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Noel

Passenger Fleet life span

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Finbar's photo review of 2016 had some great shots of BR/GWR/Virgin Intercity 125 trains. It struck me that BR and its successors have so far successfully operated these intercity mk3 coach sets and power units for 41 years, and plan to operate them until 2020 which will be about 45 years in service. By contrast our younger CIE/IE/IR mk3 coaches were only in service for 25 years before being scrapped.

 

Our 071 class was only in passenger service for about 20 years before being replaced by the 201 class, but at least the 071s are still in freight service so thats 40 years. But many of the 201s left passenger service after only 15 years, with the Cork line retaining them for 21 years so far (excluding the enterprise).

 

In fairness there must be a significant cost and logistical difference between operating single loco hauled passenger rakes and twin power unit push-pull sets like the BR 125s, hence CIE/IR/IE still had the costs of extra track work, coupling, time and staff, necessary for train runarounds and shunting at termini which the 22k did away with. I just can't help wondering if the mk3/201 combinations could have operated for another 15-20 years before being replaced had they all been push pull, or even the locos replaced with twin power units one at each end of each rake (i.e. like 125 sets).

 

I know this topic has come up 'ad nauseum' in various guises in the past and not wishing to trigger any strong feelings on the matter, but curious how this came about. I assume there must have been a very strong cost saving case to take the plunge and retire these fleets early. Was this the case or were there other complex factors? A lot of capital appears to have been diverted to fleet replacement rather than the network, and there must have been a good case for this.

 

I hope IR retain the Mk4 push-pull sets on the Cork main line. They have only been in service for 10 years. It was good to see the Enterprise DD sets get a rejuvenating overhaul last year.

Edited by Noel

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It's funny how Inchicore has changed.

 

In steam days, they thrived with a fleet three times the size they have now, where apart from the 101s barely two locos were alike. Despite the best efforts of the GSR and CIE, standardisation was a foreign word. Forty year old locos and carriages, and even older wagons, were not only the norm - there were many. many examples approaching twice that age. And yet they maintained them all and the trains ran.

 

Cue the diesel era, and compared to British Rail and its toytown "train company" successors, they suddenly developed an absolute anathema of anything that is non standard, anything that requires any effort, imagination or thought processes; witness the 2 or 3 standard types of train on offer today. It started with the AEC railcars. Then the potentially useful SLNCR Railcar B, and then the G class. If it wasn't standard, they didn't like it and didn't look after it. The AECs lasted half the time their equivalents in Britain did - less in some cases. Now, we have the Mk 2 and Mk 3 carriages scrapped half way through their reasonable lifespan. Comments about needing more maintenance may be more about lack of proper care than age - though if so, that itself can probably be traced to lack of proper government funding.

 

So we have scrapped perfectly good Mk 3s and the excellent Galway set, and laid aside 8700 DARTS and 2700 class railcars - all barely out of their Hornby boxes........

 

Mad....

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Hard to argue with that JB. I'd love to see the cost benefit spreadsheet presented to justify the MK3 scrapping. I still prefer them to the new Mk4. Far smoother ride.

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As a regular traveller on the Mk 4 sets, I have yet to be impressed by a single detail of them.

 

I'll give them one credit though, and it's not much of one. The onboard temperature, while it can be stuffy, is nothing to the claustrophobic, severely uncomfortable extreme heat of the wretched ICRs, which only very rarely are a comfortable temperature. They are frequently - and I have this on good authority - over 22 degrees. Also the toilets are not ventilated. Try using one after someone has done their No. 2s in it.....

 

I was on an ICR the other night and I know for a fact that it was actually measuring at over 22. That is bad enough, but compared with the adjacent coaches, the one I was in was WAY hotter.

 

Why can't we have trains these days with opening windows? I'd rather do Belfast to Cork in a 2600, either in Roses or Quality Street livery, than one of these stuffy tin tubes.

 

Rant over, for now.....

Edited by jhb171achill

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. . . I'd love to see the cost benefit spreadsheet presented to justify the MK3 scrapping. . . .

 

Thanks for replies guys. Does anybody on the forum have any insight to the factors and rational that lead to the replacement of the mk3 fleet early? I suppose it could be got through FOI, but that's a tedious process and I'm sure this topic must have been discussed by the media at some stage.

