, interpret such statements until they make sense? And then re-represent them?

  • The serpent

    Pete

    To put it as simplistically as possible in a way you might be able to understand…

    1. I agree the statement was easy to misconstrue.These things happen sometimes and are a bit cringeworthy. ok !!!

    2. I meant nothing else other than to state that you started a thread on the basis of something said that you pretended to misunderstand knowing what the Minister actually Meant and given that the story is as old as yesterdays dishwater and then some the clutching at straws is beyond painful.

    My defence is based on logic and certainly not on any political allegiance.

  • Dewi

    http://www.euskalyvasca.com/en/co_quees.html

    Euskadi know how to go about it.

  • Dawkins

    The Serpent,

    “You referenced me and with the greatest respect after re-reading it several times i am not sure if you are using my post by yourself against Rory as a promise or a threat !!”

    I understand your confusion and am delighted to help you out. A promise takes a single exclamation mark and a threat takes two.

  • Bretagne

    ” I would say that it would be difficult to make a business case for an hourly service out of Derry to Dublin.”

    To be clear – I would only be looking at two throough services morning and evening – which I think has a real chance of getting drivers off the road. Two express Belfast/Dublin services from Derry, would make the kind of statement of intent needed to get drivers to switch modes.

    “It’s not clear to me how the Interconnector will help things for the Enterprise.

    “The DART will still be on the Northern line, and there will still have to be DARTs running through Connolly – Tara Street is the single most busy railway station in the entire Irish railway network.”

    The intent therefore seems to be is to at least partially remove Tara Street as a stop on the northern line, but keep it in for Maynooth/other lines

    “At the end of the day you will still have to have a third road between Connolly and somewhere around Malahide if you want a reliable Enterprise timetable”

    I think there is room to do that – but short term the signalling needed upgrading anyway to accomodate more trains. So it will be 2015 at least b4 new lines are added in. The single strack over the Boyne Aqueduct may be a bigger contraint than two lines in an out of Connolly.
    I am genuinely interested – is your thinking around a third/fourth line a gut feel or is based on a report/study/something out of IR or Platfrom 11?

    I’m not yet convinced that Irish Rail are being serious about Broadstone. I’ve been along that abandoned line up to Liffey Junction, putting in a double track there is going to be very difficult

    “And I don’t think they want a double track either – I think it is a case of being seen to use Broadstone or lose it to LUAS.

  • Phil

    An increase from two to three tracks would be rather impracticle surely? On most rail networks where an intensive, local service shares a route with express trains, two slow and two fast tracks are the norm. A similar proposal by the BAA to add an extra track to the London-Stansted Airport route (one of the few routes on the London area where local and express trains share two tracks) has been criticised by the pressure group London Travel Watch for this reason.

    http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/news.php?id=504

  • The serpent

    Totally Off Thread….

    Any chance that somebody gets off their posterior and starts a thread about something on the financial implications of the whole Northern Rock situation…

    It’s worth a debate surely and though its global its still local etc.

    http://www.stock-market-crash.net/southsea.htm

    Am a bit worried as we all should be !!!!

  • Turgon

    Slightly off thread but does it seem ironic to anyone other than me that the ministers met at Killades a truly lovely spot but in a part of Northern Ireland with absolutely no rail infrastructure since the Clogher Valley line vanished (how many years ago?).

  • Comrade Stalin

    Slug:

    This is the same minister who told the Assembly that viability of a railway line to an airport requires the airport to serve 100m passengers per year-a figure even Heathrow would not reach.

    Don’t recall the minister claiming the number would be 100m – which would make Belfast the busiest airport in the world. More like 10m (which would be half the throughput at Dublin).

    sportsman:

    “the two capitals”. Are you for real Parci? You see Belfast as a capital city in the same league as Dublin? Where are the embassies? The Stock Exchange? The Central Bank? The umpteen corporate headquarters? The international financial centre? The REAL government departments?

