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Foynes Port Development

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Sulzer201
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Hi all,

I see Foynes Port in the news again as they plan for strategic developments there. The proposition of reopening the rail link has also been mentioned. Anyone think this is possible? be great progress for the railway if the port can generate enough business to make it viable. Some mentioned a rail reinstatement cost of circa 12 Million Euro, does that sound realistic or is this another long term wishlist proposal? The link mentions the proposals but there was also an updated report carried on RTE TV in the last couple of days.

 

http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0222/369028-foynes-masterplan/

Edited by Sulzer201
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€12m sounds a bit tight for 25 miles. Ennis to Athenry (35 miles) cost €74, but then was disused for longer with significant civil works. Cork Midletion cost €25 for 7 miles.

 

However, Foynes won't have to worry about interim stations and the approach to Limerick has already had the motorway over bridges built to cater for a reopening.

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€12m sounds a bit tight for 25 miles. Ennis to Athenry (35 miles) cost €74, but then was disused for longer with significant civil works. Cork Midletion cost €25 for 7 miles.

 

However, Foynes won't have to worry about interim stations and the approach to Limerick has already had the motorway over bridges built to cater for a reopening.

 

Am I correct in the assumption that the line is still intact and was operational up to only 14 years ago for freight and still has occasional engineer trains running. Robertstown viaduct apparently needs some attention and 201s are banned from the line anyway. I was surprised how much of the rail network is off limits to 201s presumably because they are too heavy. Lucky Irish rail still have plenty of 40yo 071s to run freight over the network where 201s are not permitted. I've been to Foynes many times but only from the sea, never by road. It would be interesting to see if summer passenger rail services could make money on that route if reopened.

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One possible saving grace when it comes to cost is that it only needs to restored as a freight line, if its 25mph all the way it doesn't really matter but there could be a number of bigger financial costs like Roberstown viaduct.

 

Hi snapper, sorry our posts crossed, was on the phone. Yes I can see freight only keeping the cost down. The viaduct looks a little shaky!

 

34c22ab4f88b4332840191b70e22c3b4-0000363792-0003339086-00500l-3ec3b0ffe1c6434185056d86597a2683.jpg

 

Found a few interesting links:

 

https://irishrailwaydevelopments.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/railfreight-from-foynes-again

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/f/foynes

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Hi snapper, sorry our posts crossed, was on the phone. Yes I can see freight only keeping the cost down. The viaduct looks a little shaky!

 

34c22ab4f88b4332840191b70e22c3b4-0000363792-0003339086-00500l-3ec3b0ffe1c6434185056d86597a2683.jpg

 

Found a few interesting links:

 

https://irishrailwaydevelopments.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/railfreight-from-foynes-again

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/f/foynes

 

Even before the line was disconnected in Limerick no trains were allowed past Ballingrane due to structural condition of Robertstown

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David Franks, MD of IE, stated in an interview last year, that it is his goal to open the Foynes line on a cheap and cheerful basis, so basically spending the lowest amount possible to enable freight trains to use it. Part of interview relating to railfreight below.

 

Freight

 

Having been for many years the poor relation on IÉ, freight is now becoming the rising star. ‘During 2013 we recorded a 4% increase with freight tonnage. I see freight as an opportunity that we can use to claw in additional revenue, especially as much of the network is controlled centrally and there is rarely cost involved in opening up lines for an additional train path.

 

On the (main) network I see passenger trains as covering all the network costs and freight should only be charged on a marginal basis; however on the few freight-only lines such as Drogheda to Navan, the costs must be covered. Freight must pay its way. To improve the viability of freight we are currently looking at how access to the network is charged, as at present all are charged the same rate. I don’t consider that the charges that we apply to passenger services are also right for freight and we may be able to reduce them.’

 

Another long time issue with freight customers has been the relatively short formations permitted on the network with 18 bogie container wagons being the current maximum. The problem with much of the network being single track is the length of passing loops. Even on double track routes, passing loops may not be of sufficient length.

 

Says David, ‘I’ve asked the team to look at where train lengths could be significantly extended. Freight train paths could be designed to give a through run so that the use of loops isn’t required.’ One possible solution here could be operating overnight when passenger trains are not running.

