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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
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|An Iarnrod Éireann DMU Class 22000 at Colbert Station, Limerick|
|Major operators||Iarnrod Éireann & NIR|
|Total||1,870 km (1,160 mi)|
|Irish Gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in)|
A major infrastructure plan for the Republic of Ireland, Transport 21, was announced by the Minister of Transport on 1 November 2005, to include heavy rail, light rail and metro projects in the period to 2015.
The accompanying map of the current railway network shows lines that are fully operational, lines carrying freight only traffic, and lines which have been "mothballed" (i.e. closed to traffic but potentially easily re-openable). Some airports are indicated but none is rail-connected although Kerry Airport and Belfast City Airport are within walking distance of a railway station. Both the City of Derry Airport and Belfast International (Aldergrove) are near railway lines but not connected. Ports are marked, though few remain rail-connected. Larne Harbour is one port still connected.
The main track gauge is 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge, which was mandated by the Railway Regulation (Gauge) Act 1846. The only other countries which currently use this unusual gauge are Australia and Brazil, both of which have far more extensive trackage using other gauges.
Several narrow gauge railways were also built, usually to a gauge of 914 mm (3 ft) but most are now closed.
The first railway in Ireland opened in 1834. At its peak in 1920, Ireland had 5,600 km (3,480 mi) of railway, now only about one third of this remains. A large area around the border area has no rail service.
Diesel traction is the sole form of motive power in both the IÉ and NIR networks, apart from the electrified Howth/Malahide-Greystones (DART) suburban route in Dublin. Apart from prototypes and a small number of shunting locomotives, the first major dieselisation programme in CIÉ commenced in the early 1950s with orders for ninety-four locomotives of two sizes (A and C classes) from Metropolitan-Vickers which were delivered from 1955, with a further twelve (B class) locomotives from Sulzer in the late 1950s.
Following poor reliability experience with the first generation diesel locomotives, in the 1960s a second dieselisation programme was undertaken with the introduction of sixty-four locomotives in three classes (121, 141 and 181) built by General Motors, of the United States. This programme, together with line closures, enabled CIÉ to eliminate steam traction in 1963. In parallel, NIR acquired three locomotives from Hunslet, of England, for Dublin-Belfast services. The Metropolitan-Vickers locomotives were re-engined by CIÉ in the early 1970s with General Motors engines.
The third generation of diesel traction in Ireland was the acquisition of eighteen locomotives from General Motors of 2475 h.p. output, designated the 071 class, in 1976. This marked a significant improvement in the traction power available to CIÉ and enabled the acceleration of express passenger services. NIR subsequently purchased three similar locomotives for Dublin-Belfast services, which was the first alignment of traction policies by CIÉ and NIR.
A fourth generation of diesels took the form of thirty-four locomotives, again from General Motors, which arrived in the early 1990s. This was a joint order by IÉ and NIR, with thirty-two locos for the former and two for the latter. They were again supplied by General Motors Electro-Motive Division. IÉ designated their locomotives the GM 201 class; numbered 201 to 234 (the NIR locos were later prefixed with an 8). These locomotives are the most powerful diesels to run in Ireland, and are of 3200 horsepower (2.5 MW), which enabled further acceleration of express services. The NIR locos, although shipped in NIR livery, were repainted in 'Enterprise' livery, as were two of the IÉ locos.
The 071 class are now used on freight services. NIR's three similar locomotives are numbered 8111, 8112 and 8113. There is seldom more than one of these serviceable at a time. NIR regularly lends these locomotives to IE.
NIR and IÉ both run suburban services using diesel multiple units (DMUs) – these are termed railcars in Ireland (see rail terminology). IÉ DMUs also operate some intercity services (including services between Rosslare Europort and Limerick Junction/Dublin Connolly and Dublin/Sligo, and one service per week from Connolly to Belfast and back. NIR has replaced their ageing DMUs with Class 3000 regional railcars built by CAF, which arrived in 2005. IÉ introduced seventeen new suburban railcars in 1993 as the 2600 class (built by Tokyu Car, Japan) for the Kildare 'Arrow' suburban service. Further additions to the fleet were made in 1999 (twenty-seven 2700 class, Alstom built), 2000 (twenty 2800 class, Tokyu Car built) and 2003 (eighty 29000 class, CAF built). When the 29000 class was introduced all Irish railcars were re-branded from 'Arrow' to 'Commuter'. A further thirty-six CAF railcars arrived in 2005, with Rotem's 22000 Class intercity railcars the latest addition.
