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Safety risks will increase>>>>

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heirflick
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From yesterdays Irish Independant

 

'IRISH Rail's service will deteriorate and safety risks will increase unless it spends more than €180m a year upgrading and maintaining the network.

 

The money is needed to replace tracks, inspect bridges, upgrade signalling systems and bolster earth embankments to prevent them falling on to lines, according to a major independent report.

 

But it is not clear where the money to pay for the works will come from.

 

Irish Rail lost €22m last year, and does not have cash reserves to fund the upgrades. The amount needed is almost double what is currently spent on railway safety, which runs to about €100m a year.

 

The new report, commissioned by the Department of Transport, reveals that despite spending €1.7bn over the past 14 years on safety works, more than €3bn is needed between now and 2030 to maintain the network in a "steady state".

 

ACCIDENTS

 

If the investment is not made, speed restrictions may have to be introduced, resulting in slower journey times that will affect some 39 million passengers – and the risk of accidents will increase.

 

The report also reveals that Dublin's DART system was in danger of being shut down in recent years because of unforeseen "wear and tear" of the overhead lines.

 

The department said it would have to consider the report in the context of October's Budget.

 

Irish Rail has spent €9m upgrading lines over the past three years, despite budgeting for only €1.3m.

 

Almost €1.7bn has been spent since 1999, €513m of it since 2009, under three railway safety programmes.

 

The money has gone on new tracks, upgrading safety systems, staff training and new signalling. Some €50m was spent surveying and repairing bridges following the collapse of the Malahide viaduct four years ago.

 

But the independent report, a 'Mid-term Review of Iarnrod Eireann's Third Railway Safety Programme (RSP3)', says that continued investment is needed to prevent the network from deteriorating, which can have knock-on effects on safety and performance because of the resulting necessary speed restrictions.'

 

 

anyone got a few bob to invest in the railway?

Edited by heirflick
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Maybe if IE spent the money on upgrading the most important parts of the business instead of overstocking on more railcars than were needed and kept the Mark IIIs going a while longer they wouldn't be facing these issues. But of course shiny new trains are the most visible thing to the customer. :rolleyes:

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It's time the Irish government woke up and privatised the railways.

 

Why? The privatisation of BR has been a disaster in lots of ways. When Railtrack was privatised there was a spate of accidents in the late 90s and it was then re-nationalised at great cost to become Network Rail. On top of that the privatised rail companies get five times the subsidies from the British Government than BR ever did. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/13/rail-fares-passengers-renationalisation And that's before we get to the eye-watering fares!

 

Privatisation will come for IE eventually thanks to EU rules, but it could end up being a disaster in itself.

Edited by Warbonnet
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It's time the Irish government woke up and privatised the railways.

 

In an ideal world, perhaps. But this is Ireland.

 

While I don't disagree with your statement about the Irish government needing to wake up, I don't think privatisation is the answer for here. This is not due to the essence of privatisation itself, more down to this country's specific way of handling things and how badly it would be managed onwards.

 

England is not faring very well with their escalating costs. They were promised fares would come down when it was privatised. But year after year, they are going up and up, to extreme levels on some main lines. The excuses are that its costing the railway management companies more to maintain the tracks, etc, just like above, and as there is no real government control over them continually hiking the prices up, it just happens. Its cheaper to fly between many cities in England than get the train now.

 

I'm not saying in Ireland that the transport regulator here wouldn't allow prices to go up, they generally always have but it is somewhat tempered due to the knowing outrage it would cause if it went up 'too much'. I feel if there was a private company, the increases would be far more substantial.

 

Sadly its a Catch 22 situation. Mismanaged state company versus mismanaged private company, take your pick. Either way, you pay. Be it through subsidising a state-run (or partly state-run) company through taxes and slightly-lower ticket prices, or if privatised, through the inevitable exorbitant ticket costs.