 

One key bulk freight flow is the zinc ore from Navan to Dublin Port. Franks had good news. ‘The Tara Mines have now had their licence extended so that traffic will continue.’ The traffic generates three weekday trains on the Northern Line.

 

Intermodal trains on the network are buoyant and currently centre on County Mayo with the Ballina freight yard handling nine arrivals and departures each week. International Warehousing and Transport (IWT) now operate seven weekly services in each direction to and from the Dublin Port private sidings now that agreement has been reached to operate an additional service on Saturdays. DFDS runs two trains to and from Waterford Port each week to connect with its Rotterdam-bound container ship. Ballina and Westport also handle timber trains that operate to Waterford.

 

‘In the future we are also keen that with biomass becoming important, freight can transport it.’ At present a new biomass electricity generation plant is under construction in Mayo a few miles from Ballina and this would require a regular source of fuel to operate.

 

‘We are also currently carrying out a study to look at opening up the long time mothballed Foynes branch for the Shannon Foynes Port Company on a ‘cheap and cheerful’ basis. At some future point it is also likely that the mining of zinc ore in the Limerick area could commence and that, similar to the ore from Navan, would be an ideal source of freight.’

Edited by iarnrod
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That all sounds very promising - if only all the major Irish ports were so keen on rail - the development plans for Galway mentioned rail, but Galway is a very small player compared to some of the others - what is needed is the likes of Belfast and Cork to become rail orientated - I believe that one of the reasons why Cork's plans to re-locate to Ringsakiddy were scuppered was because of the lack of rail connection.

Stephen

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It hasn't ben used even for engineering trains for quite a few years no, as it is impassable in several places. The level crossing in Limerick is tarred over, for example, and farm gates are across it. It's also tarred over in Foynes.

 

Thanks for info. They might be easily remedied without too much expense. A tractor with a hedge saw could cut the hedge rows right back along the route in about eight weeks. Then some serious weed spraying with simazine and paraquat will not only kill the weed but persist in the ballast for nearly 12months stopping regrowth. Aside from structures like the bridges and aqueduct the major cost would be the track work and re-ballasting if needed. I presume that section was upgraded to concrete sleepers in the 90s so the track may not be in bad condition, but if wooden sleepers the cost could be vastly higher. If they get the line earning revenue, and gradually bring it up to higher running speeds, in years to come they could run cruise liner pax specials from Foynes to Limerick during the cruise ship season. There is a fabulous little 'pullman' style train that brings cruise ship pax from Civitavecchia into Rome.

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Thanks for info. They might be easily remedied without too much expense. A tractor with a hedge saw could cut the hedge rows right back along the route in about eight weeks. Then some serious weed spraying with simazine and paraquat will not only kill the weed but persist in the ballast for nearly 12months stopping regrowth. Aside from structures like the bridges and aqueduct the major cost would be the track work and re-ballasting if needed. I presume that section was upgraded to concrete sleepers in the 90s so the track may not be in bad condition, but if wooden sleepers the cost could be vastly higher. If they get the line earning revenue, and gradually bring it up to higher running speeds, in years to come they could run cruise liner pax specials from Foynes to Limerick during the cruise ship season. There is a fabulous little 'pullman' style train that brings cruise ship pax from Civitavecchia into Rome.

 

A far as I know the line is all wooden sleepers and the whole lot would need to be replaced.

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I think Foynes and Waterford ports are in competition for the Pallas Green zinc traffic whenever the mine gets to the production stage. Train lengths and the short length of crossing loops and sidings is a real issue.

 

While IE claim that its freight services are profitable, operating and maintenance costs must be high given the low capacity and age of the rolling stock, both the 071s and 201s are getting on a bit and fuel hungry. On average the loco and wagon fleet is now older than what the GSR took on in the 1920s, the vacuum braking system pretty much obsolete.

 

Provided you had the traffic longer trains would allow freight to be carried at a lower rate and justify a financial case for new locos and stock and longer loops and sidings.

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Somehow or other the Shannon/Foynes and Galway Harbour Development Plans http://www.galwayharbour.com/new_port/dp.php?c=97 remind me of the rival 19th Century plans to establish a Transatlantic port on the West Coast.