    Sportsman, it’s pretty commonly accepted that a capital city is a government/administrative centre, not a cultural or business centre. I refer the honourable gentleman to examples of small cities which are capitals, such as Canberra or The Hague. The capital city of almost every single US state is a tiny little backwater town that nobody goes to. On the other hand, note some of the largest cities in the world which are not capitals – New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Canberra (Australia), Amsterdam (Holland)..

    Bretagne:

    To be clear – I would only be looking at two throough services morning and evening – which I think has a real chance of getting drivers off the road. Two express Belfast/Dublin services from Derry, would make the kind of statement of intent needed to get drivers to switch modes.

    Are there really that many people looking to travel from Derry to Dublin on a regular basis ? It would certainly be good to get the Belfast connection to Derry firmed up, but I can’t see why you’d want to connect it all the way to Dublin when a change at Belfast would be perfectly sufficient.

    The single strack over the Boyne Aqueduct may be a bigger contraint than two lines in an out of Connolly.

    I know nothing about the frequency of services between Dundalk and Drogheda, so I can’t say. But I would guess that the single track section would be hard pressed to handle a train in each direction more than every approx. 15 minutes.

    I am genuinely interested – is your thinking around a third/fourth line a gut feel or is based on a report/study/something out of IR or Platfrom 11?

    It’s a gut feel really, having been on the Enterprise many times going really slowly in the last leg of the journey into Connolly and arriving 10-15 minutes late. The Enterprise struggles to meet even the relatively lax timetable it has now. With a third track, the train would just shoot straight through. I’m reasonably sure that IE are thinking about this, since when they replaced that bridge over the road near the Docklands a few years back, they left room on it for a third track.

    The principle does exist on other parts of Irish rail. There’s a third track out of Heuston and they’re looking at extending that further on out, possibly as far as Clondalkin from what I remember.

  • Bretagne

    Comrade-
    “I can’t see why you’d want to connect it all the way to Dublin when a change at Belfast would be perfectly sufficient.”

    ok – it boils down to this – if left to Translink alone there would be no express train service tween Derry and Belfast – which currently takes 120 by minutes!, but could, if the train did not stop at every hole in the hedge, take <80 minutes with just 2 stops at Coleraine, Ballymena. In fact, it would be achievable in 75ish mins - but may cost £20+m additional to relay the parts of the track needed, and to take out convenience crossings - so I go for an express service in 80 mins as a realisable target in three yrs.

    If left to Translink alone, Derry would be the only one of Ireland's largest cities without a direct rail link to Dublin, (nor dual carraigeway link to Dublin - but I digress). Sligo town with a population of <20,000, has a direct service. Yet Derry population 85,000, (even Letterkenny 60,000) Coleraine 22000, and Ballymena 28000, and even potentially Antrim 50,000 do not. (together these add up to over half the population of Belfast (translinks definition of Belfast at any rate) - so that gives the potential upside in enterprise numbers - potentially 1/3 of the passengers for <1/4 of the services.

    Changing at Belfast off the Enterprise adds a bestish case of 30 minutes wait time at Belfast (currently an hour), and currently after taking the all stop service - you finally roll into Derry five hours after leaving Connolly. This, is a rail service, is like the last century.

    A through rail service not only opens up Derry/Coleraine to rail, it opens up the North Coast from Dublin (currently 5% of visitors to Ireland make it North). This would go partially to improve the huge infrastructure deficit in the North-West and a journey time of 80 mins to Belfast would make it a commutable distance for folk in Derry to work in Belfast (and added to the million new passengers on the line in the last yr, despite the shockingly slow service).

    Realistically I think it would be possible to quintuple the passengers on the Derry line. And you may even get the Dublin government to pay something towards the cost as it makes a Derry/Letterkenny light rail service at least possible, given a through link to Dublin)

    For the through service, and in terms of volumes -a bit unscientific I know, but I know of six people alone who travel by car to Belfast from Derry every day (in their own cars), and five who travel from Ballymena to Dublin regularly , and currently take the car as travelling into Belfast to get the enterprise takes too long.