 

No matter how strongly a promise to run things properly here was made, the fact is mismanagement and a general laissez-faire attitude has always pervaded too strongly across the board here. If we are going to have privatisation of the railways, that works, then we are going to need a total clear out, of everything, and I can't see that happening.

 

Another point to note is that it is also silly season in the media nearly full time now, due to the upcoming Budget. Theres been all kinds of stuff printed and published at various times, to try and generate responses, one way or the other. Its being dropped now for a specific reason. Perhaps Irish Rail are hoping it will generate enough concerns within the public that they will get on the backs of their local TD's, who will in turn 'try to influence' the government to finally part with the extra bailout funding that Irish Rail are looking for throughout their recent 'discussions'? Of course they will part with it and when it does happen, they can continue to cut our pay and hike taxes but at the same time pretend they are throwing us a carrot by giving funding (our money) to Irish Rail, to protect our safety. IR get what they want, as do the government, as do the media. I scratch your back, you scratch mine, etc.

 

Just a thought.

Edited by Blu Bianco
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Why? The privatisation of BR has been a disaster in lots of ways. When Railtrack was privatised there was a spate of accidents in the late 90s and it was then re-nationalised at great cost to become Network Rail. On top of that the privatised rail companies get five times the subsidies from the British Government than BR ever did. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/13/rail-fares-passengers-renationalisation And that's before we get to the eye-watering fares!

 

Privatisation will come for IE eventually thanks to EU rules, but it could end up being a disaster in itself.

England is not faring very well with their escalating costs. They were promised fares would come down when it was privatised. But year after year, they are going up and up, to extreme levels on some main lines. The excuses are that its costing the railway management companies more to maintain the tracks, etc, just like above, and as there is no real government control over them continually hiking the prices up, it just happens. Its cheaper to fly between many cities in England than get the train now.

Living in England, I have to say that I haven't been on a train here for five years. We're ladling tax-payer's money into the system on a scale that British Rail couldn't have even dreamed of. I know people that work for Network Rail and 'financial efficiency' is not a term that they use much. Operators have walked away, unscathed, from promises that no sane person can have believed that they could fulfil. Fares have jacked up way beyond inflation. The journeys that I used to take now either take too long or are just not worth it. The complications of knowing just whose trains you are allowed to use and operators hiding opposition trains from their timetables are not for the faint-hearted.

 

The only train they I've used in Ireland has been Dublin/Ballybrophy and I've never had the slightest problem - my catalogue of disasters over here is too long to go into.

 

Irish Rail could be better, of course - but it could also be worse and more expensive.

Edited by Broithe
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And then the Irish Times publishes this on Friday:

 

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/sectors/transport-and-tourism/french-operator-looks-to-irish-rail-to-make-savings-and-improve-reliability-1.1509990

 

'French operator looks to Irish Rail to make savings and improve reliability'

 

 

(A flawed exercise if you ask me...)

 

Of course they've reduced their maintenance costs they bought brand new trains and too many of them so they're in fortunate position in being able to rotate stock quicker. Lets see what the maintenance costs are in 10 years time when the current fleet is getting older!

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Irish rail has got to prioritise existing rail routes and invest in the network and improve line speeds e.g Dublin-Cork is an average train speed of 60mph...not really acceptable for €50 on-peak.....if brought up towards 80/90mph as in the UK train time would cut to 1 hour 45mins which would be worth the €50 on peak.....

 

I live in Roscrea on the ballybrophy line I use it every week to go to Dublin...IE made the lunacy idea of upgrading the lesser used limk-nenagh section.....I am in favour of closing the route and replace it with a bus from nenagh town centre on the motorway to Roscrea town centre then on to ballybrophy or portlaoise...it would still be faster than conventional bus!!

 

Limk junction to Waterford has little if any strategic value and could be on the cutting block....as would ballina-manulla for passengers only.....

