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Author Topic: Ireland: South East On Track  (Read 1910 times)
WEX-RSB-FGH-BPW-PAD
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« on: July 31, 2020, 02:56:21 pm »

https://southeastontrack.com/

Our Mission

We campaign to reverse the unnecessary closure of the Wexford/Rosslare-Waterford rail corridor, and seek to improve public transport options across the South East of Ireland.
Goal One
Encourage Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority to explore restoring this vital rail link.

Increase rail services between Rosslare Europort/Wexford and Dublin and continue to explore ways of improving journey time.

Goal Two
After necessary upgrades, extend or alter existing rail services to include South Wexford and establish this as a viable travel option.

Improve journey times on both the Rosslare-Wexford-Dublin and the Rosslare-Wexford-Waterford-Limerick lines.

Goal Three
Engage in a multi-year process of improving services to make rail transport a successful transport option in the South East of Ireland.

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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2020, 11:22:29 pm »

The closure from Rosslare to Waterford ... at the very time that new international services are coming in to Rosslare and other parts of the line looping up via Waterford and Limerick to Galway are perhaps growing beyond ... seems odd to the extent of being perverse, and the service on the line towards the end looked to an outsider almost like it was designed to fail.

I know money was tight, I know that the train service was pretty close to useless, and I suspect the maintenance costs of the Barrow Bridge are not low ... I know that international foot passengers on ferries have offered very, very slim pickings indeed to the extent that even the Dublin trains don't connect any more ... and there is no longer any nice way from Dublin to - say - Melksham this way without a stop at a B&B in Rosslare, or being stranded in South Wales overnight.
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ellendune
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2020, 11:35:32 pm »

Could the new government be swayed on this with the Greens now being in the coalition?
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2020, 08:46:32 am »

Could the new government be swayed on this with the Greens now being in the coalition?

I don't know.

Very unusually, I have filled in the form on the web site in support even though this is 'out of area' and I know how diluting armchair support from distant places can be.

Except ... it's not been all that distant to me, and not just from my armchair.  I have been through Rosslare numerous times (often at some inconvenience due to the lack of decent through connections) and travelled to work in Cork and Limerick and Dublin, and for vacation to Tralee, Galway, Waterford, Killarney.  Never used the line in question, I will admit - even I have my limits as to just how long I will wait for the daily train, as was, when on a business trip.

The blue lines are boats - from Fishguard, from Pembroke Dock, from France, and (just starting) from Spain.  The red lines are rail lines usable from Rosslare ... to the north to Dublin and it heads north to Belfast.  The Yellow line is the missing link (there is a bus ...) to Waterford, and the red train lines I have drawn onward from there include Cork, Limerick, Galway, Mallow, Tralee, Killarney and even Tipperary.  The mauve line headed north is a proposed reopening which would bring in Westport and Ballina, and perhaps onward to Sligo.  Perhaps these latter places are best reached via Dublin, but then you're looking at capacity as you put long distance passengers, the DART commuter service, and significant freight too though the city centre two platforms at Tara Street, and along the single track from Greystones to Bray.

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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 10:49:08 am »

Could the new government be swayed on this with the Greens now being in the coalition?

I don't know.

Very unusually, I have filled in the form on the web site in support even though this is 'out of area' and I know how diluting armchair support from distant places can be.

for info ... I listened in (by invite) on a South East On Track zoom meeting last night - minutes not yet out, but the case seems good.  We are very much at the 11th hour, and perhaps the 59th minute of the 11th hour.   Happy to discuss / share thoughts and a letter of support I have sent with members with an interested via personal message.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 04:34:47 am »

Shared here ... with permission of the recipient group, written after a zoom meeting about a fortnight ago.   It looks like madness to loose the chance of relinking the connectivity - loosing a single piece from a jigsaw slashes the value of the jigsaw as a whole.   For sure, this one piece has fallen on the carpet and needs to be picked up - but that a darned sight better than having to get a special piece made at some date in the future, or indeed chucking the whole jigsaw out!

Sharing ...



Many thanks for inviting / including me in yesterday evening's Zoom meeting.

In my view, you have the framework of an excellent case for the re-opening of the Rosslare to Waterford Railway. This includes the provision of a passenger service linking major population, business and educational centres, and recreation and leisure destinations and transfer points, as well as long distance services linking through from Rosslare arrivals from other EU countries and the UK through Waterford to Limerick, Galway and connecting to Cork, Killarney and Tralee. It also includes significant freight / container traffic arriving into Rosslare destined for the cities of the west without the need to wriggle its way through Dublin, where frequent DART trains and longer distance services already competing on the single line into Bray, and through Tara Street.

The line from Rosslare Strand to the port at Waterford was built late in the railway age to a very high standard. The line is designed for fast running, much of it in cuttings through relatively flat country - not an interesting tourist journey in its own right, but an excellent connection to route EV1 for cyclists and walkers at both ends and intermediate points, and to other routes in the region that link it to Wexford.  There is potential to develop a further such route allowing greenway travel all the way from Waterford and New Ross to Enniscorthy and Wexford - another route with much of interest along the way and a far easier "sell" to tourists than a straight path with long sections in cuttings.