    Translink do a decent job running the services in NI from a cost and operational management perspective - but see this (it is big doc) ..http://www.translink.co.uk/20040401NorthernIrelandRailwaysStrategicReview.asp

    A strategic review that is tactical in the extreme, Belfast centric, and does not mention express services to Derry as the 2nd largest city in NI. The Derry line needs just £20m to enable through services, and express trains – and probabbyl worth it just for the impact on Causeway visitors numbers. Dublin line accounts for 18% of Translink passengers, and no-one has thought to line that up with the second largest city, and the largest visitor attraction?

    ((1 from above) You cannot blame Translink management – it is the way they are funded and set-up and that needs looking at – but mid-term, Translink should focus on infrastrcuture and level crossings and work with partners to develop new services on the infrastructure.)))

    “It’s a gut feel really, having been on the Enterprise many times going really slowly in the last leg of the journey into Connolly and arriving 10-15 minutes late. The Enterprise struggles to meet even the relatively lax timetable it has now.”

    Ok – perception is everything – nothing wrong with that. This is right at the edge of what my understanding is, – but some of the clever guys on http://www.platform11.org – suggest you solve a lot of the problem by faster signalling (already being done), and the interconnector – I bow to their knowledge, as they seem to have influenced getting Metro North extended.

    It does now highlight the need to get the structures of CIE, and Translink right for the taxpayers north and south – but it also needs vision. Derry to Dublin is achievble in less than three hrs – and getting more visitors from the south to places like the causway (and Derry city) is ine way to make the railway payback the £17m it costs the taxpayer to run.

  • páid

    Bretagne,

    Great post.

    A major part of the problem is surely the culture of Translink an Iarnród Éireann.

    For the last 20 years BR (as was) has conducted an experiment in privatisation. Brave enough, and watched closely by SNCF, Deutche Bahn et al.

    Down Mexico way, we have ended up with a systen run by the employees for the benefit of the employees.

    Timetables – an aspiration

    Benchmarking – What’s That?

    Auditing – You must be joking.

    OK, in GB they’ve ended up with a dear, confusing system.

    But , at least they had a go.

    In the South, it’s like 1950s Turkey.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bretagne, I cannot argue with your well-argued points. I have to admit I am a very Belfast-centric sort of a person myself, but the numbers you quoted speak for themselves.

    To me the problem with Translink is that they are a bus company saddled with the tiresome responsibility for running the railway network. It’s a lot easier to run buses, so when there is a need for a frequent, high quality service anywhere, they add in new bus routes, like that express bus to Derry. And when there’s a bus there, what’s the motivation to make the train service compete with it ?

    Your point about the Irish government being involved is well made due to the connection with Donegal. Upgrading the line between Ballymena and Derry is going to take some serious cash; the current track was laid on the cheap (they increased the spacing between the sleepers) and is speed restricted to something like 40mph; and as you have said there’s a real shortage of passing loops on the line. The absence of passing loops makes the timetable up there volatile, to say the least. Sticking a finger in the air I’d guess you’re talking about £20m to relay the track and install three or four passing loops in strategic places.

    I couldn’t argue with the P11 guys whom I know of from long ago (they know their stuff), and I don’t have time to read their argument at the moment. My first thought is that resignalling the line will obviously increase capacity at lower cost(I guess by reducing the size of the blocks ?) which is probably what they’re getting at. But the improvement in capacity is limited; you can be sure we’ll hit that bottleneck again before long. Adding extra track(s) may seem like a more expensive option now, but it will ensure there is plenty of room for growth in the future.

    paid,

    I agree with your observations about Irish Rail. The transportation trade unions in the RoI consist of money grabbers and communists. I support trade unions and the right to go on strike. I do not support trade unions who say “ah, I see you’re adding new DART trains. We will require an extra EUR10,000 per annum to drive them, due to the stress incurred” or “since you took disciplinary action against one of our staff for smoking, we’re going to refuse to drive any trains until he is reinstated” as happened in Cork a couple of years ago.

    If it were me, I would split the railway companies in Ireland (North and South) into state-owned railway infrastructure companies, and privatize the operation of the railway services themselves. Luas in Dublin appears to have shown that this can be made to work.

