ENTERPRISE TRAIN PROBLEMS

ENTERPRISESTATION

Enterprise Train at Belfast Central Station http://www.seat61.com

The refurbished Enterprise train was taken off the Belfast to Dublin service owing to safety concerns about its doors. The doors are reported to have opened on two occasions when the cross-border train was still moving.

The first of the newly-refurbished Enterprise fleet went into service on the Belfast to Dublin line in November. The £12.2m upgrade programme included an extensive safety approval process but issues around the doors saw the first train removed from service.

Update: On Wednesday (13th January) Translink said a detailed technical investigation and review of the door mechanisms by its engineering team, specialist door contractors and the train door manufacturer had been carried out and the train was now back in service.

Ian Campbell, General Manager, Engineering with Translink explained: “When these incidents occurred, all the appropriate safety and operational procedures were carried out. We immediately addressed the issue, removed the train from service and reported the event to the relevant safety authorities.  “We would strongly reassure our passengers and the wider public that there was no imminent danger for our customers travelling on board as a result of these two unrelated door faults.”

In light of the door faults, the Railway Safety Commission had banned the trains from operating in the Republic. Translink said it had satisfied the Irish rail authority’s concerns and the upgraded train would be returned into service.

“We will continue to collaborate with the Railway Safety Commission as we work to bring this significant Enterprise train refurbishment programme to fruition which will ultimately provide a much enhanced quality of service to passengers travelling on this important cross border route,” they concluded. The RSC said it had finished a review of evidence submitted by NI Railways and was satisfied that the circumstances which gave rise to the prohibition notice had been remedied.

A news release in September 2015 from the Special EU Programmes Body said the first newly refurbished Enterprise train had entered the ‘testing and commissioning phase’ of Translink NI Railways’ train upgrade programme which has received £12.2 million funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme. The major service overhaul will improve the cross-border rail experience for customers travelling between Belfast and Dublin as well as ensure the long-term reliability of the service for the next 10 years.

The refurbishment programme has been financed through the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with support from the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) in Ireland.

Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said: “The project continues to progress well as we enter this important ‘testing and commissioning’ phase in which this first fully refurbished train will be checked to ensure it complies with all necessary safety regulations and technical specifications. This will include ‘on-track’ testing of important new features such as passenger information systems, seat reservation systems and CCTV, as well as ensuring the reliability of all the train’s management systems.”

“Following successful completion of this important project phase and all necessary safety approvals, the first train can then be introduced into passenger service so that our customers can enjoy an all-new Enterprise journey experience with an emphasis on comfort, service and value. We would like to thank the European Union, Department for Regional Development and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland for essential funding to deliver this project.”

“We would also like to thank our customers for their continued patience and support as we work hard to complete this major rail project. We look forward to welcoming them on board their new Enterprise service and delivering passenger growth on this important route,” said Chris.

Paul Boylan, Programme Manager at the SEUPB which manages the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, said: “Developing cross-border transport infrastructure is a key facet in the INTERREG IVA Programme, which aims to enhance co-operation for a more sustainable cross-border region. The improvements being implemented by the Translink NI Railways train upgrade programme will bring a wide range of social and economic benefits to people living and working along the Belfast – Dublin rail corridor and we look forward to the programme’s successful completion.”

On November 17th the first refurbished Enterprise set made the journey between Belfast Central station and Dublin Connolly, passing through Newry.

MCILVEEN

NI Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA and Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive for Translink chat with customer Edna Murray from Belfast as the newly refurbished Enterprise train left Belfast for Dublin in November

Transport Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “The Northern Ireland Executive has invested significantly in railways and trains over the last decade with 43 new trains at a cost of around £200million in total. This has resulted in a tremendous growth in passenger numbers with a doubling of rail passengers in the last decade. Last year alone nearly 13.5million rail journeys were made in Northern Ireland.”

“I am confident that this major improvement in the Enterprise trains will encourage even more growth in rail passengers along this key strategic rail link.”

Welcoming the launch, (then) Finance Minister Arlene Foster said: “The Enterprise service between Belfast and Dublin provides an important infrastructure link for passengers travelling between the two cities. This delivery of this project, supported under the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme, will deliver social and economic benefits for citizens in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will in turn contribute to economic growth and prosperity.”

Speaking at Belfast Central Station ahead of the train’s departure to Dublin Connolly Station, Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said: “This is great news for our customers. The service looks and feels like a modern new train with the emphasis on comfort, service and value.”