 

Heuston is an impressive place nowadays with all the extra platforms and shinny new 22k sets, online booking, reserved seat names, etc, etc. I agree with JB I find the 22k's quite warm inside, but more disappointingly the seats seem rather uncomfortable after the 1st hour. At least the seats in City Gold on the mk4 sets are comfy as are the enterprise, but all mk3 seats used to be comfy for long trips. Having travelled quite a bit on 22k's this year they do seem to be selling seats quite well. City Gold on the Cork line is practically empty during the day and there is no proper food service except 1st thing in the morning and the late evening train back to Heuston. Is that caused by good motorways, or poor in cabin service (i.e. no curtains for laptop work, poor food, etc)?

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simply, during the so called boom the government of the day

threw money at ir, had it been post 2009 we would still have the

lovely mark 3,s?:SORRY:

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Thanks for replies guys. Does anybody on the forum have any insight to the factors and rational that lead to the replacement of the mk3 fleet early? I suppose it could be got through FOI, but that's a tedious process and I'm sure this topic must have been discussed by the media at some stage.

 

Heuston is an impressive place nowadays with all the extra platforms and shinny new 22k sets, online booking, reserved seat names, etc, etc. I agree with JB I find the 22k's quite warm inside, but more disappointingly the seats seem rather uncomfortable after the 1st hour. At least the seats in City Gold on the mk4 sets are comfy as are the enterprise, but all mk3 seats used to be comfy for long trips. Having travelled quite a bit on 22k's this year they do seem to be selling seats quite well. City Gold on the Cork line is practically empty during the day and there is no proper food service except 1st thing in the morning and the late evening train back to Heuston. Is that caused by good motorways, or poor in cabin service (i.e. no curtains for laptop work, poor food, etc)?

 

The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains. He was a former head of NSE and was used to multiple units and the flexibility they offered. This meant binning 201s and 071s off passenger trains, but also 141s required at places like Heuston and Connolly for shunting/release and of course the coaching stock involved. Railcars offer a more streamlined operation in this regard to Mark II and Mark III loco hauled stock IE had apart from the push pulls of course. The country was awash with money at the time and the desire was there to give IE plenty of funds to buy shiny new trains.

 

While Mark IIIs are still running in the UK on a daily basis they've been refurbished a couple of times at least. IE's were due a big refurb and at the time it was explained that new trains wouldn't cost a whole lot more and would offer greater savings in terms of running costs, flexibility etc over existing stock.

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The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains. He was a former head of NSE and was used to multiple units and the flexibility they offered. This meant binning 201s and 071s off passenger trains, but also 141s required at places like Heuston and Connolly for shunting/release and of course the coaching stock involved. Railcars offer a more streamlined operation in this regard to Mark II and Mark III loco hauled stock IE had apart from the push pulls of course. The country was awash with money at the time and the desire was there to give IE plenty of funds to buy shiny new trains.

 

While Mark IIIs are still running in the UK on a daily basis they've been refurbished a couple of times at least. IE's were due a big refurb and at the time it was explained that new trains wouldn't cost a whole lot more and would offer greater savings in terms of running costs, flexibility etc over existing stock.

 

Thanks Fran for that information and insight. Noel

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I can see the rationale, yes..... and while it's true that railway administrations have to work with what the accountant likes, not what us enthusiasts like, it does seem strange that other options weren't considered. One might accept the rationale behind eliminating shunting - but there can't be any accountant's argument in favour of setting aside some 20 201s instead of converting at least half of the Mk 3s into push-pull mode. That's what happened widely on the continent. Go to Switzerland or Austria and there are millions of loco hauled trains, and almost all are PP.

 

Anyway..................................

 

Time I got on with finishing the captions for "Rails Through Connemara". I'm still hoping for a June launch but I'd need to get a move on seriously....over'n'out.

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I can see the rationale, yes..... and while it's true that railway administrations have to work with what the accountant likes, not what us enthusiasts like, it does seem strange that other options weren't considered. One might accept the rationale behind eliminating shunting - but there can't be any accountant's argument in favour of setting aside some 20 201s instead of converting at least half of the Mk 3s into push-pull mode. That's what happened widely on the continent. Go to Switzerland or Austria and there are millions of loco hauled trains, and almost all are PP.

 

Anyway..................................

 

Time I got on with finishing the captions for "Rails Through Connemara". I'm still hoping for a June launch but I'd need to get a move on seriously....over'n'out.

