The Anonymous Widower

Does Dublin Have A Gauge Problem?

Dublin’s Rail Systems

Dublin has three rail systems.

Luas

The Luas is Dublin’s modern tram and before the end of the year, will have two lines.

They will cross conveniently in the City Centre.

The gauge is standard gauge and all services are powered by 750 VDC overhead electrification

DART

The DART is Dublin’s commuter railway.

The gauge is Irish gauge and all services are powered by 1500 VDC overhead electrification.

Irish National Rail System

Long-distance services come into the two main stations; Connolly and Heuston.

The gauge is Irish gauge and all services are diesel-powered.

The two main stations are connected by the Green Line of the Luas.

Summing Up

Dublin seems to have drawn a short straw with tracks of two different gauges and two different electrification systems.

At least both electrification are DC overhead systems, so it wouldn’t be too difficult for a tram to work on both systems.

Tram-Trains On Dublin’s Rail System

If you look at cities and towns around the world, which have both tram and heavy rail systems, there is an increasing trend to use a common rail vehicle called a tram-train.

The German city of Karlsruhe has an extensive tram-train network and the UK is running a trial in Sheffield using a Class 399 tram-train.

On my trip to Dublin, I took the local suburban train from Heuston station to Kildate to see old friends.

Looking at the layout of Heuston station, it would be fairly easy create a connection between the Red Line of the Luas and the lines out of Heuston station.

It would be slightly more difficult at Connolly station, but not impossible.

In an ideal world, you could imagine a tram-train arriving at Heuston station taking to the Red Line and then travewlling on a service out of Connolly station.

It’s almost as it the route of the Red Line was chosen to9 make this possible.

But there is one major problem. Dublin’s trams are a different gauge to their heavy rail lines.

New Trains On The DART

The DART trains are not all that new and are only a few miles per hour faster than the Luas trams.

This is said in a section called Future Fleet in the Wikipedia entry for the DART.

In October 2008, Iarnród Éireann announced plans for a massive expansion of the DART fleet, with a €900 million order for a total of 432 individual EMU cars for delivery between 2011–2012. Due to the economic downturn this delivery was put on hold.

Would it be more affordable to buy off-the-shelf standard gauge trains, rather than special ones built to the Irish gauge?

I also suspect that if the DART lines were standard gauge, then it might be possible to use the same Citadis trams as on the Luas.

On the other hand there are Citadis trams built for Moscow that have the five foot Russian gauge. So could they be widened the extra three inches?

New Lines On The DART

This is said in a section called Future in the Wikipedia entry for the DART.

Plans have been laid out to expand the DART network beyond the coastal main line and provide service to the north and west of the city. Part of this expansion was to consist of a purpose built tunnel linking the Docklands Station at Spencer Dock in the city’s quays and Heuston Station This tunnel, termed DART Underground, included plans for services from Celbridge/Hazelhatch to the Docklands via St. Stephen’s Green. To accommodate this change, the plans called for the existing line to be realigned to run from Greystones in the south to Maynooth with the electrification of the Connolly to Maynooth line. An interchange at Pearse Street was to connect the proposed lines. The DART Underground project was however, put on indefinite hold in September 2015. The plans for expanded services remain in place[citation needed] and are being redesigned pending the release of funding.

New lines will need more trains.

Commonsense says that Dublin will have a comprehensive plan.

Conclusion

There are various ways to organise a particular number of trains for an efficient service.

 

December 4, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , ,

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