“Customers will first notice the train’s striking modern new look with a stylish purple, red and grey livery. Stepping on board, the transformation is incredible with vibrant, eye-catching new colour schemes, attractive seating with power sockets, plush carpets, new tables and lighting. Once all trains are completed we will also have our new electronic seat reservation displays operating.”

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BIG MUSIC WEEK: TRAIN

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ’s Big Music Week was run in association with Iarnród Éireann, which provided a three carriage ICR train for the musicians and their guests. The 22000 Class “InterCity Railcar” is a diesel multiple unit usually used on commuter routes such as Kildare, Portlaoise and Longford to Dublin and on Irish Rail’s intercity routes except Dublin to Belfast (served by the Enterprise) and peak-time journeys from Dublin to Cork. There are 48 of them and they can seat 190 passengers. They are capable of speeds up to 160 km/h (100 mph).

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

The sets were supplied by Mitsui of Japan in an order totalling approximately €400 million. The fleet was built by a partnership between Hyundai Rotem of South Korea and Tokyu Car Corporation of Japan, who supplied the bogies. The first sets were delivered in March 2007. Two of the 3-car sets, 22010 and 22011, which arrived in July 2007, suffered corrosion damage in transit from South Korea. They were returned to Rotem for repair in October 2008, with a revised delivery date. It was later determined that it was uneconomic to repair them and two replacement units with the same numbers were provided at no cost to Iarnród Éireann.

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

The ICRs are divided into three car sets and six car sets, and have two internal configurations. The first 30 units are all three cars, and are all intended for use on Intercity routes, as are ten of the 15 six car units. The remaining five 6-car sets, plus the 17 three car sets ordered in 2008 are configured for long-range commuter services to and from Dublin. Combinations of two 3-car sets, three 3-car sets, two 6-car sets and a 3-car set + a 6-car set are possible. In case of emergency, they can operate in formations of up to 18 cars.

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train at Connolly Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train waits at Newbridge Station with regular interCity service to Heuston  Photo: © Michael Fisher

RTÉ Music Train waits at Newbridge Station with regular interCity service to Heuston Photo: © Michael Fisher

Features:-

  • Engine: MTU 6H 1800 R83, 12.8 L, 6 cylinder, 483 bhp gross, 386 bhp (288 kW) traction per car.
  • Transmission: Voith T 312 R
  • Top speed: 160 km/h (approx. 100 mph)
  • Body: high quality stainless steel with some corrosion-resistant carbon steel components
  • Automatic PA and information display systems (Supplier: SA Viewcom)
  • Fully air-conditioned (Supplier: Toshiba)
  • Saloon, external view of doors and front-facing CCTV camera and recording system (Supplier: Verint)
  • Catering facilities
  • Individual base seating
  • Fire safety to BS 6853 Cat 1B, automatic fire extinguishing system for engines & fuel tanks
  • All sets feature Irish standard CAWS signalling systems and train radio.
  • The first six 3-car sets fitted with Train Protection and Warning System for operation on Northern Ireland Railways.

    RTÉ Music Train in siding at Carlow Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

    RTÉ Music Train in siding at Carlow Station Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dimensions:-

  • Length: 3-car set, 70 m
  • Width: 2.84 m
  • Height: 4 m
  • Weight: 63 tonne, each car

    Plaque at Carlow Station for Railway Engineer William Dargan Photo: © Michael Fisher

    Plaque at Carlow Station for Railway Engineer William Dargan Photo: © Michael Fisher

Michael Fisher travelled from Connolly Station to Carlow as a guest on the RTÉ Music train and returned courtesy of Iarnród Éireann

RTÉ BIG MUSIC WEEK

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: IE website

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: IE website/Maxwell

Starting on the DART service in Dublin tomorrow morning from Bray to Dublin, the fifth RTÉ Big Music Week will be on the rails from 7:45am. Commuters at Bray will be entertained on the platform by a number of well-known musicians including The Benzini Brothers featuring Liam Ó MaonlaÍ, Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Peter O’Toole;  Luan Parle; Lisa O’Neill; The Lost Brothers and Eleanor McEvoy. Here is the advertisement currently running on RTÉ television:-

The musicians will then board a train to bring them to Connolly Station, where there will be more music live on the John Murray Show with Miriam on RTÉ Radio 1 from 9am. I hope to join the event there to cover it for my blog, travelling on the special train to Newbridge. From there it will be a case of “Follow Me up to Carlow”, where I will return Northwards to write my report and hopefully bring you some photographs.