 

The 201s that were set aside (apart from a few fire/crash victims) did not have PP capability. I have always wondered was it an expensive job to retro fit them....

 

It is interesting however to see a couple of 201's on the comeback trail in Inchicore, with 230 currently getting rebuilt after its fire on Enterprise duties. Looks like the demand for locos is growing at least...

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That's good indeed.... and if they are refurbing 201s, it suggests that the 071s are safe for another good few years. They need both.

 

Mind you, one might read that another way; unfortunately, it would make sense from an operator's point of view to have a single class of loco. Could it be that refurbs of 201s will eventually simply replace the 071s? There's one for another day...........

 

On the subject of passenger fleet life spans, both Britain and mainland Europe have managed to keep electric stuff in traffic for decades longer than anything diseasel. How long will the original DART cars last? Nothing wrong with them except the dreadful seats.

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"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains. He was a former head of NSE and was used to multiple units and the flexibility they offered. This meant binning 201s and 071s off passenger trains, but also 141s required at places like Heuston and Connolly for shunting/release and of course the coaching stock involved. Railcars offer a more streamlined operation in this regard to Mark II and Mark III loco hauled stock IE had apart from the push pulls of course. The country was awash with money at the time and the desire was there to give IE plenty of funds to buy shiny new trains."

 

"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains."

 

I can assure you of this fact. He also discussed the possibilities of Topping and Tailing the Dublin - Cork -Dublin Trains.

 

He proposed the use of two 201 Class Locomotives, one at each end of the train. The rational behind this being:-

 

A reduction of journey times by improved train speed - This could be made possible by having faster acceleration away from Stations, made possible with the use of the additional Horse Power that would be provided by using two locomotives. -

 

Faster running speeds - He knew he could increase train speeds by track improvements where possible, thus eliminating a certain number of speed restrictions, and also reducing many of the Temporary Speed Restrictions that were then in force.

 

Improved train reliability with the use of Two Locomotives - He was of the opinion that two locomotives would greatly assist in this matter. Were there to be a locomotive failure there was a possibility the train could continue its journey with the use of the active locomotive.

 

Eliminating the need for running Locomotives around their trains at termini. Topping and tailing of train by using a locomotive at either end would eliminate the need for run-a-rounds and thus improve train availability.

 

Anyway. It never happened. Had it done so, might we still have MKIII?

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"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains. He was a former head of NSE and was used to multiple units and the flexibility they offered. This meant binning 201s and 071s off passenger trains, but also 141s required at places like Heuston and Connolly for shunting/release and of course the coaching stock involved. Railcars offer a more streamlined operation in this regard to Mark II and Mark III loco hauled stock IE had apart from the push pulls of course. The country was awash with money at the time and the desire was there to give IE plenty of funds to buy shiny new trains."

 

"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains."

 

I can assure you of this fact. He also discussed the possibilities of Topping and Tailing the Dublin - Cork -Dublin Trains.

 

He proposed the use of two 201 Class Locomotives, one at each end of the train. The rational behind this being:-

 

A reduction of journey times by improved train speed - This could be made possible by having faster acceleration away from Stations, made possible with the use of the additional Horse Power that would be provided by using two locomotives. -

 

Faster running speeds - He knew he could increase train speeds by track improvements where possible, thus eliminating a certain number of speed restrictions, and also reducing many of the Temporary Speed Restrictions that were then in force.

 

Improved train reliability with the use of Two Locomotives - He was of the opinion that two locomotives would greatly assist in this matter. Were there to be a locomotive failure there was a possibility the train could continue its journey with the use of the active locomotive.

 

Eliminating the need for running Locomotives around their trains at termini. Topping and tailing of train by using a locomotive at either end would eliminate the need for run-a-rounds and thus improve train availability.

 

Anyway. It never happened. Had it done so, might we still have MKIII?

 

Very interesting. They could have been operated like BR 125 sets. Presume with two locos that might do away with the need for EGV.

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"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains. He was a former head of NSE and was used to multiple units and the flexibility they offered. This meant binning 201s and 071s off passenger trains, but also 141s required at places like Heuston and Connolly for shunting/release and of course the coaching stock involved. Railcars offer a more streamlined operation in this regard to Mark II and Mark III loco hauled stock IE had apart from the push pulls of course. The country was awash with money at the time and the desire was there to give IE plenty of funds to buy shiny new trains."