Iarnrod Eireann's flagship intercity fleet are the Mark 4 trains (built by CAF of Spain in 2005/6). They are formed into 8-car sets, pushed or pulled by a mark 4 Driving Van Trailer (DVT). Each set contains (in order):
The Mark IV Trains have blue tinted windows, which help to create a cool journey for the passenger, electronic route maps showing train progress, and electronic seat reservation displays. Citygold customers on the new fleet have the added features of adjustable seating, greater room and comfort, in-seat audio entertainment, and power points for laptops, or recharging PDAs, MP3 players or mobile phones. They are used exclusively on the Dublin to Cork route; operating an hourly service each way.
The Mark IV Trains are capable of speeds of up to 125 mph (201 km/h), but are limited to a maximum speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) because of the line speed and the speed of the 201 class locomotives.
The second intercity fleet of Irish Rail are the '22000' class intercity railcars. There are 234 '22000' class carriages in total, being formed into the following sets:
Features of the intercity railcar fleet include:
Now equipped with the most modern Intercity Fleet in Europe (the new 22000 and Mark IV sets), Iarnród Éireann is now able to provide faster services and greater flexibility in providing these services. As sufficient numbers of the fleet have now come in to service these improvements can now be made. The 2010 Timetable embodies this. While it does not reach the originally anticipated improvements (due to the economic downturn room for improvements is constrained) it still marks a major change in services as outlined below:
The Dublin to Belfast 'Enterprise' service is operated jointly by IÉ & NIR with rolling stock from De Dietrich, commissioned in 1997. These sets comprise a dining car, first class carriage(s) and driving van trailer (DVT) for push-pull operation. Notable is the omission of a generator van (the DVT does not have its own generator). This requires the GM locos to supply head-end power (HEP) for heating and lighting.
NIR also has a number of refurbished Mark II carriages acquired from the Gatwick Express service and converted to run on the Irish 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge. These are generally referred to as 'the Gatwicks'.
Some services below usually, but not necessarily always, involve a change of trains. Changing points are shown in bold type. Usually services at different times of day will serve a different subset of the stations shown below. The "stations served" lists all possible stops for any train on a given route. As an example, some services to Limerick do not involve a change at Limerick Junction, and some services to Cork may stop at Limerick Junction, Charleville and Mallow only. With the re-opening of the Western Corridor line it can be seen that Ireland despite its apparent paucity of rail lines in fact has the possibility of having the best railway network in Europe (in terms of journey possibilities between important centres, either directly or with a single change). With an extension of the Western Rail corridor to Sligo and the re-opening of the derelict (but intact) line between Athlone and Mullingar, almost all journeys between important centres could be made by rail.
This was known as the 'Premier Line' of the Great Southern and Western Railway (GS&WR), being one of the longest routes in the country (272 km or 170 miles), built to a high standard and connecting to Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Kerry as well as to Cork. These other destinations all have their own services, although connections are offered to/from the Cork service at Limerick Junction (for Limerick) and Mallow (for Kerry).
As of 2010 the line is getting a major upgrade. There are possessions of most sections of the line every night to carry out relaying. There is also major disruption & cancellations many weekends. All relaying is using a much heavier rail to give a much smoother ride on trains. The new track at 60 kg, is the same that is used on the TGV in France. As the upgrading continues there are many speed restrictions which is seriously affecting puncuality of trains. However it is hoped when the upgrading is finished to provide a much faster & comfortable journey for customers.
This service follows the Cork route as far as Limerick Junction. Limerick services leave the main line via a direct curve built in 1967, onto part of the former Waterford and Limerick Railway (W&LR). The former two hourly timetable operated by 22000 Class railcars was cut back in November 2009 when the number of direct trains between Dublin and Limerick was reduced to just three in each direction. The remaining Dublin-Limerick services involve a change at 'the Junction' from a Dublin-Cork or Dublin-Tralee service onto a local train for the remaining 30 minutes of the journey.
The present route, built by the GS&WR in competition with the MGWR, leaves the Cork main line just after Portarlington. The River Shannon is crossed at Athlone. Athenry, the last station before Galway, became a junction once again in 2010 with the reopening of the line to Limerick and will do so again if the planned reopening of the line to Tuam proceeds in accordance with Transport 21. In February 2011 planning permission was obtained for a station at Oranmore but since a timetable is not yet published it is unclear whether any intercity services will stop there.