The Big Music Week in association with Iarnród Éireann features the very best of home-grown musical talent by bringing live performance to audiences in Ireland and all over the world; on radio, on television, on line and on mobile with plenty of opportunity to catch-up on the latest action with RTÉ.ie, RTÉ Ten, RTÉ YouTube and @rte (not forgetting @fishbelfast) on twitter.

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: Maxwell Photography

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week       Photo: Maxwell Photography

This year, the RTÉ Big Music Week Train, consisting of three carriages, will travel to some of Ireland’s best-loved venues and best-travelled stations, bringing performances from Kodaline, Paul Brady, Damien Dempsey, Christy Moore, Lumiere and Julie Feeney and much more to radio listeners across the island. The schedule for the Irish Rail special train is as follows:-

Monday 30th September – Dublin Connolly to Waterford

Stay on the train for the day, join in the music and fun as the train stops at Newbridge and Carlow and ends the day in Waterford.

Tuesday 1st October – Waterford to Killarney

Entertainment and Music on board all the way to Mallow.

Wednesday 2nd October – Killarney to Westport

Entertainment and music all the way plus a stop at Limerick Station to join in the fun at the 2Fm Ryan Tubridy Show onboard.

Thursday 3rd October – Marty in the Morning

Attend a live radio programme (breakfast included!) from Westport Station.

Friday 4th October – Boyle to Dublin Connolly

Final show in Maynooth with Ronan Collins at 12pm.

RTÉ’s Big Music Week will finish on a high note with an All-Star Charity Concert in aid of Barnardos. It will be presented by Kathryn Thomas and feature several headline acts and surprise guests. Finbarr Furey, the Irish chart topper who outsold Avici and Katy Perry after winning RTÉ’s The Hit with The Last Great Love Song, will perform his latest chart topper and other songs from his extensive repertoire. Also on the bill are Sharon Shannon and Paul Walsh from Royseven. Jerry Fish will perform his well-known song True Friends with The Lost Brothers. Other acts include Heathers, Scullion, Robbie Overson and Philip King.

The show will also feature a brand new song written by Brendan Graham, which will be performed by Eimear Quinn, Celine Byrne and others. The new song will be premiered on The Late Late Show on October 4th. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster priced at €25, with all funds going to Barnardos.

ENTERPRISE TRAIN FIRE

Train loco on fire: Photo PSNI Newry & Mourne via facebook

Train loco on fire: Photo PSNI Newry & Mourne via facebook

I have a lot of sympathy for the train passengers whose journey from Belfast to Dublin last night was disrupted by a fire on board a locomotive at the tail end (from what I see in the picture) of the 18:05 Enterprise service from Central station to Connolly. Reports of the incident carried by BBC News and other outlets say there were 114 passengers on board the train when the driver (presumably at the other end) realised there was a problem in the engine compartment. He was forced to bring the train to a halt at the former Goraghwood station in County Armagh, a few miles from Newry.

Goraghwood Station on the GNR Enterprise service: Photo Wilson Adams: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Goraghwood Station GNR Enterprise service: Photo Wilson Adams: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Goraghwood station was closed in 1965. It used to be the stop for the customs check by HM Customs & Excise, although the process was speeded up for train passengers from 1947 when customs checks were added at Great Victoria Street station in Belfast and Amiens Street station in Dublin. A General Order issued by Customs in London in 1923 following partition and the creation of a land boundary noted as follows:-

*Note. ____  There are three Customs Stations on the G.N.R. Main Line in Northern Ireland, viz.: Goraghwood, Portadown and Belfast. Trucks from the Free State for Railway Stations short of Portadown will be cleared at Goraghwood; all others for any stations short of Belfast, at Portadown; and trucks for Belfast, at Belfast. Passengers will be dealt with at Goraghwood or at Portadown, according to which is the first scheduled stop at each train.

A former customs man, Ronald, remembers his time on duty there:-

“The main railway line between Belfast and Dublin passed through the Border Railway Station at Goraghwood in Newry.  The Daily Express Trains, ‘The Enterprise’ stopped at Goraghwood for Customs Clearance, a staff of LPM’s  boarding the trains and obtaining declarations from the passengers, any Revenue payments being called for by the Preventive Officer in attendance. Bars on board the Dublin/Belfast services were sealed after declaration by the Catering Staff. Secondly, the Guinness Supply Train en route from Dublin to Belfast, stopped at Goraghwood every night with its load, which was examined, samples being taken by the Officer i/c for submission to the Government Chemist“. HM-Customs-Waterguard-L Archives 19 NOV 2007 

I wonder did they ever get a chance to sample any of it themselves!

