LINES FROM IRELAND  - May to July 2017

by James Scannell


The Republic of Ireland does not have a police force like the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) British Transport Police. That body has responsibility for law enforcement and policing in railroad stations, trains, and on railroad company property. But this could change in the near future, as a number of political representatives have called on the Irish Government to consider establishing an Irish Transport Police with responsibility for policing on trains, in railroad stations and LUAS. While private security guards travel on trains and the LUAS on a random basis, and at night, and also provide security in railroad stations and railroad property, they do not have the same powers of arrest and detention as members of An Garda Síochána, the national police force for the Republic of Ireland. This means that, at times, they have to wait for police officers to arrive at incidents to make arrests or expel unruly individuals. It’s believed that if the Irish Government does not establish a Transport Police, the Garda Síochána will be asked to establish a special Transport Division to undertake this role.
Testing of Dublin’s new LUAS streetcar lines, which will connect the city southside Green line terminus with the northside Red line, is now underway in advance of the opening of this connecting line later this year. LUAS Cross City has now energized the overhead electric lines with vehicle testing and driver testing now in progress.
On July 20th An Post, the Irish Post Office, released a series of four postage stamps featuring Irish railroad stations across the Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) network. Stations featured are Heuston Station, Dublin, a magnificent building designed by English architect Sancton Wood, originally known as Kingsbridge Station, and opened in 1846; Clarke Station, Dundalk, Co. Louth, designed by William Hamilton Mill and opened in 1849; Kent Station in Cork City, originally known as Glanmire Road Station, opened in 1893; and Bagenalstown Station (Muine Bheag) in Co. Carlow, also designed by Sancton Wood.
Iarnród Éireann has applied to the Irish Government for permission to formally abandon a number of lines. Most have not seen service for a number of years, with some sections having had their rails lifted but still remain company property so Iarnród Éireann is still responsible for the upkeep of the fixed infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels. The lines effected are Ballingrane to Junction to Foynes; Tralee to Ballingrane Junction; Tralee to Fenit; Waterford Abbey Junction to New Ross; and Navan to Kingcourt.
Iarnród Éireann is currently proposing to construct a new National Train Control Centre at Heuston Station, Dublin, to replace the existing Centralised Traffic Control centre presently located in Dublin’s Connolly Station. The expected cost is in the region of US $2M with construction time of 33 months.
In Belfast, the new proposed transport hub to replace the Europe Bus Station and Great Victoria Street railroad station will be known as ‘Weavers Cross’ if approved.
Celebrating her 85th birthday this year is former Great Northern Railways (Ireland) V-class 4-4-0 steam locomotive No. 85 ‘Merlin’. She was built by Beyer Peacock in 1932 and is currently operated by the Railway Preservation of Ireland (RPSI). This organization operates the largest fleet of preserved steam locomotives over the Irish railroad network on steam train trips.
On Saturday July 22nd and Sunday July 23rd, extra trains were operated with an increased frequency on the DART system to facilitate the thousands of people who travelled to Bray, Co. Wicklow, 12 miles south of Dublin. The free 2017 Bray Air Display attracted upwards of 90,000 on both days, viewing flying displays and flypasts by a wide variety of aircraft. Extra services also ran after the air show.



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Revised: Sept 2017