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Template:Infobox rail network

Rail services in Ireland are provided by Iarnród Éireann in the Republic of Ireland and by Northern Ireland Railways in Northern Ireland.

Most routes in the Republic radiate from Dublin. Northern Ireland has suburban routes from Belfast and two main lines, to Derry and the cross-border route to Dublin.

A major infrastructure plan for the Republic of Ireland, Transport 21, was announced by the Minister of Transport on 1 November 2005, to include heavy rail, light rail and metro projects in the period to 2015.

The accompanying map of the current railway network shows lines that are fully operational, lines carrying freight only traffic, and lines which have been "mothballed" (i.e. closed to traffic but potentially easily re-openable). Some airports are indicated but none is rail-connected although Kerry Airport and Belfast City Airport are within walking distance of a railway station. Both the City of Derry Airport and Belfast International (Aldergrove) are near railway lines but not connected. Ports are marked, though few remain rail-connected. Larne Harbour is one port still connected.

Track GaugesEdit

Main article: Rail gauge in Ireland
See also: List of narrow gauge railways in Ireland

The main track gauge is {{#switch:1600

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in) Irish gauge, which was mandated by the Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846.  The only other countries which currently use this unusual gauge are Australia and Brazil, both of which have far more extensive trackage using other gauges.

Several narrow gauge railways were also built, usually to a gauge of {{#switch:914

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in) but most are now closed.

Standard gauge ({{#switch:1435

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in)) is only used for the new Dublin light rail system Luas.

HistoryEdit

File:Map Rail Ireland Viceregal Commission 1906.jpg
Main article: History of rail transport in Ireland

The first railway in Ireland opened in 1834. At its peak in 1920, Ireland had 5,600 km (Template:Convert/mi) of railway, now only about one third of this remains. A large area around the border area has no rail service.

TractionEdit

LocomotivesEdit

Main article: Diesel Locomotives of Ireland

Diesel traction is the sole form of motive power in both the IÉ and NIR networks, apart from the electrified Malahide-Greystones (DART) suburban route in Dublin. Apart from prototypes and a small number of shunting locomotives, the first major dieselisation programme in CIÉ commenced in the early 1950s with orders for ninety-four locomotives of two sizes (A and C classes) from Metropolitan-Vickers which were delivered from 1955, with a further twelve (B class) locomotives from Sulzer in the late 1950s.

Following poor reliability experience with the first generation diesel locomotives, in the 1960s a second dieselisation programme was undertaken with the introduction of sixty-four locomotives in three classes (121, 141 and 181) built by General Motors, of the United States. This programme, together with line closures, enabled CIÉ to eliminate steam traction in 1963. In parallel, NIR acquired three locomotives from Hunslet, of England, for Dublin-Belfast services. The Metropolitan-Vickers locomotives were re-engined by CIÉ in the early 1970s with General Motors engines.

The third generation of diesel traction in Ireland was the acquisition of eighteen locomotives from General Motors of 2475 h.p. output, designated the 071 class, in 1976. This marked a significant improvement in the traction power available to CIÉ and enabled the acceleration of express passenger services. NIR subsequently purchased three similar locomotives for Dublin-Belfast services, which was the first alignment of traction policies by CIÉ and NIR.

A fourth generation of diesels took the form of thirty-four locomotives, again from General Motors, which arrived in the early 1990s. This was a joint order by IÉ and NIR, with thirty-two locos for the former and two for the latter. They were again supplied by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. IÉ designated their locomotives the GM 201 class; numbered 201 to 234 (the NIR locos were later prefixed with an 8). These locomotives are the most powerful diesels to run in Ireland, and are of 3200 horsepower (2.5 MW), which enabled further acceleration of express services. The NIR locos, although shipped in NIR livery, were repainted in 'Enterprise' livery, as were two of the IÉ locos.