All services are operated by 22000 railcars.
This relatively indirect route runs along what is in essence a branch line connected to the Cork–Dublin mainline at Mallow. Trains run to/from the south of Tralee. From the January 2007 Timetable there are now a record nine trains in each direction a day between Mallow and Tralee, up from eight trains each way in the previous timetable, including an early morning commuter service between Killarney and Tralee. All services are operated by 22000 railcars, with the exception of the very early morning service from Tralee to Cork and some Sunday services (From Tralee to Cork via Mallow) which are operated by a 2 carriage 2600 commuter set.
Since Kilkenny is a stub station, reversal is necessary. Non Passenger trains such as the DFDS Freight train from Ballina - Waterford avoid Kilkenny by using Lavistown loop which joins both lines going into Kilkenny. All direct services are operated by 22000 railcars. There is a service every 2 hours.
This is a three times daily service with two trains departing in the morning and one in the evening. The service is run by IE 22000 Class.
The Limerick–Waterford route is the only true non-radial (from Dublin) route still open in Ireland that is not a branch line. The route was commenced in 1848 by the Waterford & Limerick Railway and finished in 1854.
Current timetabling requires passengers travelling from Limerick to Waterford to take two trains, transferring at Limerick Junction. As of May 2011 there are three services from Monday to Saturday between Waterford and Limerick Junction (departing 0640, 1140, 1640) and the same number returning (0855, 1355, 1850), with no service on Sundays. Services are operated by a single 2700 class diesel railcar set, and while stated line speed is 50 mph the service is operated to a timetable reflecting 40 mph limits. Delays between the Limerick and Waterford section services can be lengthy resulting in end-to-end journey times between the cities of 2.5 hours on a journey of 76.5 track miles.
This service commenced 30 March 2010 with the reopening of the Ennis - Athenry Line. Direct trains now travel from Limerick - Galway. The Ennis Commuter services have been subsumed into these. There are also reopened stations at Gort, Ardrahan and Craughwell between Athenry and Ennis with Sixmilebridge reopened between Limerick and Ennis. All of the new stations are unstaffed. Gort has 2 platforms with lifts, bridges, ticket machines and a loop while Sixmilebridge, Ardrahan & Craughwell have just one platform each. In Gort the signal cabin has been restored and relocated and there is a small depot for permanent way crew. This reopening is Phase One of the reopening of the Western Rail Corridor. It involves the relaying of 58 km of track, rebuilding bridges, installation of signalling systems, level crossing upgrades and building the stations. The journey time between Limerick and Galway is just under 2 hours and there are 5 trains each way daily. The service is provided by two sets of 2700 railcars, one is from better utilisation of the existing Limerick - Ennis set and the other comes from the Cork - Tralee line, as it was replaced by a 22000 Railcar in May 2009. It is a long term objective to have three 3-car 22000 Class railcars to operate the line.
This line is subject to many speed restrictions due to the need to replace several old sections of track. Stations served from Limerick Colbert are Castleconnell, Birdhill, Nenagh, Cloughjordan and Roscrea, terminating at Ballybrophy. The line branches from the Waterford line just outside Limerick at Killonan Junction. All trains on this line connect with Dublin trains at Ballybrophy. Current services on the line consist of two return passenger trains a day from Limerick. Following a campaign by The Nenagh Rail Partnership founded by local politicians and community representatives and assisted by the Internet news group Irish Railway News, a market research survey was funded by local Government. The market research was carried out in the summer of 2005 and showed there existed a market for improved services on the line. As a result of this study IÉ has committed to allocating additional rolling stock to the line as part of its ongoing fleet replacement programme. In October 2007, following a meeting between Iarnród Éireann management and The Nenagh Rail Partnership, it was confirmed that the new commuter service will be introduced between Nenagh and Limerick on 1 September 2008. This was launched as planned on 1 September 2008.
Closure of Ballybrophy-Roscrea-Nenagh-Limerick line proposed
A January 2012 national newspaper article suggested that Irish Rail is expected to seek permission in the near future from the National Transport Authority to close the line. However the announcement on 20 February 2012 of an enhanced timetable for the line means that a decision to close has been deferred pending the outcome of the service upgrade.
There was a single service each-way on the Waterford-Rosslare stretch, operated by 2700 railcars taking just over 1 hour.
The service closed for passenger services on the 18th of September 2010. Replacement transport consists of a revised schedule and routeings on the existing Bus Éireann route 370. Buses on the route are branded "370 Connect".