 

Salaries in IE and CIE are MAD.....average is €54,000 in the ROI and for translink its something like €34,000 when converted......semi states have had NO paycuts unlike there public sector counter parts......CEO is paid more than the Taoiseach and theres another 2 in bus eireann and Dublin bus.....

 

I did a big study on the issue for a job im doing at the moment.......the waste in the department of tourism & sport is appalling €390K and €300K were spent on "dressing rooms" in Donegal and ballymun....imagine if dromod, stradbally, Downpatrick, or another group got the same resources

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Governments have been struggling with this problem since the 1950s and I am beginning to believe that the Stormont Government was correct in its analysis in the 195os that investing in the railways was a waste of time and money.

 

While the railways in Ireland and the UK are probably carrying more passengers than ever, overal traffic carried by rail is fairly insignificant in the overall scheme of things and their financial positions is probably worse than it was 60 years ago with few if any services breaking even.

 

While a private operator may be able to achieve savings through less staff and lower wages, the Government will still be expected to burden the cost of providing and maintaining the infrastructure and rolling stock. We have a bizzare situation in Auckland where Veolia operate trains owned by the City Council funded by the rates on track owned and maintained by a state owned railway company.

 

The Council is charged the full economic cost for infrastructure and rolling stock maintenance, Veolia receives a subsidy and a management fee, the whole lot is charged to the rates 3-4% use the trains, roads are pay as you go excise on fuel and motor licensing fees, which is the fairer?

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The beauty of public transport is that the return on investment benefits the state most of all. The only way a private operator can get a good return is by slashing cost and increasing prices as they don't have the 'macro' benefits that a public transportation system bring to the country as a whole. As a confirmed capitalist I do believe public transport should be a public investment but that they should be run with a 'business' bias rather than the current trade unionised logjam. Average 54k salaries are few and far between in any sector these days.

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I remain unconvinced that privatisation is plausible for the railways - nobody is ever going to make a direct profit from railway operation, least of all in Ireland. It has a tendency to turn into a gravy train with little regard for the user. Bizarre levels of complication start to occur with regard to what is an individual company's responsibility.

 

We had a crash here some years ago, when a failed wagon derailed a mail train on the other track, the loco of which went up the embankment into the end wall of a chap's house. Neither the owners of the loco nor the people they had leased it to nor the people operating it for them nor Royal Mail, whose train it was pulling, accepted responsibility, as they had been derailed by the wagon from the other train. The owners of the wagon had leased it to somebody else who had put its maintenance out to tender elsewhere - ad infinitum.. After about six years of argument, somebody made an 'ex-gratia' payment to reimburse the repair of the house.

 

And one of the mail sorters died.

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The problem with privatisation, is that you are then paying shareholders and banks / owners, with zero regard or care for services or safety.

 

A well run public transport system provides an excellent return for the state, when well managed and efficiently run.

 

I really, really don't think many / any private operators could do 'much' better of it, and would likely end up costing all of us, and the users, much more.

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While a private operator may be able to achieve savings through less staff and lower wages, the Government will still be expected to burden the cost of providing and maintaining the infrastructure and rolling stock.

 

CIE has been protected from wage cuts imposed on the public sector as its a semi state.......protected by the militant bus and rail union....remember the ones who brought Dublin practically no public transport (with exception to luas and DART).....they have justified privatisation of Dublin Bus because of their strike (paid 40K 2nd highest paid in europe).......I agree ireland is too small for privatisation even if it wasn't small privatisation would make it a basket case like in the uk with high fares low costs poor service........but the freight sector could be privatised ............unions wont let their members run trains in the night after passenger trains stop!

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was in the curragh during the week and watched 6 railcar sets go by with as little as 4 on one train. cant be the companys fault if nobody is using them. anyone know how much it costs to run a 3 car set from dublin to limerick?

When we first had bus deregulation over here, I was waiting for somebody once and was passed by eleven buses with only four passengers between them. I haven't been on a bus in the UK this century....

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