  • The Serpent

    Bretagne- Very interesting post.

    Páid – I actually agree with you mostly !! Although the end result in GB leaves a sour taste as you can’t have a railway system many multiples more expensive than the airline system surely. And Translink in the North can only ASPIRE to be like 1950s Turkey!!!!!

  • Dewi

    I’d be extremely careful of privatising anything to do with the Railways if I were u. Humbly suggest that the experience here has proven that in some industries monopoly is best. And where monopoly exists it’s best for the State to run.
    West Coast MAin Line Upgrade got speed up by 15mph but cost more than America spent to send a man to the moon. (I fink I’d better go searching for a link on that….)

  • Bretagne

    “If it were me, I would split the railway companies in Ireland (North and South) into state-owned railway infrastructure companies, and privatize the operation of the railway services themselves. Luas in Dublin appears to have shown that this can be made to work.”

    Yep – the faster this happens the better….again this would be the difference between having a strategic plan, and thats what we have as the moment. Serious reformation of Translink’s raison d’etre is needed- (which given the Aer Lingus debacle, I would do before tackling IR)

    Actually LUAS lights the way here, as a contract awarded to a new operator – eg Connex, could be a joint North/South initiative and get over some of the political/union baggage.

    “Translink is that they are a bus company saddled with the tiresome responsibility for running the railway network.”

    Nails and heads spring to mind… I have been meaning to research what makes up the management bonuses for CIE and Translink, I can only find a reference in Translink (NITHC) to increasing patronage – but this is not broken into rail and bus – “what’s the motivation to make the train service compete with it (BUS)?” Exactly -Bus and Rail needs seperating completely

    The Serpent.

    “Although the end result in GB leaves a sour taste as you can’t have a railway system many multiples more expensive than the airline system surely.” –

    I am not trying to be a tree hugger here – but the simple inclusion of airline fuel in the VAT system, or the exclusion of train fuel from the VAT system would at least close the gap between the two. I don’t see any airlines offering free travel to pensioners/discounted travel to under 16’s and students. Airlines (apart from Aer Arann on some island routes) have no public servie obligations.

    I take your point though – we do need some sort of way to be able to compare value between the two modes..I’ll see whats out there”

    I think what we have in RAIL is one strategic issue where integration/cooperation North and South makes sense. And to get back to the thrust of thread – I think we can all agree minister murphy is showing all the signs of being in top of his brief (uncrosses fingers).

  • Dawkins

    Dewi,

    “West Coast MAin Line Upgrade got speed up by 15mph but cost more than America spent to send a man to the moon. (I fink I’d better go searching for a link on that….)”

    Please do! It sounds incredible. But so is Bush as president, therefore…

  • Dewi

    http://www.bechtel.com/Briefs/0803/Back_on_Track.htm

    That from Bechtel gives the cost of the upgrade at $16 billion. (Bechtel took over management fairly recently and have made a difference no doubt.)

    “I’ve read somewhere” that the NASA moon programme cost $30 billion – this programme included 6 lunar landings so that’s $5 billion each say. Add on 30 5 years inflation at 5% gives you $11.5b………so in the same ballpark ? …..now where did I read $30 billion !!!

  • Dewi

    30 5 years inflation – sorry 35 !!!

  • Dawkins

    Dewi,

    It still adds up to an almighty number of cheeseburgers with fries :0)

  • Dewi

    I think of economics in terms of Saville reports…..upgrading WCML cost 40 Saville reports.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d be extremely careful of privatising anything to do with the Railways if I were u.

    Bah. Please speak English, not txt-speak.

    Humbly suggest that the experience here has proven that in some industries monopoly is best. And where monopoly exists it’s best for the State to run.

    But the railways aren’t a monopoly. They compete with the private car, buses, and in some cases airlines.

    West Coast MAin Line Upgrade got speed up by 15mph but cost more than America spent to send a man to the moon. (I fink I’d better go searching for a link on that….)

    Yeah, I think you’d better. While you’re at it, find a link about what “real terms” means.