 

"The head of IE of the day disliked the whole shunting process needed with loco-hauled trains."

 

I can assure you of this fact. He also discussed the possibilities of Topping and Tailing the Dublin - Cork -Dublin Trains.

 

He proposed the use of two 201 Class Locomotives, one at each end of the train. The rational behind this being:-

 

A reduction of journey times by improved train speed - This could be made possible by having faster acceleration away from Stations, made possible with the use of the additional Horse Power that would be provided by using two locomotives. -

 

Faster running speeds - He knew he could increase train speeds by track improvements where possible, thus eliminating a certain number of speed restrictions, and also reducing many of the Temporary Speed Restrictions that were then in force.

 

Improved train reliability with the use of Two Locomotives - He was of the opinion that two locomotives would greatly assist in this matter. Were there to be a locomotive failure there was a possibility the train could continue its journey with the use of the active locomotive.

 

Eliminating the need for running Locomotives around their trains at termini. Topping and tailing of train by using a locomotive at either end would eliminate the need for run-a-rounds and thus improve train availability.

 

Anyway. It never happened. Had it done so, might we still have MKIII?

It always surprised me that the entire system was not upgraded to 100mph when the coffers were full. Most of the stock would have been capable of at least 90mph. With an upgraded system speed, it might reasonably compete with the motorways and help relieve some of the congestion in the capital. Why was PP or T&T not adopted?

Edited by DiveController

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simply, during the so called boom the government of the day

threw money at ir, had it been post 2009 we would still have the

lovely mark 3,s?:SORRY:

 

Careful now

Edited by GSR 800

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It always surprised me that the entire system was not upgraded to 100mph when the coffers were full. Most of the stock would have been capable of at least 90mph. With an upgraded system speed, it might reasonable compete with the motorways and help relieve some of the congestion in the capital. Why was PP or T&T not adopted?

 

Some of the track needed tidying up a bit.

 

Lva5G9K.jpg

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A chance missed to upgrade the infrastructure for sure:facepalm:

 

That's some telephoto! Must show about 20 miles of track compressed into a yard or two.....!

They could cut down on travel distances just by straightening the track :ROFL:

Edited by DiveController

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That's some telephoto! Must show about 20 miles of track compressed into a yard or two.....!

 

I think the bridge is about 1,500 metres, not much over a mile, anyway. It does make it look worse than it was, but getting up to get off was not something to be approached in a blasé manner.

 

It was a 300mm lens equivalent, I suppose.

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They could cut down on travel distances just by straightening the track :ROFL:

 

Looks more like changes in gradient rather than the track being wonky. :)

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Some of the track needed tidying up a bit.

 

Lva5G9K.jpg

 

Ballybrophy.

 

That rationalisation was not a tidy up, it was more like a muck-up. I'm endeavouring to be polite about an opportunity that was not taken when this Junction was reorganised! Here was an ideal opportunity to create a new line in the direction of Dublin. Had this happened, Ballybrophy Junction to Limerick could have been become a simple to use and useful diversionary route, as well as a freight route, when required. The branch Passenger trains could have been diverted to commence and terminate at Maraborough. That abortive reorganisation was, I believe, designed to speed the closure of the Branch. Should this now happen, then we will be closing the door on a line that has great potential in future years! Perhaps that missed opportunity may be taken in the not too distant future should there be a resurgence in Freight Traffic?

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Ballybrophy.

 

That rationalisation was not a tidy up, it was more like a muck-up. I'm endeavouring to be polite about an opportunity that was not taken when this Junction was reorganised! Here was an ideal opportunity to create a new line in the direction of Dublin. Had this happened, Ballybrophy Junction to Limerick could have been become a simple to use and useful diversionary route, as well as a freight route, when required. The branch Passenger trains could have been diverted to commence and terminate at Maraborough. That abortive reorganisation was, I believe, designed to speed the closure of the Branch. Should this now happen, then we will be closing the door on a line that has great potential in future years! Perhaps that missed opportunity may be taken in the not too distant future should there be a resurgence in Freight Traffic?

 

 

You could argue most of the track reorganisation in recent years was a " muck up" , in my view largely to effect minimal ctc costs. Imagine the fifth largest city in the state being reduced to a short single bay platform , having originally has 8, I beleive , in its heyday !

 

Money is now tight again for IE , I suspect it will rue the day it has ended up with such a restrictive fleet as it now has , efficiency isn't everything , you first need sales to make efficient

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It's funny how Inchicore has changed.