However it was not a customs check that stopped the main rail service between the two cities last night but rather the problem of an engine fire. A few observations about the incident. I have not used the Enterprise service in recent times, preferring instead to go by car on the new motorway. A journey from South Belfast to South Dublin can now be done in under two hours. The train runs eight times daily (Monday to Saturday) with a reduced service on Sundays between the cities but often with stops, which means the journey from city centre to city centre usually takes two hours and ten minutes. The Aircoach service goes from Great Victoria Street (Glengall Street) to O’Connell Street in Dublin in the same time and is generally cheaper, as is the frequent Translink/Bus Éireann express service. So the cost and the road have played a major part in the reduction of passenger numbers on the Enterprise, which were also reduced at the time the viaduct at the Malahide estuary partially collapsed in August 2009 and was closed for three months for repairs.

P1120123

Enterprise Train at Lisburn: Photo © Michael Fisher

My recent contact with the Enterprise has been sightings of one of the trains in various locations. I noticed it going through Adelaide station in Belfast, with black smoke coming from the exhaust and I thought it was not very environmentally friendly. I saw it in Lisburn station heading for Belfast at the time I was going to the Balmoral Show last month and I got a picture of it. A few days ago as I headed on the A1 to Dublin outside Newry, I noticed the Belfast-bound train going across the Craigmore viaduct near the station at Bessbrook. The first thing that came to mind was how dirty the front engine looked and that it was a poor advertisement for what is supposed to be a “flagship service”, according to Translink.

I am not certain how many train units are currently in service. But according to the records, there are nine 201-Class locomotives built by General Motors (1994-5) in use for the Enterprise. Two of them (8208 River Lagan and 8209 River Foyle) are owned by Translink, the other seven belong to Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail). The Wikipedia entry records that the locos have had a chequered service history and that “the authors of Jane’s Train Recognition Guide noted that IÉ had had problems with engine fires and bogie cracks” (Harper Collins, London 2005). Last night’s was not the first such incident.

Translink advised on twitter that there was already a problem with the 16:50 Dublin to Belfast service: “1650 Dublin – Belfast is now 35 minutes late – Will be formed of 4 coaches. 1st class not available & catering is reduced.” When the problem on the 18:05 service to Dublin arose, the company initially advised that “Replacement road transport will be provided between Newry and Dublin Connolly.” But after ensuring that the passengers were led to safety in the opposite end of the train, they were kept waiting until an Iarnród Éireann train arrived on the other track and the passengers were led across a ramp from one train to the other, assisted by the Northern Ireland Transport Minister and local MLA Danny Kennedy and Translink staff. The passengers arrived in Dublin after 1am, nearly five hours late.

Fire on board Enterprise locomotive: Photo: PSNI Newry & Mourne via Facebook

Fire on board Enterprise locomotive: Photo PSNI Newry & Mourne via facebook

At the end of the day, no-one was injured. Mr Kennedy said there would be a full investigation. The loco involved was number 230, River Bandon, and is part of the Iarnród Éireann stock. They are model type JT42HCW, fitted with an EMD 12-710G3B engine of 3200 hp, weigh 112 tonnes and have a maximum speed of 164 km/h (102 mph). The Enterprise locos all operate on a push-pull basis.

