Rail Users Ireland

Rail Users Ireland (previously Platform 11) is a rail transport pressure group in Ireland whose agenda is centred on the idea that there is an economic case for expanding rail transport in Ireland through better utilisation of existing infrastructure with only justified expansion of existing routes. Through press releases, lobbying and leafleting they have promoted the DART Underground, a proposal to build a tunnel south of the Liffey to link up Dublin's Heuston Station with the existing DART and Luas lines. The group is a member of the European Passengers Federation a European level representative body for rail users which shares the same outlook in terms of sustainable transport provision and improving standards on public transport.

The Rail Users Ireland organisation


Platform 11 was founded in January 2003 at a public meeting held in Dublin


Although slighted by opponents as favouring "Palerail", a reference to their theory that higher ridership Dublin services should be expedited, some of the principals actually hail from areas such as Clonmel and Templemore, previous committee members have hailed from Limerick and Sligo and claim more experience of the more rural parts of the network than those who actually live there.

Areas of concern

As well as making the case for expanded commuter services in the heavily urbanised Greater Dublin Area, the group advocates suburban rail for Galway and Limerick if combined with a focused planning environment such as the Cork LUTS (Land Use and Transportation Study). They also advocate bus services connecting to railheads where rail is not feasible. They also support direct rather than connecting services to Clonmel.

Local Partners

Recently Rail Users Ireland have been assisting regional groups. Groups currently affiliated with it are Newbridge Rail Group and Kildare Rail Users' Group. It is expected further local groups representing the Maynooth line as well as others will be formed. Rail Users Ireland also works with groups such as DART for Lucan in the promotion of new services and required infrastructure investment.


DART Underground

Main article: DART Underground

The DART Underground is a proposed East-West railway tunnel under the city centre of Dublin. The tunnel as proposed by Iarnród Éireann would provide stations at Heuston (linking with the Kildare Line), High Street, St Stephens Green (linking with the Green Luas line and the Airport Metro), Pearse (linking with a DART service from Greystones to Maynooth) and Spencer Dock (continuing on to Drogheda and linking with the Red line Luas). On 22 September 2015, it was announced that the project had been cancelled in favour of a simpler alternative.

Dublin Metro Project

The Railway Procurement Agency wishes to proceed with a plan to operate a metro from Dublin International Airport to Dublin City Centre. While behind the metro concept in principle, Rail Users Ireland has expressed concerns that the metro plan as currently released offers insufficient interconnections with other parts of the rail network, with few opportunities for "one-change" journeys from various parts of Dublin. They are also concerned that building the metro to standard gauge rather than Irish gauge would limit the scope of interoperability with DART. The RPA has proposed removing the extensions of the line to Swords and to St. Stephen's Green to reduce the cost of the project, terminating instead at the Airport and at O'Connell Street.


In its initial period of planning and operation, Platform 11 raised doubts about the RPA's assertion that 40-metre trams were not necessary on the line to Tallaght, the red line. The trams on this line are now experiencing extremely high load factors. Following what was at times a quite heated debate played out in the media notably on Newstalk 106, a Dublin radio station and despite claims from the Railway Procurement Agency that there was no need for 40-metre trams on the red line, the Railway Procurement Agency have now ordered the 10-metre sections to bring all 30-metre trams to 40-metre length as well as to commence work on the depot at Red Cow to accommodate the enlarged fleet.

Unitary Transit Authorities

While being a rail lobby group, what Rail Users Ireland admires most in other transit systems such as Munich's Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund and the Toronto Transit Commission is the integration rather than competition of various transport modes such as subway/metro, heavy rail, light rail and bus. Many of their members wish to see Dublin and Cork have an integrated system of routes to encourage seamless door-to-door public transport journeys and for easy to use transit maps and payment schemes to be available for residents and visitors to be able to access all these modes.

Urban Planning

Rail Users Ireland members tend to believe in focused planning strategies which place public transport as a primary determinant of development and which discourage car-dependent sprawl and one-off housing.

Rail Freight

Rail freight is viewed sceptically by the group given the low distances and tonnages involved in most rail freight operations in Ireland and the poor rail connectivity of many Irish seaports. They tend to favour diesel or electric multiple unit vehicles solely for passengers rather than dual-use locomotives. Critics have claimed this demonstrates a "Rail for rail's sake" attitude that ignores the role rail transport plays in addressing environmental and other broader issues. That being said, our lack of knowledge in the area does not permit us to comment further on the subject of railfreight and we will concentrate our efforts on DART & LUAS matters.

Transport 21

Rail Users Ireland is compiling a list of details about each project in Transport 21. They hope to have the most comprehensive database on the projects available. This will allow them to closely monitor all projects on a value for money basis with cost over runs and projects delays being highlighted to the appropriate authorities.


Opposition to the Western Rail Corridor

Railway enthusiasts and rail transportation advocates were surprised at the idea of a rail pressure group opposing any rail project. Rail Users Ireland took the view that it should only support projects they deemed viable and that other projects were more likely to hurt rather than help the cause of rail transport in Ireland. The Western Rail Corridor had very well organised support from people and politicians in the Mayo, Galway and Clare areas and has a considerable political profile in the West of Ireland, albeit with no meaningful follow-through such as local council planning taking any account of the proposal. Supporters of this project were angered that Rail Users Ireland opposed the reopening of this track on cost grounds, and viewed the language used by Platform 11 as patronising and emotive.

Adversarial Approach

Rail Users Ireland are very critical of Irish Rail, the RPA (rail procurement agency) and the Irish Government, within the context of service provision, implementation of new projects and unconstructive interference in the planning and development of rail transport based transport projects.

Policy Changes

Rail Users Ireland has changed policy positions dramatically since its formation in 2003 when it supported the Western Rail Corridor, opposed the Interconnector project and attacked Irish Rail for concentrating development resources in the Pale. It now claims to favour the sections of the Western Railway Corridor from Ennis to Tuam which are about to be rebuilt.


Since 2005 the committee membership including a group photograph has been published on their web site. All posts made by a committee member on the Rail Users Ireland message board are accompanied by a small photograph. The committee holds regular meetings to develop policy and includes membership in the development of any policy through discussion. An Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held typically in May or June where committee members are elected in an open fashion by the membership governed by a constitution. The AGM also includes invited speakers, in the case of 2006, Mr Tom O'Reilly Transport Planning Manager with the Railway Procurement Agency.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 7/30/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.