The 071 class are now used on freight services. NIR's three similar locomotives are numbered 8111, 8112 and 8113. There is seldom more than one of these serviceable at a time. NIR regularly lends these locomotives to IE.

Multiple unitsEdit

Main article: Multiple Units of Ireland

NIR and IÉ both run suburban services using diesel multiple units (DMUs) – these are termed railcars in Ireland (see rail terminology). IÉ DMUs also operate some intercity services (including services between Rosslare Europort and Limerick Junction/Dublin Connolly and Dublin/Sligo, and one service per week from Connolly to Belfast and back. NIR has replaced their ageing DMUs with Class 3000 regional railcars built by CAF, which arrived in 2005. IÉ introduced seventeen new suburban railcars in 1993 as the 2600 class (built by Tokyu Car, Japan) for the Kildare 'Arrow' suburban service. Further additions to the fleet were made in 1999 (twenty-seven 2700 class, Alstom built), 2000 (twenty 2800 class, Tokyu Car built) and 2003 (eighty 29000 class, CAF built). When the 29000 class was introduced all Irish railcars were re-branded from 'Arrow' to 'Commuter'. A further thirty-six CAF railcars arrived in 2005, with Rotem's 22000 Class intercity railcars the latest addition.

Rolling stockEdit

Main article: Coaching Stock of Ireland

Iarnrod Eireann's flagship intercity fleet are the Mark 4 trains (built by CAF of Spain in 2005/6). They are formed into 8-car sets, pushed or pulled by a mark 4 Driving Van Trailer (DVT). Each set contains (in order):

  • A GM 201 class locomotive
  • 5 Standard class carriages
  • 1 restaurant carriage
  • 1 'Citygold' (first class) carriage
  • A driving trailer generator van

The Mark IV Trains have blue tinted windows, which help to create a cool journey for the passenger, electronic route maps showing train progress, and electronic seat reservation displays. Citygold customers on the new fleet have the added features of adjustable seating, greater room and comfort, in-seat audio entertainment, and power points for laptops, or recharging PDAs, MP3 players or mobile phones. They are used exclusively on the Dublin to Cork route; operating an hourly service each way.

The Mark IV Trains are capable of speeds of up to 125 mph (Template:Convert/outsep), but are limited to a maximum speed of 100 mph (Template:Convert/outsep) because of the line speed and the speed of the 201 class locomotives.

The second intercity fleet of Irish Rail are the '22000' class intercity railcars. There are 234 '22000' class carriages in total, being formed into the following sets:

  • Ten 6-car sets — Each set will include a 1st Class Carriage and a Dining Carriage. They will be used on key intercity services between Dublin and Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Westport and Tralee.
  • Forty-eight 3-car sets — These will mostly operate in pairs. They will serve lesser-used intercity services and all Dublin to Sligo and Rosslare services.
  • Five 6-car commuter sets — These are high-density layout carriages for busy long distance commuter routes such as Dublin to Portlaoise/Thurles.

Features of the intercity railcar fleet include:

  • Automatic PA and information display systems
  • Electronic seat reservation displays for web bookings,
  • Fully air-conditioned,
  • Internal CCTV system
  • Sleek carriage design
  • Advanced safety features throughout.

Now equipped with the most modern Intercity Fleet in Europe (the new 22000 and Mark IV sets), Iarnród Éireann is now able to provide faster services and greater flexibility in providing these services. As sufficient numbers of the fleet have now come in to service these improvements can now be made. The 2010 Timetable embodies this. While it does not reach the originally anticipated improvements (due to the economic downturn room for improvements is constrained) it still marks a major change in services as outlined below:

