LINES FROM IRELAND - August to October 2018

by James Scannell

The Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail fleet consists of DART, InterCityRailcar, Commuter and diesel locomotives amounting to nearly 900 rail vehicles. The majority of the fleet is used to operate passenger services with additional stock assigned to provide freight services. Maintenance and cleaning are provided 24/7 to rolling stock at a number of depots throughout the Republic of Ireland. The Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Department handles other fleet projects such as specifying and ordering new rolling stock and modifying, improving and overhauling the existing fleet when required. The 071 Class diesel locomotives entered service back in the late 1970s after being ordered from General Motors in the U.S. They were used for all passenger services for twenty plus years until phased out during the 1990’s. Twenty-one locomotives in total were ordered with three being used by Northern Ireland Railways and eighteen used by Iarnród Éireann for passenger services. These locomotives weighed 99 tons, had a maximum speed of 90 mph, and were delivered in the black and orange ‘Supertrain’ livery which replaced the previous black and tan color scheme. As these locomotives began to be phased out from operating passenger services, they were moved onto freight and permanent way trains. For the last twenty years these locomotives have operated the Tara Mines, timber and other freight and permanent way services and are still in service. In 2013 a refurbishment programme was started whereby all eighteen locomotives this class received an overhaul, corrosion repairs, new panels, refurbished bogies, new cabs and a new slate grey livery. In April this year 071 class locomotive No. 075 was brought into Inchicore Depot, Dublin to be overhauled. The work involved the complete stripping down of the locomotive structure to bring it back to its former glory. The refurbishment work was carried out by a team of dedicated and professional staff in Inchicore, managed by Derek Murphy and the train presentation remote team. The loco was showing her age when it arrived into the Depot and it took a couple of months before the refurbishment works was completed in August.

A major project to replace Iarnród Éireann’s life-expired 19th-century Pearse Station roof in Dublin commenced over the last weekend of October which was a bank holiday. The roof structure, which dates from the 1880s, is in poor condition, and protective mesh netting has been in place in the station below roof level in recent years to protect customers and rail services due to the corrosion which has occurred. Its replacement has been identified by Iarnród Éireann as a crucial safety project. Although the roof is not a protected structure, Iarnród Éireann has specified that the external appearance and character of the structure should be maintained. The project will cost US$19M million, is funded by the National Transport Authority, and will take place over a period of 23 months. While most of the work will not affect rail services and is planned to take place in the daytime to reduce impact on the surrounding areas, Iarnród Éireann does expect that the station will need to be closed for up to 13 weekends over the 23-month period for round-theclock works, involving crane operation to install sections of the new structure. Dates of works will be confirmed, with the next weekend station closure taking place in late January 2019. Train services through the station will be suspended during these weekends, meaning train services would not operate between Dublin Connolly and Grand Canal Dock. Community Liaison arrangements are in place to engage and consult with residents, businesses and public representatives throughout the project.

The works will involve the replacement of all primary trusses with new steel trusses or similar, and the existing roofing materials with new materials chosen to maintain the external appearance and character of the structure. Significant work will also be necessary to separate the ongoing works from both the operations of the station and from the surrounding high-density area which includes residential, commercial, educational and amenity areas. A crash deck will be installed over the main station for the duration of the works. Physical works will take place between October 2018 and July 2020.

Iarnród Éireann has advised customers that, following a determination by the National Transport Authority (NTA), revised fares will apply on some services from December 1st, 2018. For December Taxsaver renewals, revised fares will apply from November 1st; Dublin ShortHop Zone (SHZ) Monthly and Annual fares will reduce by 5.8%; fare for multi-operator monthly and annual tickets for bus in Dublin, rail in the SHZ and Luas will reduce by 6% while other multioperator fares will not change; Schoolchild Leap will remain at US 90 cents and schoolchild cash at US$1.40; no increase in SHZ family fares; no increase in the most common monthly and annual Intercity season fares, with other monthlies and annuals increasing by a maximum of 1.7%. Most Intercity express single fares are down by 5% for the second year in a row making these fares cheaper than they were in 2012.

 International News – August to October 2018 Statement on London, U.K. Crossrail Project

At the end of October London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “The confirmation of an interim financing package between the Government and the Mayor of London will enable Crossrail Ltd. to continue its construction work and vital testing at pace to open the Elizabeth line to passengers as quickly as possible. The funding will go towards Crossrail Ltd. completing the final fit out of the tunnels, work on stations and the extensive safety and reliability testing needed for the new systems. We have commissioned independent reviews into Crossrail Ltd’s governance and financing to ensure its projections are robust. These reviews are being carried out by auditors KPMG and once this work is finalised a full financing agreement will be developed by the Government and Mayor of London. Once opened the Elizabeth line will transform travel across London, boosting the economy by billions of pounds Sterling and supporting thousands of new jobs and homes in London and the South East.”

London’s Victoria Tube station becomes 75th station to be made step-free.

Transport for London (TfL) announced on October 22nd that Victoria tube station is now step-free, improving access to the transport network for millions of people. Seven new passenger elevators have been installed at the underground station, making journeys step-free between the street and Victoria line trains and the District and Circle line platforms. Customers from the mainline station can now also travel step-free from trains to the tube station and interchange more easily between the three tube lines. This station is the fourth-busiest on the London Underground, serving more than 79 million customers each year. The new elevators will help ensure the station is accessible to all customers, including disabled or older customers, parents or carers with strollers, and people with heavy luggage. The new lifts are part of an upgrade project that has almost doubled the size of the station, with the very final work on the Tube station to be completed later this year.

TravelSafe Partnership launches day of action to tackle antisocial behaviour.

October 16th was the latest TravelSafe day of action in Manchester, U.K., which saw two of the city centre’s biggest transport hubs and surrounding areas targeted as part of an ongoing and proactive approach to community reassurance and engagement. Shudehill Interchange, Victoria station and the surrounding community were prioritized following an increase in incidents in the area – including thefts targeting local bus services – and resulted in two people being arrested. The partnership uses the latest data to inform priorities and recent figures showed that 60% of recent assaults had taken place at Shudehill Interchange on a Friday. Officers and staff maintained a highly-visible presence at stops, stations and on services in and out of the city, speaking to passengers and members of the public about the partnership, while also deterring crime and anti-social behavior.

Transport for Greater Manchester, U.K., scoops two transport ‘Oscars’.

In October Transport for Great Manchester was named U.K. City-Region Authority of the Year and won a joint award with Manchester City Council for cycling infrastructure innovation. The awards were presented at the prestigious National Transport Awards ceremony on October 11th. Judges were impressed with TfGM work during 2017 which started with the opening of Metrolink’s Second City Crossing. This major project added 1.3km of track through Manchester city centre and was followed by the laying of the first piece of track on the Trafford Park line, the completion of the US$150M Bus Priority package and the opening of a new transport interchange in Bolton. The Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road Cycleway – one of the most innovative UK cycling schemes outside London – was deemed the best entry in the Excellence in Cycling and Walking category. The project, a joint scheme involving Manchester City Council, impressed the judges by trebling the number of cyclists using the route compared to pre-construction.

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Revised: Dec 2018