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Timetable planning is a complex business and our recent public consultation – centred around proposals to increase DART frequency to every 10 minutes and other changes to Connolly routes – illustrated this well.

 

Any change to any service can have a knock-on effect on others.  So an increase in DART frequency of this scale impacts on all Connolly routes, including Northern Commuter, Maynooth/M3 Commuter, Wicklow commuter, Sligo, Rosslare and Belfast Intercity services.

 

In addition, operating frequent stopping service (DART), limited stop service (Commuter) and express services (Intercity and Enterprise) on a two-track network in the Greater Dublin area, and single track railway south of Bray and west of Maynooth, requires very careful planning.

 

Draft schedules are developed by assessment of demand levels and travel and population patterns within available resources with the National Transport Authority, who also approve the initial drafts to go forward for public consultation. 

 

Almost 2,750 customers submitted their feedback in December when we published draft schedules.  The nature of public consultations is that – naturally – customers will take the time to give feedback on issues they have with proposals, rather than if they are in favour of the proposals.  Nonetheless, in this instance the second highest number of comments were supportive of the proposals indicating strong support for the 10-minute frequency.

 

All other major issues raised were assessed and reviewed, and we have detailed below:

  • The top 30 issues raised by customers in the feedback process (representing 85% of all responses)

  • Indicated as ADDRESSED where we were in a position to make alterations to address the issues raised

  • Indicated as UNCHANGED where this was not possible, and the reasons for this.

  • Indicated as ALTERNATIVE where the issue was addressed in a different manner to that detailed in feedback.

 

As customers will know, the introduction of the 10-minute frequency, and other changes to the Connolly route schedules, have been deferred due to industrial relations issues.

 

However, when the changes are implemented, it will be with changes from the draft in direct response to feedback from customers, as outlined below.

Issue No. Consultation Topic Comments Received Percentage Of Total Comments
1 Issues with Northern Line Timetable 278 11.8%
ADDRESSED: A number of Services have had running times reduced from the draft to improve end to end Journey Time (2-3 minute reduction). 17:23 Pearse/Dundalk now to serve Donabate. 15:23 Pearse/Drogheda deferred to 15:33 to serve school traffic from Balbriggan. 23:23 Pearse/Drogheda service deferred to 23:35. Proposed 17:20 Bray/Drogheda (Currently 16:50 from Bray) now altered to depart Bray at 17:00.
2 Supportive of Timetable 248 10.5%
3 Requests to add Donabate to 17:23 Pearse/Dundalk service 157 6.7%
ADDRESSED: 17:23 Pearse/Dundalk will serve Donabate when timetable change implemented
4 More DARTs to and from Greystones 152 6.4%
UNCHANGED: Due to the single line operation between Bray & Greystones coupled with the 10 minute journey time between these locations, 2 trains per hour is the maximum service level which can be achieved in the absence of additional infrastructure.
5 Issue with deferral of 16:50 Bray/Drogheda to 17:20 87 3.7%
ADDRESSED: Proposed 17:20 Bray/Drogheda (Currently 16:50 from Bray) will be altered to depart Bray at 17:00.
6 Requests to stop Northern Commuter services at Howth Jn, Clongriffin & Portmarnock 80 3.4%
ALTERNATIVE: These stations see an overall increase in service level by way of the Increased DART Frequency in order to extend some benefits to the Northern Line. All Northern Line services will operate non stop between Malahide & Connolly which will create additional capacity on Northern Line services. 
7 Issues with changes to Rosslare line timetable 73 3.1%
ADDRESSED:Morning Rosslare services will be altered to achieve current AM arrivals in the City Centre
Most services will seeing an extension in journey time - this issue is unavoidable as it is a result of operating additional DART services which impacts on Journey time.
8 Issues with changes to the Sligo line timetable 70 3.0%
ADDRESSED: Alterations have been applied to the Draft timetable in particular retaining post 16:00 Departure
The current Sligo timetable pattern could not be retained due to the implementation of the 10 min DART Frequency and also due to the implementation of additional speed restrictions on the route associated with sighting issues at level crossings as dictated by international Safety Standards.
9 Issues with proposed time of new 15:35 Connolly/Sligo service 65 2.8%
ADDRESSED: This departure time will be deferred to 16:10 in response to customer feedback. This train will operate as a 7 car Intercity railcar to meet demand.
10 Requests to increase service level on the Maynooth Line 61 2.6%
UNCHANGED: All available commuter rolling stock is fully utilised between the Drogheda & Maynooth Commuter routes
11 Issues with changes to the Enterprise services 60 2.5%
ADDRESSED: Significant Alterations have now been applied to the Draft to closely align with the current timetable.
12 Requests to increase Carriage Capacity on DART services 54 2.3%
ADDRESSED: There will be a significant increase in overall capacity on the DART Network by way of this timetable implementation currently 106 vehicles are in service during the AM Peak this will increase to 120 vehicles for the new timetable and an increase from 4 to 6 services per hour.
13 Requests to increase service level on the Northern Line 54 2.3%
ADDRESSED: Additional AM Peak service will be added to the morning service at 07:55 ex Dundalk. Additional journey opportunities to and from Dundalk will be added to the timetable.
UNCHANGED: All available commuter rolling stock is fully utilised between the Drogheda & Maynooth Commuter routes
14 Issues with change of 17:13 Pearse/Dundalk to 17:23 48 2.0%
UNCHANGED: This inward journey will arrive into Pearse Train yard at 17:09 due to altered train schedules around the DART 10 minute frequency and as a result 17:23 will be the earliest possible opportunity to return this service from Pearse Station. 
15 Issues with changes to morning services to Greystones 47 2.0%
ADDRESSED: Morning services from Greystones will be advanced by 10 minutes from start of service to approx 09:30 in response to Public Consultation on this issue.
16 Issues with change of 15:43 Pearse/Drogheda to 15:23 44 1.9%
ADDRESSED: Train departure will be deferred to 15:33 to serve school traffic.
17 Concern with Traffic build up due to DART Frequency and level crossing gate closures. 43 1.8%
UNCHANGED: This is an unavoidable consequence of service level increase which will see an increase in down time to road traffic of approx 20%.
ADDRESSED: 07:08 Dundalk/Bray will terminate at Pearse reducing traffic levels through the crossings below levels operated in 2007. S&E Department are implementing software upgrades to decrease downtime of gates along the DART Network.
18 Requests for improved journey times on Dublin/Belfast & Northern Commuter 41 1.7%
UNCHANGED: This is an unavoidable consequence of service level increases on the DART Network whereby surrounding services have seen some slight Journey Time increases
UNCHANGED: Alterations have been applied to the Draft timetable which will reduce this impact however journey time extensions are unavoidable.
19 Requests for increased weekend service level to Greystones 39 1.7%
UNCHANGED: This would incur significant driving and operating costs which are not currently deliverable in this timetable revision.
20 Requests for increased carriage capacity on the Northern Commuter Line 34 1.4%
UNCHANGED: All available commuter rolling stock is fully utilised between the Drogheda & Maynooth Commuter routes
ADDRESSED: Additional AM Peak service has been added to the morning service at 07:55 ex Dundalk
21 Issue with 16:50 Connolly/Belfast retimed to 17:10 34 1.4%
ADDRESSED: Train will now depart as today at 16:50
22 Issues with changes to the Maynooth Line Timetable 33 1.4%
UNCHANGED: The current Maynooth timetable pattern could not be retained due to the implementation of the 10 min DART Frequency and also due to the implementation of additional speed restrictions on the route associated with sighting issues at level crossings as dictated by International Safety Standards. 
The proposed Maynooth timetable is now a more regular interval pattern and an equivalent number of comments were in agreement with changes.
23 Requests for increased carriage capacity on the Maynooth Commuter Line 28 1.2%
UNCHANGED: All available commuter rolling stock is fully utilised between the Drogheda & Maynooth Commuter routes
24 Requests for later service to Longford post 19:15 Connolly/Sligo 28 1.2%
UNCHANGED: This would incur additional driving and operating costs which are not currently deliverable in this timetable revision.
25 Issue with Northern Commuter trains serving DART Stations 27 1.1%
UNCHANGED: Northern Commuter Trains serve Malahide as an interchange point for DART services
ADDRESSED: Dart stations of Howth Jn, Clongriffin & Portmarnock have now been removed from Northern Commuter services (except Sundays).
26 Requests for increased Sunday Timetable Northern Commuter Line 26 1.1%
UNCHANGED: This would incur additional driving and operating costs which are not currently deliverable in this timetable revision.
 