NO NORTHERNERS NEED APPLY

Euro 2012 logo

The headline looks appealing: win an InterRail trip for two to Euro 2012. Come on you boys in green! Iarnród Éireann is offering Ireland soccer fans the chance to win a trip to the European football championship, travelling overland from Ireland to Poland. The prize includes tickets for two to Ireland’s three Group games against Croatia, Spain and Italy, courtesy of North Dublin Schoolboys & Schoolgirls League and spending money of €1,000. The winner will be accommodated at a campsite at Poznan. Interested? Then all you have to do is to submit a sample blog post about a journey you have taken or a sporting event you have attended. Looks great. But I always believe in looking at the small print (terms and conditions). It seems that if you are an Ireland soccer fan from the six counties of Northern Ireland, then too bad, you can’t apply! Rule 3: “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland”. So if you are an Ireland fan from Newry, Portadown, Lurgan, Lisburn or Belfast, or perhaps a Derry City supporter following the club in the airtricity League, then sorry, you can’t apply, unless you happen to live in Donegal, Cavan. Monaghan or anywhere else in the Republic. This is a clear case of discrimination, where marketing people have not acknowledged the fact that hundreds of Ireland supporters are resident in some cases a few hundred yards across the border along the railway line between Dublin and Belfast. Yet they are not allowed to enter this competition. If you feel excluded then perhaps you should contact competitions@irishrail.ie and complain. But you need to do so immediately as the closing date for the competition is April 27th. Although I raised this matter with @IrishRail on twitter this morning I have not had any response. Sure I’m only a Northern Ireland resident and of course I would never use Iarnród Éireann or ever think about supporting Ireland as I did at Euro 1988 in Germany……

I can see the Republic of Ireland from here (Co.Tyrone) but I can’t enter an Irish Rail compeition!

UPDATE: As the comments below show, the blog attracted a response within hours from Iarnród Éireann defending the terms and conditions for the competition. The issue was also taken up by other outlets including Slugger and BBC NI News website. After the response from the rail company, the following thought occurred. Their marketing experts in designing a competition for RoI residents ONLY did not take into account natives of counties along the border such as Monaghan who might follow their airtricity premier league team as well as the national side, but who happened to reside across the border eg in Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Middletown or Roslea. I was therefore glad to see that a Monaghan and border region perspective was added by Frank McNally in An Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times.

AN IRISHMAN’S DIARY

Frank McNally in the Irish Times takes up my complaint about an Iarnród Éireann competition which was confined to residents of the Republic of Ireland.

An Irishman’s Diary.

The blog Frank is referring to “No Northerners Need Apply” was published by me on April 16th 2012 and brought an almost immediate riposte from their well-organised PR department. A media person I met recently in Belfast told me he had read the blog and had enjoyed the article, so I will attach it here:

Euro2012 Poland-Ukraine

The headline looks appealing: win an InterRail trip for two to Euro 2012. Come on you boys in green! Iarnród Éireann is offering Ireland soccer fans the chance to win a trip to the European football championship, travelling overland from Ireland to Poland. The prize includes tickets for two to Ireland’s three Group games against Croatia, Spain and Italy, courtesy of North Dublin Schoolboys & Schoolgirls League and spending money of €1,000. The winner will be accommodated at a campsite at Poznan. Interested? Then all you have to do is to submit a sample blog post about a journey you have taken or a sporting event you have attended. Looks great. But I always believe in looking at the small print (terms and conditions). It seems that if you are an Ireland soccer fan from the six counties of Northern Ireland, then too bad, you can’t apply! Rule 3: “Applicants must be 18 years of age or over, and must be resident in the Republic of Ireland”. So if you are an Ireland fan from Newry, Portadown, Lurgan, Lisburn or Belfast, or perhaps a Derry City supporter following the club in the airtricity League, then sorry, you can’t apply, unless you happen to live in Donegal, Cavan. Monaghan or anywhere else in the Republic. This is a clear case of discrimination, where marketing people have not acknowledged the fact that hundreds of Ireland supporters are resident in some cases a few hundred yards across the border along the railway line between Dublin and Belfast. Yet they are not allowed to enter this competition. If you feel excluded then perhaps you should contact competitions@irishrail.ie and complain. But you need to do so immediately as the closing date for the competition is April 27th. Although I raised this matter with @IrishRail on twitter this morning I have not had any response. Sure I’m only a Northern Ireland resident and of course I would never use Iarnród Éireann or ever think about supporting Ireland as I did at Euro 1988 in Germany……

I can see the Republic of Ireland from here (Co.Tyrone) but I can’t enter an Irish Rail compeition!

UPDATE: As the comments below show, the blog attracted a response within hours from Iarnród Éireann defending the terms and conditions for the competition. The issue was also taken up by other outlets including Slugger and BBC NI News website. After the response from the rail company, the following thought occurred. Their marketing experts in designing a competition for RoI residents ONLY did not take into account natives of counties along the border such as Monaghan who might follow their airtricity premier league team as well as the national side, but who happened to reside across the border eg in Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Middletown or Roslea. I was therefore glad to see that a Monaghan and border region perspective was added by Frank McNally in An Irishman’s Diary in The Irish Times.