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Irish Rail freight trial

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"Road tends to be more cost efficient faster and flexible for less than train load lots. The road transport system has the advantage of being a user pays system where the Government and Insurance companies can adjust fuel, vehicle and road user excise taxes and insurance fees to recover the full internal and external costs of road transport. "


Rail and road are very similar in cost for containers, with rail having major benefits such as the ability to pick n drop and not struggling with the availability of trained drivers to the same degree as road..

I doubt that the Irish government recovers full costs of the road network, especially not after taking into account the huge capital expenditures of the past fifteen years.. They are subsidising some toll roads as it is..



"Another big pro in favour of road transport in Ireland is that you can load a truck with butter or cheese at a Co-Op in Cork or Kerry and deliver direct to a supermarket in the UK or main land Europe."


This is not an issue with the use of reefer containers, some of the kerrygold going to Europe travels by sea by this method only delivery would be to a distribution centre rather than an individual supermarket


"Road vehicle technology is also jumping ahead of rail, with larger more fuel efficient vehicles (HPMV) and GPS based fleet management systems improving roads competitive advantage over rail.




Nice in mainland Europe but not a whole lot of use in the West of Ireland where the roads struggle to handle existing trucks and the drivers know their routes..

Edited by MOGUL

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Sure I understand that, but what about the commercial cost difference between point to point delivery (a single delivery leg) on a small geographical island, verses point to rail to point (i.e. three delivery legs)?


BTW, personally I'd prefer to see more freight by rail than road, but wonder if road is more efficient and less expensive for businesses.


Has electrification of mainline rail been considered and costed in recent decades?


As recently as 2009-2010 I believe, in the AECOM report

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Autonomus freight vehicles is predicted to be among the next generation of disruptive technologies eliminating the livelihoods of millions of truck drivers within the next 10 years http://cerasis.com/2017/05/24/autonomous-vehicles-in-logistics/, while railfreight remains wedded to the 1950s American concept of running heavier and longer trains to bring down running costs. Truck manufacturers are developing hybrid and fuel cell technology to reduce carbon emissions and distributed power units for tractor and trailer units a road DEMU?


Articles in Engineering & Technology Magazine speak of operating the motorway system in a similar manner to a traditional railway creating marshalling yards to consolidate and distribute line haul traffic into the trunk system at traffic hubs, some bright spark even suggested stringing cantanery over the motorway system to power hybrid trucks another suggested converting the railways into traffic routes for autonomu vehicles.


In New Zealand HPMVs are eating into rails market share and many of the core parts of our State Highway system are not dis-similar to the Roads in parts of the West of Ireland where rail does not reach. Locally a 30 wagon 60 TEU freight is considered marginal & 100TEU profitable.


One of the surprising things was the international failure to develop the freight DMU to transport freight at passenger train speed, this would have appeared to have been ideal for the relatively light freight traffic levels carried on Irelands railways and offered an advantage in terms of faster more frequent services required for high value freight and lower operating costs than IEs traditional 30-36 TEU freight trains.

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