  • Dublin - Cork: Journey times remains as is or are extended due to the continuing relaying & upgrading of the entire Cork - Dublin Route. Services remain as is except the Limerick Junction stop is reintroduced to most services providing excellent connections for Limerick, Waterford & Galway from January. Also, due to fewer numbers travelling because of the economic downturn some services will instead be operated by 3 car 22000 sets instead of the full Mark 4 and there is one late evening service removed each way.
  • Dublin - Limerick: hourly service, many more shuttles connecting with Dublin - Cork services at Limerick Junction however slightly fewer direct services.
  • Dublin - Galway: Two hourly all day, including new split & join services with Westport Trains i e. Two 3 Car 22000 will leave Dublin together. They will separate at Athlone with the front set going to Galway and the rear to Westport.
  • Dublin - Waterford: two-hourly all day , Journey time savings of up to 15 minutes on all services including a new fast service from Waterford in the morning, taking only 2 hours, it represents a saving of 35 minutes from before.
  • Dublin - Sligo: two-hourly all day.
  • Dublin - Westport: An additional service due to the spilt & join bringing the number of services up to 4 daily and journey time cuts of up to 17 minutes.
  • Dublin - Tralee: Two direct trains with extra shuttles every two hours connecting with Cork services at Mallow. Due to the connection with the fast Cork Service at 0630 the fastest service from Tralee takes only 3 Hours 40 minutes now.
  • Dublin - Rosslare: existing services until the full introduction of the 22000 fleet.
  • Dublin - Kildare: (commuter service): A very frequent service will be possible with the Kildare route project later in 2010.
  • Dublin - Maynooth/longford: Additional services.
  • Dublin - Dunboyne/Pace: New Commuter line with services to begin in September 2010.
  • Limerick - Galway: This new service which will begin in March 2010 will provide 5 trains a day each way between Limerick & Galway taking just under 2 hours.
  • Limerick - Waterford: A reduction of 1 service daily due to insufficient demand and to allow more time for the continuing relay of the line. While the speed limit has been raised, journey times will not be reduced until the relaying of the line is fully complete. 75% of the line had been relayed by November 2009.
  • DART: Major changes to services. There will now be a new clockface frequent service every 10/15 minutes.

The Dublin to Belfast 'Enterprise' service is operated jointly by IÉ & NIR with rolling stock from De Dietrich, commissioned in 1997. These sets comprise a dining car, first class carriage(s) and driving van trailer (DVT) for push-pull operation. Notable is the omission of a generator van (the DVT does not have its own generator). This requires the GM locos to supply head-end power (HEP) for heating and lighting.

NIR also has a number of refurbished Mark II carriages acquired from the Gatwick Express service and converted to run on the Irish {{#switch:1600

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in) gauge. These are generally referred to as 'the Gatwicks'.
File:Iarnrod Eireann Class 201.jpg

Passenger servicesEdit

Main article: Rail passenger services in Ireland

Some services below usually, but not necessarily always, involve a change of trains. Changing points are shown in bold type. Usually services at different times of day will serve a different subset of the stations shown below. The "stations served" lists all possible stops for any train on a given route. As an example, some services to Limerick do not involve a change at Limerick Junction, and some services to Cork may stop at Limerick Junction, Charleville and Mallow only. With the re-opening of the Western Corridor line it can be seen that Ireland despite its apparent paucity of rail lines in fact has the possibility of having the best railway network in Europe (in terms of journey possibilities between important centres, either directly or with a single change). With an extension of the Western Rail corridor to Sligo and the re-opening of the derelict (but intact) line between Athlone and Mullingar, almost all journeys between important centres could be made by rail.

FreightEdit

The following Freight services operate in Ireland :

  • DFDS chartered Container Liners from Ballina - Waterford Port (Belview)
  • Timber Trains from Ballina to Waterford Port (Belview)
  • Zinc ore from Tara Mines, Navan - Dublin Port (North Wall)
  • International Warehousing and Transport chartered Liner from Ballina - Dublin Port (North Wall) (Started September 2009)

Rail freight has been in a major decline in Ireland for the past 10 years.

