MYSTIC VALLEY RAILWAY SOCIETY

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LINES FROM IRELAND

by James Scannell

 

The National Transport Authority (NTA) announced that 2017 saw a significant increase in passengers using Dublin Bus and Luas with Dublin Bus recording the largest number of passenger journeys at over 136M, an increase of 9% on 2016, the fourth consecutive year of passenger growth. Dublin Bus maintains that this passenger growth has been driven by focusing on enhancing customer experience, great bus priority measures and the introduction of new vehicles. Eighty new buses will be added to the company fleet on a phased basis during 2018. Numbers using the Luas service increased by 10.26% to 37.6M passenger-journeys during 2017. With the opening of the Blue line in December and the Green and Red lines now interconnected, it is expected that there will be a significant rise in passenger journeys in 2018.

Low Rail Adhesion (LRH) caused by falling leaves in the Fall is an annual problem for Irish Rail and other rail operators around the globe and to deal with this Irish Rail operates a vigorous programme of lineside vegetation management, has 110 automatic gel applicators located across their network, manual handheld gel applicators stored at strategic locations for use by maintenance staff, and has on-board sanding equipment installed on passenger trains which is activated when wheel-slip is detected.

On Saturday December 9th Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Leo Varadkar; Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross; and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe were in attendance at the official opening of Luas Cross City line at the General Post Office in O’Connell Street, Dublin. The extended section of the Green Line runs from St. Stephen’s Green in the city centre to Broombridge on Dublin’s northside and became fully operational at 2pm. Up to this point, the Luas Green Line had brought passengers from Brides Glen as far as St Stephen’s Green, but now there will be services to 13 new stops north of St. Stephen’s Green, including eight in the city centre area.

This means that for the first time since Luas operations commenced in Dublin in 2004, the Red and Green lines are now connected, making passenger interchange between the two lines possible. With the new link-up in the O’Connell Street area, and by hopping on and off there, people can now travel north, south, east and west, on the Luas. The new section also opens up the Green Line further by linking it to Iarnród Éireann [Irish Rail] inter-city and commuter rail services at Broombridge station. The new line also serves the new Dublin Institute of Technology [DIT] facility at Grangegorman which in the coming years will have over 10,000 students on campus. Communities in Dublin’s North Inner City also stand to benefit significantly from the fast, reliable light rail service that Luas will deliver.

This extended line will increase, by several million, the number of Luas journeys taken every year. It will also encourage more people to leave their cars behind, easing congestion and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Luas Cross City will make the historic O’Connell St district more accessible to visitors, which will be good news for attractions in the area such as GPO’s Witness History, The Gate Theatre, The Abbey Theatre, and the Dublin City Hugh Lane Gallery.

The Irish Government has published ‘Ireland 2040 – Our Plan’ which recognizes that public transport infrastructure will be central to the future planning of Ireland. Delivering the key rail projects set out in the Transport Strategy for Greater Dublin including DART expansion will improve mobility and sustainability. DART expansion would see all the major rail routes in the Dublin area are ungraded to DART i.e. electrified. Furthermore a second line thru Dublin City – the high capacity DART Underground, linking the Northside DART with routes from Dublin Hueston – would dramatically increase capacity and ensure a major increase in train operation on all lines into Dublin and would connect all routes into an integrated network. It is also intended to improve access to Dublin Airport to include improved public transport including consideration of heavy rail access to facilitate direct services from the national rail network in the context of potential future electrification.

On December 1st fares on Irish Rail, DART, Dublin Bus, and Luas services increased by between 2% and 4% with the emphasis on trying to get users to switch to Leap cards which offer fares cheaper than cash ones. Cards can be topped up at railroad stations or in convenience stores.

 

 

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Revised: Apr 2018