Swiss bus crash: Lessons for the Dublin Port Tunnel?

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

It seems that the future design of Swiss road tunnels may be changed based on last month’s tragic bus crash in which 28 people died, including 22 children. The initial cause of the crash at the Tunnel de Geronde, near Sierre, in Switzerland is still unknown. But the fact that the bus impacted the flat face of a lay-by wall at 90 degrees contributed to the severity of the crash.

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Skid Row: A phrase from construction

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Skid Road
Skid Road

Many modern phrases we use today have lost there original meaning and are now used in a different context. One of these is the term ‘skid row’, which usually means a poor dilapidated urban area. This phrase was originally used in the 19th century, in North America, to describe a road constructed from timber and used to remove trees from a forest.

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The Hidden Railway: Irish Peat Bog Railways

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Irish bog railway
Irish bog railway

Irish Rail operate the main passenger and freight railway lines in Ireland. Their network extends to approximately 1900 km. However there is another rail network in Ireland whose network length probably exceeds this total length. This is the narrow gauge railway used to extract peat from Irish bogs. Prior to the recent discovery of oil and gas, peat was Ireland’s only domestic source of fuel. It is also used for horticulture.

The rail network was first developed in the 1950’s and is owned and operated by a semi-state company, Bord na Mona. It is estimated to be the largest private railway in Europe. It is a mixture of gauges of 610mm (2 feet) and 915mm (3 feet) and operates as a number of stand alone networks. These extract peat from numerous individual bogs and transport it to various power stations, factories or depots.

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Irish Rail: Double charging on some routes?

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

New rail fares have been introduced by Irish Rail. Across the network the average rail fare has increased by 6%. But although these fare increases have been approved by the National Transport Authority, there are some strange faults in the fare structure when comparing different trips.

Twice the fare for the same distance travelled. For example a train journey from Sallins to Dublin will cost twice the price of the similar length trip between Maynooth town and Dublin.

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Irish Rail. Do you love your train station?

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

Irish Rail Ticket machine in Sallins
Irish Rail Ticket machine in Sallins

Irish rail have launched a competition which allows travellers to vote for their station by text message for 20 cent. Their question is ‘do you love your station?’. While I like living close to my train station in the Kildare town of Sallins, my honest answer is no I don’t love my station. There are lots of reasons why I feel this way: Read more “Irish Rail. Do you love your train station?”

Road verses rail. Part 2, the case for rail.

By The Helpful Engineer / On / In Infrastructure

In the last post, see here, we looked at the benefits of roads over rail. This leads us to another question, what are the advantages of railways?

The case for travelling by rail.

1. Trains are out of view. With the low density of the rail network, referred to above. It is unusually for most people to actually see or experience a train on a daily basis. In addition to this they run on lines separated from road traffic for safety reasons. It is therefore easier to have romantic notions about trains when compared to the loud and ever present road traffic. For example loud, slow trucks are usually blocking our way when driving or loudly belching out fumes when we are out walking.  But unless you are living within a few hundred meters of a railway track, they are out of slight and mind. Perhaps this is a case of absence makes the heart grow stronger?

Read more “Road verses rail. Part 2, the case for rail.”

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