    Just because a business like a railway is state-operated does not mean necessarily that there is a good level of investment into it; it becomes a political football. The success of the Luas in Dublin shows what can happen when it works. Irish Rail is an example of a state-operated enterprise which does not work as well as it should do. The Enterprise for example has utterly failed to keep pace with customer requirements – the trains are poorly maintained, are often late, and run to a totally stupid timetable – and it does not represent value for money.

    Serpent:

    Although the end result in GB leaves a sour taste as you can’t have a railway system many multiples more expensive than the airline system surely.

    Bretagne picked up on this. So did the Conservative Party. The airlines receive a fuel subsidy; other transport services do not. One way a government could seriously look at encouraging public transport would be to eliminate VAT on diesel for buses and trains.

  • Dewi

    “Bah. Please speak English, not txt-speak.”

    Shouldn’t that read “text speech” LOL )Sorry “Laughed Out Loud”

    “But the railways aren’t a monopoly. They compete with the private car, buses, and in some cases airlines”

    What I meant was a single company to run the Railways. i.e. a “monopoly within the Railway industry”. The fragmentation and internal wrangling is not particularly useful.

    Your point about external competitors is valid – however the Government use the Railway as a mechanism of public policy. Totallly agree about VAT – ridiculous situation.

    “Yeah, I think you’d better. While you’re at it, find a link about what “real terms” means.”

    Do understand what “Real Terms” means. That’s why I inflated for 35 years odd inflation. I wasn’t trying to be especially scientific…..and still can’t find a source for the $30bn – guilty as charged.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What I meant was a single company to run the Railways. i.e. a “monopoly within the Railway industry”. The fragmentation and internal wrangling is not particularly useful.

    Monopolies are only a problem when they corner a specific part of the market and leave consumers with no choice. This isn’t the case with the railways. If fragmentation and internal wrangling occur within a private company, it will lead to reduced profitability which won’t be tolerated by the company’s shareholders.

  • Bretagne

    Dewi : –
    “West Coast MAin Line Upgrade got speed up by 15mph but cost more than America spent to send a man to the moon.”

    A lot to go at here – but electrification is one core issue. It is not the preferred energy source for some of the GB operators who are sticking to diesel. Whatever the rights and wrongs of those decisions – you have to strip electrification (a sustitutional techology) out of the speed upgrade.

    In Ireland (N+S) we would not be looking at electrification – except for suburban services where the better acceleration performance of electric trians come into play – on inter-city
    it is likley to remain diesel til I am really old.

    But WCML was a Network Rail (monopoly) project – alright partially contracted out to private sector – so are you suggesting this would have been delivered cheaper(or quicker) by using wholly public sector?

    An no-one went to the moon!

  • Comrade Stalin

    it is likley to remain diesel til I am really old.

    According to some, Peak Oil isn’t that far off. I guess it depends how old you are 😉

  • The Serpent

    Bretagne- One small step for Mankind, One giant step for Translink. And those are reversed deliberately !!!

    Wot you mean no-one went to the moon!! I’ve seen the pictures so it must be true!!! LOLOL

  • The Serpent

    I know that leap should have been in there somewhere so pedants desist !!!

  • Dewi

    A lot to go at:

    “But WCML was a Network Rail (monopoly) project – alright partially contracted out to private sector – so are you suggesting this would have been delivered cheaper(or quicker) by using wholly public sector? ”

    I think so yes – but the decision was wrong – should have gone for a new high speed railway – we’ve just spent billions on a marginal improvement – should have ripped it up and started again.

  • Dewi

    On WCML this afternoon – will let you know if it’s been worth the money……

  • Dewi

    Left Manchester at 3.45 – got to London at 7.00 – signalling failure at Rugby – went via Northampton, diversionary route. Despite that however, have to say that Virgin try to be helpful. Coffee only £1.40 and lots of anouncements. Compared to First….don’t even start. Still got a way to go though.

  • Dewi

    For those admirers of Railway privitisation here’s an excellent 2 part article from the Guardian on the WCML saga:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1183118,00.html#article_continue

    Worth a read.