Regular services ceased on the line in 2010, but until this year it has been maintained in operational condition with occasional special and maintenance trains passing, and even at the time of writing a passenger service reinstatement would not be straightforward.  There are issues that would need to be considered such as terminal capacity was much reduced when the railway into the port was cut back, and at Waterford Station where the current setup is not conductive for handling passengers travelling east. Initial reversal of services at Rosslare Strand to provide a service to Wexford could also be considered (as in the longer term could a loop to complete the triangle) or perhaps service co-ordination could allow a train from Waterford to travel either to Rosslare Europort or Wexford, passing a train from Dublin or Europort to give passenger journey options to both Wexford and Europort.  With the European connection, you may have funding sources via the EU, to modernise facilities such as the level crossings along the way and the swinging span of the Barrow Bridge, all of which have significant operational (manpowers) costs in their current form.

You are at something of a key time.  If maintenance ceases for more that a few months, the line will rapidly become overgrown and the few cents saved by the withdrawal of this care would cost many more euros to restore.  Likewise, if the Barrow Bridge is swung open and fixed/disabled in that position, the relatively tiny saving made could well require massive funding to restore.  And you are looking here at both a service which would bring significant benefit to the region and provide a strategic link within Ireland too.  With climate change and the green agenda, with changes in travel patterns for passengers as a result of Coronavirus and for freight due to Brexit (which I very much regret), sustainable public transport connections through Rosslare and Waterford should be forming part of forward looking policy for the next 30 years, and should very much be something all your TDs and MEPs, and candidates, can put their names to irrespective of political allegiance.  It's a vote winner for them - with decisive action now before the bridge can be knobbled being more than returned to them at the ballot box next time.

You may well ask "So - what do you know, Graham" as I write this letter of support.

Ten years ago, my local station in England - serving a town of 25,000 residents - had only 2 trains a day - before dawn and after dusk, and only about 5 people arriving and 5 leaving by train a day, and those services were in question. Last year, we had 9 trains each way per day, with 75,000 journeys per annum at out local intermediate station, and around quarter of a million journeys "to, from or through".  Growth has been held back by the train becoming so full there was no room for any more passengers (we now have a longer train, and a longer platform too!) and this year by Coronavirus; prediction for next year is now 60,000 at our station, but rising to 250,000 (and that is a low estimate!) over the next decade. I have been one of the people involved right through the campaign - as President of the Chamber of Commerce I had the ear of many, and as one of the founders of our local Community Rail Partnership, have helped play the UK game of being in alignment with local and national policy. Several awards have come my / our way, but the biggest reward is standing on the platform as just about any train calls and seeing people in significant numbers getting off, getting on and just looking out of the window as they pass through. Not only has it done so much for our town, but for the neighbouring towns too.

My working career was in IT as a teacher / trainer - communicating ideas and concerns to others and having them make good use of those ideas and concepts, looking for and resolving issued to produce really effective solutions.  I turned that to rail, looking after press and publicity, online and traditional, with the Melksham Rail User Group.  So I have some experience of the sort of thing you'll be needing to do.  Much of my training was in Ireland, and with a need to carry equipment with me, I was a frequent user of the ferry into Rosslare - so much so that I got to recognising some of the crew members, and them me.  As equipment became smaller, I was able to switch from car to public transport.  A lot of work in the area around Dublin, but also journeys to and through Waterford, Limerick and Galway. And when making those journeys, I have taken the opportunity to observe and learn - in theory to pick up ideas of what will work (and watch for things to avoid) in our local work, but in practise giving me the experience that I feel lets me make a rather more useful contribution in this letter (and with some follow up) than you might expect.

Edit - tiny clarification and spelling correction
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 10:02:14 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2020, 06:25:18 pm »

From the BBC

Quote
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the Irish port of Rosslare hopes Brexit will be good for it as increasing numbers of hauliers seek to avoid the UK land bridge.

That is because of fears about traffic delays at Holyhead in Wales and Dover in Kent.

Two hours before dawn it is dark at Rosslare port in County Wexford, as a roll-on roll-off ferry arrives from Wales to dock.

First light brings more ships; some from Wales, others from France and twice weekly from Bilbao in Spain.

The port is busy as the trucks leave with their cargoes for destinations all over Ireland.

But the hope is that because of Brexit and increased paper work it will get even busier.

So what a STUPID time to close the line from Wexford to Waterford ...




A reminder - that from Rosslare, all of Ireland's (north and south) major urban areas can by reached by rail - but a half of them involve a congested dogleg through Dublin which the link that's gone/going would avoid.