 

The rival plans to establish a container port for the new super vessels on the West Coast almost has the air of a South Sea Bubble about them underwritten by the state.

 

Its possible that Limerick Foynes are considering transhipping container traffic between the Far East and ports in Europe on a new deep sea wharf rather than purely Irish container trade.

 

This is starting to happen in some ports with most of the traffic arriving and departing by sea rather than through the port gate.

 

Another factor is that now that shipping companies have become masters of playing port companies off against each other, locally Maresk has changed ports so often in recent years its difficult to keep track of movements.

 

With three main container ports this is less of a factor in Ireland, most of the industry is relatively near Dublin & Cork, Waterford has to compete with Dublin and Cork to stay in business as it just has not got the population or industrial base.

 

I think IE estimated a figure of $8m eu to re-open the Foynes branch as a basic railway for the Pallas Green traffic using used cwr on conc sleepers recovered from the Cork line re-lay, probably one train working.

 

Level crossings should either be eliminated or automated, the cost of paying for a second man over 36 years to ride in the cab of the Tara ore trains to open and close the gates at Beaupark would have more than paid of a set of crossing lights and a barrier.

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Somehow or other the Shannon/Foynes and Galway Harbour Development Plans http://www.galwayharbour.com/new_port/dp.php?c=97 remind me of the rival 19th Century plans to establish a Transatlantic port on the West Coast.

 

I was only talking about this - http://irishrailwaymodeller.com/showthread.php/1416-New-Recruit!!?p=21672#post21672 - to somebody yesterday. I wonder how progress is faring?

 

 

 

Most of Irish industry is near the coast - it's not like the UK with Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, etc., all well inland and needing servicing by land transport..

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The Midland Great Western built a track laying machine that worked on much the same principal in the 1920s complete with trolley that carried track panels along the train in the video. The GSR preferred to use the machine to lift track and dismantle lines.

 

The Midland engineer patented the design which was developed and used in the UK into the 1960s as the Morris Track Layer see 1.39

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The Midland Great Western built a track laying machine that worked on much the same principal in the 1920s complete with trolley that carried track panels along the train in the video. The GSR preferred to use the machine to lift track and dismantle lines.

 

The Midland engineer patented the design which was developed and used in the UK into the 1960s as the Morris Track Layer see 1.39

 

The GS&WR preferred laying track with staggered joints and the GSR was GS&WR influenced in pretty much every way, and so the machine was retired from laying track at any rate.

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Just to chip in on the Foynes debate, I'm reliably informed that a fuel distribution company based within the port environs have full planning permission for an ultra modern plant that will be processing and producing fuel products for domestic supply and export, based on products such as biomass and molasses. Again, this is a high volume product, both input and output, which is what a railway needs.

 

Like the proposed biomass plant in Ballina, Biomass is to be imported initially. Crops such as Willow and Miscanthus grass have been trialled here quite successfully I've the past few years, but farmers are slow to take it up. It's a catch 22 scenario: high oil prices make biomass expensive to transport. Low oil prices and folk will stick with oil as a heat source.

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The Midland Great Western built a track laying machine that worked on much the same principal in the 1920s complete with trolley that carried track panels along the train in the video. The GSR preferred to use the machine to lift track and dismantle lines.

 

The Midland engineer patented the design which was developed and used in the UK into the 1960s as the Morris Track Layer see 1.39

 

Great clip, John:-bd

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  • 2 weeks later...

I deal with one of the Ship agents in Foynes port and I heard rumours about the line been reopened from the Financial controller while making small talk before Christmas. Freight traffic is on the rise and container , fuel and other products been shipped by rail make more sense. The state of the current track and some of the infrastructure isn't the best between Foynes port & Limerick.

 

One thing that surpised me was that nobody ever used the line for rail preservation , you have a line with a small but decent terminus in Foynes, a run in to Limerick via Adare....good for tourism and then into Limerick station. Foynes port could get Cruise ship in, stick then in a train, stop at Adare village and then into Limerick for shopping and look at a few historic sites there and maybe a bus out to Bunratty castle.

 

The odd freight train could run up and down the line to pay its way.

 

Anyway thats what I heard and my 10 cents work.

 

Bill

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  • 2 weeks later...

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