InterCity (Iarnród Éireann)
|Opening||1976 (As Mainline. Branded InterCity in 1987)|
|Rolling stock||22000 Class|
|No. of tracks||2-6|
|Track gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)|
|Operating speed||160 km/h (99 mph) maximum|
InterCity is the brand name given to rail services operated by Iarnród Éireann that run between Dublin and other major cities in the Republic of Ireland. InterCity branding is also used in other European countries by unaffiliated organizations.
InterCity services from Dublin operate from two main stations:
- Dublin Heuston - Heuston station is the terminus for services to the south and west of Ireland. Services from Heuston go to Cork, Galway, Waterford, Tralee and Limerick.
- Dublin Connolly - Connolly station is the terminus for services to the east and north-west of Ireland. Services from Connolly go to Sligo and Rosslare Europort. Dublin Connolly is also the terminus of the Dublin to Belfast main line, with services to Belfast Central provided by Enterprise.
Although Dublin is the hub of InterCity services with all "radial routes" terminating there, there are other services which may be considered as InterCity including;
InterCity services are operated using a mixture of locomotive pulled coaching stock and DMUs. In 2006, deliveries began of 67 new Mark 4 coaches, specifically for the flagship Dublin-Cork route, in an order costing approximately €117 million. These are formed into 8 carriage trains, pulled by a 201 class locomotive, and operate an hourly service between Cork and Dublin. The entry into service of the Mark 4 stock allowed the Mark 3 coaching stock to be cascaded to other routes, allowing in turn the withdrawal of the elderly "Cravens" and Mark 2 coaches. In 2007, the first of a planned 183 coaches of the new 22000 Class diesel multiple unit were delivered, of which 150 vehicles will be for InterCity, totalling approximately €400 million. These new trains, which will be in either three or six car formations, will replace the Mark 3 coaches currently in use on the routes between Dublin and Limerick, Galway and Waterford and the 2800 Class and 2900 Class DMUs on the Dublin to Sligo and Dublin to Rosslare services, and on the services that do not terminate in Dublin. The DMU rolling stock will then be transferred to the expanded Commuter services over the next few years. The first 22000 Class train entered service on December 18, 2007 on the service to Sligo. These DMUs now operate all Dublin-Sligo, Dublin-Tralee and Dublin-Limerick services, most Dublin-Westport services and some Dublin-Galway, Dublin-Waterford and Mallow/Cork-Tralee services. As of June 2010 all intercity, and most commuter, routes are operated with 22000 Class units, with the exclusion of the Cork/Belfast-Dublin Service.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|201 Class||diesel locomotive||100||160||32||Dublin-Cork, Dublin-Belfast||1994–1995|
|22000 Class||diesel multiple unit||100||160||41||Cork-Tralee, Dublin-Cork, Galway, Limerick, Rosslare, Sligo, Waterford, Westport||2006–2009|
|Mark 4||Passenger coaches||125||200||67||Dublin-Cork.||2006 -|
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated||Built|
|2600 Class||diesel multiple unit||70||110||8||Cork Commuter Routes||1994|
|2700 Class||diesel multiple unit||75||120||12||Limerick Regional Services||1997–1998|
|2750 Class||diesel multiple unit||75||120||2||Limerick Regional Services||1997–1998|
|2800 Class||diesel multiple unit||75||120||10||Dublin-Rosslare, Dublin Commuter||2000|
|29000 Class||diesel multiple unit||75||120||29||Dublin-Rosslare, Dublin Commuter||2002 - 2005|
Western Rail corridor
The Transport 21 project will see several hundred million euros invested by the Irish Government in improving the railway network. This will see connection of some of the radial lines out of Dublin, which will enable inter-regional services to be operated without travelling through the capital. A major part of this will be the reinstatement of the Western Rail Corridor between Ennis and Claremorris, a route totalling 110 km/68.5 miles.
- Stage 1 - Ennis to Athenry - Completed
- Stage 2 - Athenry to Tuam - Shelved
- Stage 3 - Tuam to Claremorris - Shelved
If stage 3 were completed, the Westport, Galway and Limerick lines from Dublin will be connected, allowing regional InterCity services to be run between these destinations without having to travel via Dublin.
Stage 1 of the project began on November 16, 2007, relaying track between Ennis and Athenry, a distance of approximately 60 km/36 miles.
Iarnród Éireann also maintains an ambition to increase speeds on the Dublin-Cork line. The new Mark 4 coaches are capable speeds of up to 125 mph, but are limited to 100 mph, because of speed restrictions on the track. In order to achieve the desired higher speed, the infrastructure of the line would have to be upgraded.
CIÉ's ambition to increase both service speed and service frequency is limited by capacity issues at Dublin Connolly. The loopline that links Connolly with Dublin Pearse is a two track route that is currently operating at the limit of its capacity, while Connolly is also utilised as the terminus for a number of InterCity and Commuter services. The new Docklands station was built as a means to ease the congestion at Connolly by providing an alternate terminus for Commuter services to Meath. IÉ's significant plan initially involved the rebuilding of Dublin Broadstone to serve as a terminus for Commuter services to the west of the capital. However, in March 2008, the Government decided that the track bed leading from Liffey Junction would be used for an extension to the Luas rather than for heavy rail. To compensate, the transport minister announced that CIÉ would be permitted to obtain planning permission to keep Docklands open permanently as the terminus for Maynooth, Navan and Mullingar services, as well as potential services from Galway. The construction of the Interconnector will enable DART services to be spread over two lines, rather than all of them being routed through Connolly. This will then free up slots at Connolly to allow improvements in the services provided by both InterCity and Enterprise.
The three counties in Ulster that are part of the Republic of Ireland, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, are the only counties with no railway connection at all. The closest railway station to Donegal is Londonderry Waterside in Northern Ireland, while the closure of several of the cross-border lines by the Northern Ireland Government led to Cavan and Monaghan losing their rail services in the 1960s. Iarnród Éireann and the government have both been criticised for not considering a restoration of the railway to Donegal, with Donegal County Council stating their commitment to bringing about a return of the rail network to the county by connecting Letterkenny to both Sligo and Derry, to maximise the "Gateway Status" awarded to the three towns. In May 2008, Conor Murphy, the Minister for Regional Development in the Northern Ireland Executive, announced a study in conjunction with Donegal County Council into the effects of restoring railway services in the north-west, with a view to potentially returning the railway to Donegal. The idea of restoring the railways to the North-West of Ireland has been gathering momentum, with Monaghan County Council deciding to investigate the idea in 2009, while Donegal has floated the idea of involving not only the three Ulster counties south of the border, but also Sligo, which formerly had extensive rail links to counties further north, and Fermanagh and Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
- RTE News: First new trains on Dublin-Sligo route
- Laying of new track begins for Western Rail Corridor
- Dempsey derails ambitious CIÉ plan and opts for new Luas line Irish Times, 06/02/08
- Donegal still fighting the effects of partition - Joe McHugh TD, Donegal Matters, 20/08/08
- Donegal County Council response to "2020 Vision – Sustainable Travel and Transport: Public Consultation Document" - Donegal County Council, 13/05/08
- North West railway study announced - Derry Journal 27/05/08
- Rail Possibility for Monaghan - Monaghan Post, 12/01/09