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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2021, 04:57:03 pm »

From the BBC

Quote
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the Irish port of Rosslare hopes Brexit will be good for it as increasing numbers of hauliers seek to avoid the UK land bridge.

That is because of fears about traffic delays at Holyhead in Wales and Dover in Kent.



Confirmation ... from The BBC


Quote
Irish hauliers are bypassing Welsh ports to avoid Brexit bureaucracy, industry leaders say.

So-called "teething problems" with new export rules are causing "enormous strain on staff", according to one haulage company.

But others warn of a longer-term shift by truck firms from using Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock.

[snip]

This week Stena Line moved its new ship to the route from Rosslare, in the Republic of Ireland, to Cherbourg, France.

According to Irish public broadcaster RTE, a new weekend sailing from Dublin to Cherbourg will also begin on 23 January, resulting in a temporary reduction in weekend capacity on the Dublin to Holyhead route.

[snip]

At Rosslare Europort, business is booming, says general manager Glenn Carr.

"We've seen unprecedented demand in the first two weeks of trading compared to last year," Mr Carr said.

"On our European routes there's a 500% increase in freight volume going through the port compared to last year."

He added that 18 months ago they would have had three sailings a week directly to mainland Europe from Rosslare Europort: "Today we have 15."

Mr Carr says his customers want to bypass the UK because of Brexit.

"I think that's testament to demand, particularly from our exporters and importers, on the island of Ireland and the need to unfortunately bypass the UK because of Brexit to trade directly with the EU," he added.

He believes this change in operations will not be temporary.

He said decisions by ferry companies and businesses who trade with the EU to re-direct freight, have been made based on market analysis.

"The business case for the extra services out of Rosslare were not based on the first two weeks of this year," Mr Carr said.

"They were based on analysis of the market and conversations with our exporters and importers who were switching. "So there is a genuine switch and we foresee services being maintained out of Rosslare."

UK government ministers have played down concerns about the long term viability of Welsh ports.

Giving evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee this week, Wales Office Minister David TC Davies MP, said former haulage industry colleagues referred to the issues as "teething problems".

Sorry, but if I were running a business in Ireland with mainland Europe business, I would be looking at shipping products to and from my customers without having to go through two significant international trade borders - i.e. using direct services from Ireland to France.   And I would be very hard to win back when supposed "teething troubles" are overcome!

On the downside, for our (GWR area) travel to Ireland, a thinning out of ships across the Irish Sea from Fishguard or Holyhead is to be regretted - though if remaining services actually connected on both sides it would be marvy!   On the upside, it helps make an even stronger case for re-instatement of the Rosslare (Strand) to Waterford link as Rosslare gain in importance.
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2021, 05:08:59 pm »

Sadly this looks like very bad news for Fishguard and Holyhead, for both of which I'd guess the Irish ferry trade and associated employment is very important. While it is many years since I have been to either, on my visits neither have looked prosperous even with this trade.

Forgive the "remoaner" comment (guilty as charged!), but remind me how Wales voted in the referendum.....
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2021, 09:06:07 pm »


Forgive the "remoaner" comment (guilty as charged!), but remind me how Wales voted in the referendum.....

On another forum I subscribe to and occasionally post on, where the general congregation is rather ?Brexity? to say the least, the responses are becoming quite amusing:

?Good news for Wales ? less congestion?

?Just teething issues, nothing to see here? They?ll still be saying that in 2050...

?We don?t need the Irish anyway?

In the meantime, supermarket shelves are emptying in Northern Ireland.

Fishermen are complaining that their catch is going off before they can get it through border control and into the EU, a classic example if there ever was one of be careful what you wish for.

The return of? duty free? is being applauded by misguided individuals who never realised that what they were buying on the boats was more expensive than it cost in the shops in France and we now have duty free allowances back which is a definite downside to this version of Brexit, and we can all look forward to having our ham sandwiches confiscated by the Dutch Customs.

There are plenty of other downsides that people will find out about the hard way soon, not least being the electronic visa requirement that will be along in 2022

But never mind all that, we?ve taken back control. Rejoice brethren, rejoice!!!

[/Rant mode]
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 12:53:33 pm by Robin Summerhill » Logged
TonyK
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2021, 04:13:32 pm »


But never mind all that, we?ve taken back control. Rejoice brethren, rejoice!!!

We certainly have. We are just not sure what we have taken back control of, nor whether we lost control of it in the first place.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2021, 06:57:41 am »

Depends whose in control?
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2021, 08:39:32 pm »

Depends whose in control?

I've just read the papers. Apparently it's Boris ...  Embarrassed
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2021, 10:11:05 pm »

Depends whose in control?

I've just read the papers. Apparently it's Boris ...  Embarrassed

Depend what you mean by "in control".
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2021, 02:01:31 pm »

I've just read the papers. Apparently it's Boris ...  Embarrassed

I don't think he has quite reached Norman Lamont's description of "being in office but not in power". He would do well to avoid Julian Clary, just in case.
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