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especially when the cost of upgrading rail infrastructures on both sides of the sea are taken into account.

  • Irish side: in a first phase, a passenger connection into Dublin's main stations, an intermodal centre, a shuttle terminal and a gauge-changing installation would be enough. Should cost less than €1 billion.

  • British side: HS2 would be built independently of any Irish Sea projects, so only Warrington(or some nearby alternative)-Holyhead would have to be counted. At around 160 km, it could cost as little as €2 billion, but surely no more than twice of that. It would carry some domestic traffic, so Ireland wouldn't have to pay for it all to get the UK into the project.

In short, the tunnel's costs dwarf that of the necessary connected projects.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 02:42:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think to make the tunnel project worthwhile, and to switch Ireland's huge dependence from road to rail, I would want to see the entire Irish rail network (such as it is) upgraded to electrical - and perhaps standardized to European gauge while they are at it.  Dublin's transport infrastructure is under a lot of pressure as it is, so I would want trains to terminate in Belfast, Derry, Sligo, Galway, Shannon, Limerick, Tralee, Cork, Waterford, Wexford etc.  Rail freight has almost died at the moment so I would be interested in the relative costs of rail container traffic compared to shipping etc.  Any rail traffic strategy would have to have  large freight component to be viable.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:02:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the downside of the Steel Interstate strategy in a place the size of Ireland is that the Steel Interstate relies on marshaling time overheads at origin and destination railhead to be offset by running the time-sensitive freight at 160kph, and you just don't gain much time that way in Ireland.

OTOH, if its portside, that means that one time advantage of trucks is offset by doing ship loading/unloading directly from/onto the train.

So a grid of "Steel Interstate" model corridors that all end at a port would seem to be the most promising basic model.

If the the passenger trains are going at least 175kph, its hard to see why they'd have to go faster.

If only the standard gauge turn-outs have to be high speed turn-outs, it seems like it'd be possible to dual-gauge the track in intermediate stretches and switch out to a dedicated standard gauge section for crossing and passing loops and stretches with a larger number of turn-outs per km. Common right rail if the typical standard gauge passing loop is passing to the right.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland is a very open economy with huge import/export volumes.  The point of shifting to rail freight is not to speed transport within Ireland, but Ireland/UK Europe.  Thus the competition comparison is road plus ferry freight to UK/European mainland.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 at 06:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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