  • IÉ closed its container rail freight business on 29 July 2005, saying that the sector had accounted for 10% of its freight business, but 70% of its losses.
  • Container freight levels had dropped to c.35 containers on three trains per day.[1] Yet Iarnród Éireann estimated that a minimum of 18 40-foot containers was needed for a commercially viable trainload. The impact of this will be about 40 more lorries a day, described by Iarnród Éireann as a 'drop in the ocean' when compared to the 10,000 lorries entering Dublin Port every day. Nevertheless, the annual impact of this will shift about 70 million tonne-kilometres to the road network.
  • In July 2006, the Container Gantries at Mallow and Sligo were removed, Limerick’s Gantry yard is now a car park and the bulk of Cork’s freight yard is primed for development.

Major Freight services lost includes

  • Ammonia Trains from Shelton Abbey, Wicklow - Cork (due to closure of fertilizer plant)
  • Bagged Cement Nationwide
  • Beer Kegs Nationwide
  • Bell Liner from Mayo - Waterford
  • Gypsum from Kingscourt - Dublin
  • Bulk Cement from Platin (near Drogheda) and Castlemungret (near Limerick) cement factories to cement silos at Sligo Quay, Athenry, Cabra (Dublin), Cork, Waterford, Tullamore and Belfast

Other losses included: Liners, Fertilisers, Grain, Tar, Scrap Metal, Molasses and Coal. The last bulk cement flow to operate in Ireland (Castlemungret - Waterford) ended in December 2009 along with the Kilmastulla Quarry - Castlemungret Shale traffic, despite making profits in the region of €1.3 million in 2006.

Recent development show a continuing interest in at least limited freight traffic, with an agreement being struck with Coillte to increase timber trains from Ballina to Belview from three to four weekly. This may reflect the failure of the railway to dispose of its surplus Class 201 locomotives made surplus by the retirement of the Mark 3 coach fleet.

Bord na Móna operates an extensive 1,930 km (Template:Convert/mi) narrow gauge railway. This is one of the largest industrial rail networks in Europe and is completely separate from Ireland's passenger rail system operated by Iarnród Éireann. It is used to transport Peat from harvesting plots to processing plants and power stations of the Electricity Supply Board.

Heritage RailwaysEdit

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland based in Whitehead, County Antrim runs preserved steam trains on its own private line and occasionally operates on the main lines all over Ireland. The Irish Traction Group runs preserved diesel locomotives but does not have a private line of its own. It operates on the main line when required. The Downpatrick & County Down Railway is the only self-contained full-size heritage railway in Ireland, though several short narrow gauge lines also exist. Bord na Móna (the Irish Peat Board) operates over 1,600 km (Template:Convert/mi) of {{#switch:36

|3mm=3 mm (0.118 in)
|4mm=4 mm (0.157 in)
|4.5mm=4.5 mm (0.177 in)
|4.8mm=4.8 mm (0.189 in)
|6.5mm=6.5 mm (0.256 in)
|6.53mm=6.53 mm (0.257 in)
|8mm=8 mm (0.315 in)
|8.97mm=8.97 mm (0.353 in)
|9mm=9 mm (0.354 in)
|9.42mm=9.42 mm (0.371 in)
|10.5mm=10.5 mm (0.413 in)
|11.94mm=11.94 mm (0.470 in)
|12mm=12 mm (0.472 in)
|12.7mm=12.7 mm (0.5 in)
|13mm=13 mm (0.512 in)
|13.5mm=13.5 mm (0.531 in)
|14mm=14 mm (0.551 in)
|14.125mm=14.125 mm (0.556 in)
|14.2mm=14.2 mm (0.559 in)
|14.28mm=14.28 mm (0.562 in)
|14.3mm=14.3 mm (0.563 in)
|15.76mm=15.76 mm (0.620 in)[2] lines at locations where peat is commercially cut and processed.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Rail transport in Europede:Schienenverkehr in Irland fr:Transport ferroviaire en Irlande hu:Írország vasúti közlekedése ru:Железнодорожный транспорт Ирландии

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