 

In steam days, they thrived with a fleet three times the size they have now, where apart from the 101s barely two locos were alike. Despite the best efforts of the GSR and CIE, standardisation was a foreign word. Forty year old locos and carriages, and even older wagons, were not only the norm - there were many. many examples approaching twice that age. And yet they maintained them all and the trains ran.

 

Cue the diesel era, and compared to British Rail and its toytown "train company" successors, they suddenly developed an absolute anathema of anything that is non standard, anything that requires any effort, imagination or thought processes; witness the 2 or 3 standard types of train on offer today. It started with the AEC railcars. Then the potentially useful SLNCR Railcar B, and then the G class. If it wasn't standard, they didn't like it and didn't look after it. The AECs lasted half the time their equivalents in Britain did - less in some cases. Now, we have the Mk 2 and Mk 3 carriages scrapped half way through their reasonable lifespan. Comments about needing more maintenance may be more about lack of proper care than age - though if so, that itself can probably be traced to lack of proper government funding.

 

So we have scrapped perfectly good Mk 3s and the excellent Galway set, and laid aside 8700 DARTS and 2700 class railcars - all barely out of their Hornby boxes........

 

Mad....

 

Hi jhb, The scrapping of the MK 2 fleet was probably on the cards as I think they would have required heavy Maintenance/major investment, some had serious rust probs. The purchasing of the MK 4 coaches and the policy decision to switch to ICRs spelt the death knell for the MK3s. The 071 hauled MK3 rakes were arguably the Pinnacle of intercity rail travel here, in terms of speed, comfort and reliability. This fleet could have been utilised more productively in terms of life expectancy and you would wonder at a decision to axe them at that point? Speakig of value for money from train fleets, what about that coach purchased from BR, ex HST TRFK No. E40513, it was converted to cafe bar No 6402, cost around £1,000,000 and saw 7 or 8 years of service here!

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Indeed, Sulzer!

 

I suppose, to be fair, they can't get it right every time...!

 

CIE originally planned to operate the Supertrains & MK3s as push pull sets, even getting to the stage of building a MK2D driving cab mock up but it never happened because o funding restrictions.

 

The Park Royals, Cravens & MKDs had similar service 30+ years life to GSR built stock.

 

Replacing the MK3s with Rotem's made sense in the same way as the replacement of DMUs and loco hauled stock on Regional Lines in the UK in the 1980s with Supersprinters which allowed a much more frequent service to be operated at a lower cost.

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CIE originally planned to operate the Supertrains & MK3s as push pull sets, even getting to the stage of building a MK2D driving cab mock up but it never happened because o funding restrictions.

 

The Park Royals, Cravens & MKDs had similar service 30+ years life to GSR built stock.

 

Replacing the MK3s with Rotem's made sense in the same way as the replacement of DMUs and loco hauled stock on Regional Lines in the UK in the 1980s with Supersprinters which allowed a much more frequent service to be operated at a lower cost.

 

It what's happens in state bodies when you seperate capital requisition from operating revenue accounting . In essence , there is no requirement to minimise capital expenditure as in effect all capital spend is political and provided above and beyond the companies normal financing.

 

Hence the lack of concern over " revenue " service life. The stock wasn't bought out of operating revenue and can be discarded when a new capital spend is made available. Unlike a proper commercial company , where the euros all come from the same place whether it's cspitsl or operating spend

 

Hence the " lower cost " arguments which relate solely to operating revenue. Where IR to raise the purchase price commercially , then by gum, service life would be top priority , aka you sweat assets , that's how you achieve " cost " efficiencies

 

What's strange is the lack of comtingency planing , IR is now faced with rising passenger numbers again. Yet the governments fiscal space is very limited , which suggests that further significant rolling stock investment will be very difficult in the next few years. Destroying assets that arguably have considerable service life is a very stupid thing in the face of capital restrictions. The nature of the icr , is that it cannot be easily reconfigured and IR has no second tier assets

 

Interesting despite all these promised " cost savings " , none of which are actually audited , IR losses climbed in 2007 , 2008 , despite railcar " efficiency "

 

Partially , this is because many of IRs so called savings , are merely inter-departmental, often simply transferring savings in one department into costs in another , mainly because staff costs cannot be actually eliminated

Edited by Junctionmad

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