27 Requests for increased Service Level on the Rosslare Line 23 1.0%
UNCHANGED: This would incur additional driving and operating costs which are not currently deliverable in this timetable revision.
28 Requests for late night DARTS all year round 23 1.0%
UNCHANGED: The DART Network is the most heavily used section of the Rail Network with absolute minimum times available for Track & OHLE Maintenance any reduction in these availability times for track Maintenance would leave inadequate time for essential maintenance of the Infrastructure.
29 Requests for earlier DART on Sundays 22 0.9%
UNCHANGED: The DART Network is the most heavily used section of the Rail Network with absolute minimum times available for Track & OHLE Maintenance any reduction in these availability times for track Maintenance would leave inadequate time for essential maintenance of the Infrastructure.
30 Requests for more Northern Line services to Operate South of Pearse 22 0.9%
UNCHANGED: The implementation of 10 minute DART provides greater interchange opportunities and capacity for passengers travelling south of Pearse Station. Bray station does not have the capacity to accommodate additional services coupled with the increase in DART services. This option would also further impact on level crossings on the DART Line.

 

 

3 Comments

2016-06-03 at 4:02pm

Tom says:

What about the issue about later maynooth trains on a Sunday evening? 21.00hrs in this day and age is ridiculous.

2016-06-03 at 8:33am

John Mills says:

The proposed ten minute interval DART remains impractical and the minor changes outlined above do not address this core issue. The impact on Belfast, Sligo, Rosslare, northern line commuter, Maynooth commuter and the proposed services through the Phoenix park tunnel is unacceptable. Increasing the accommodation on DART trains is the way to address the modest upturn in DART usage which remains well below previous levels.

High frequency DART needs additional infrastructure, forcing other trains including so-called expresses to closely follow a 20 mph DART is a nonsense and will cause longer distance passengers to flee to alternative modes.

The proposed timetable remains as impractical as an enhanced frequency regular interval frequency between Bray and Greystones.

2016-06-03 at 3:22pm

anthony Gray says:

Why and what basis has it been determined that a 50% increase in off peak DART frequency is a) necessary and b) trumps the interest of all other service users, most of whom are paying significantly higher fares than the average DART user ?

Have you validated that the existing infrastructure can support this timetable, in particular the highly constrained track layout at Malahide ? Are the reduced turn-rounds are Greystones practical ?

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