What is Fine Gael smoking?

Here’s another Fine Gael TD spouting nonsense. Seán Kyne is a TD for Galway West and Mayo South, and he wants the taxpayer to build him a train set.

He favours what is called the Western Rail Corridor, a mad scheme to reopen yet more uneconomic railway track to places that have neither passengers nor cargo to justify the expense. The nutters have already had a service provided from Limerick to Galway, running pretty well alongside the new motorway. Kyne says

With over 380,000 annual passenger journeys the service has far exceeded initial estimates on which the original business case was based.

A business case is, as far as I can see, a way of whiting a sepulchre: coming up with some excuse for spending public money of a boondoggle that would be exposed as such were a proper cost-benefit analysis conducted instead. What Kyne doesn’t tell us is whether the service makes or loses money (and if you can find that information in any of the publications on the websites of CIE or Iarnród Éireann, I’d be glad if you’d let me know) or why the state should provide both buses and railways on the same route.

But Limerick to Galway isn’t mad enough: he wants the ghastly thing extended to Tuam and Sligo, because that would provide “greater transport connectivity in the West”, whatever that means. Is there anything that rail could do that roads could not? Kyne doesn’t say; nor does he identify any traffic that requires rail. He says

I also believe that the way to enhance infrastructure in the West of Ireland is not by developing one [road] at the expense of another [rail].

What Kyne wants instead is that both be developed, and run, at the expense of the taxpayer, when only one of them is needed. Ireland needs to start closing down more railway lines, not opening them up.


7 responses to “What is Fine Gael smoking?

  1. Is this your ‘Vote Trump’ piece?

  2. When the dunleary to Dublin rail was proposed the objectors delayed it for twenty years. The Thatcherites did not agree to the connection of high speed rail to the tunnel.
    The reason why we had such a poor telephone system was that objectors got a law passed in in early 1900s that atrunk line could not be installed until a clear demand had been shown. Thus trunk line were always late and restricted infrastructure until the 1980s

  3. Mrs Thatcher must have been older than she looked, given that the railway line was opened in 1834. bjg

  4. All that should have been done BEFORE the motorways were built. This applies particularly to the Dublin – Kells motorway, where 95% of traffic is commuters. THEY should be served by an automated rail system, instead of just making it easier to drive to the city, then jam up the roads therein. Commuter traffic should be catered for by public transport, leaving the roads for people who need to visit several places during the working day. Delivery drivers, service agents, etc, waste a substantial part of their day tring to find parking spaces, where those spaces are taken up by all-day parkers.

  5. Commuter lines are about the only ones that make sense, I suspect. bjg

  6. A good idea if it was done properly.
    Trains to go with the track are a good idea also .( a service with enough frequency so as one could actually make use of it.)
    Which applies to a large amount of the existing sort of net work.

  7. Doing it properly would require making it pay for itself. Which it won’t. This is just another pork-barrel project, designed to produce voters to support ministers, while providing thrills for those with a romantic attachment to choo-choos (and to taxpayers’ money).


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