The line is still open for stock transfers. 22000 and 29000 DMUs operated on the line on the 5th of November 2011.
Services in Northern Ireland are sparse in comparison to the Republic or other countries. A large railway network was severely curtailed in the 1950s and 1960s (in particular by the Ulster Transport Authority). The current situation includes suburban services to Larne, Newry and Bangor, as well as services to Derry. There is also a branch from Coleraine to Portrush.
On Northern Ireland Railways distances are quoted in miles and metres .
Three suburban routes run on 20 minute frequencies in and out of Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station, these routes then pass through Belfast Central railway station before continuing onto destinations at Bangor, Derry, Larne and Newry.
The service to Derry has suffered greatly from a lack of funding over recent decades. The existing line is not continuously welded and has speed restrictions in parts. For some time the threat of closure hung over this route but its future was assured in December 2005 with a funding package of some £20 million. The same month saw the introduction of the new CAF railcars on the line and despite the fact that the service remained slower than the Derry-Belfast Ulsterbus service, the improvements saw a rise in passenger numbers to over 1 million per annum. However, these optimistic signs that the line would be retained and possibly upgraded rather than wound down, suffered a blow in 2007 when it was revealed that the £20 million earmarked had not been spent while there had been a £20 million overspend on the Belfast-Bangor line. While the "Into the West"  rail lobby group had proposed extending the line cross border into Donegal to Letterkenny and then on to Sligo thus releasing EU funding  Currently, the Department has put a plan in place for Regional Development, for relaying of the track between Derry and Coleraine by 2013, which will include a passing loop, and the introduction of two new train sets. The £86 million plan will reduce the journey time between Belfast and Derry by 30 minutes and allow commuter trains to arrive in Derry before 0900 for the first time. There are also calls[by whom?] for Train halts to be located at Limavady, Ballykelly and possibly Eglinton.
Stations - Belfast Great Victoria Street, City Hospital, Botanic, Belfast Central, Yorkgate, Whiteabbey, Jordanstown, Greenisland, Trooperslane, Clipperstown, Carrickfergus, Downshire, Whitehead, Ballycarry, Magheramorne, Glynn, Larne Town, Larne Harbour.
This international service, named Enterprise, is jointly owned and run by Northern Ireland Railways and IÉ. Despite having some of the most modern intercity rolling stock on the island, it has been dogged by numerous problems. An historical problem on this route has been disruption to services caused by security alerts (devices on the line, hoax devices, threats and warnings). These continue to the present day.
The punctuality on this service remains poor for other reasons also. The intercity route, despite being mostly high quality continuous welded rail, is shared with suburban services outside both Belfast and Dublin. Unfortunately these are the busiest suburban routes on the island while only double-track is provided; hence very little mishap is required to disrupt the Enterprise service. In theory the trip should take 2 hours and 10 minutes – there have been occasions where this has become almost 5 hours. To drive between the cities (which is nearly all motorway/dual carriageway) can take under 2 hours, although congestion can be expected, especially at peak times.
A further problem is due to the locomotive and rolling stock arrangements. Unlike most other locomotive-hauled rolling stock in Ireland, generator vans are not part of the train – even the DVTs do not supply power. Thus the General Motors-built locomotives must supply head-end power for lighting and heating throughout the train. Although many types of locomotive are well designed for this purpose, these particular locomotives have struggled under the extra strain. The wear on the locos and time out of service are unusually high. On at least two occasions locomotives have burst into flames while shuttling along the route.
A more recent problem has been the collapse of the Malahide viaduct, which temporarily stopped all Enterprise services from Dublin to Belfast for 3 months in 2009, The viaduct has since been repaired and the line re-opened.
Following the extension of platform 2 to accommodate the longer Enterprise, Lisburn has recently been added as an additional stop on some services.
The following Freight services operate in Ireland :
Rail freight has been in a major decline in Ireland for the past 10 years.
Major Freight services lost includes
Other losses included: Liners, Fertilisers, Grain, Tar, Scrap Metal, Molasses and Coal. The last bulk cement flow to operate in Ireland (Castlemungret - Waterford) ended in December 2009 along with the Kilmastulla Quarry - Castlemungret Shale traffic, despite making profits in the region of €1.3 million in 2006.
Recent development show a continuing interest in at least limited freight traffic, with an agreement being struck with Coillte to increase timber trains from Ballina to Belview from three to four weekly. This may reflect the failure of the railway to dispose of its surplus Class 201 locomotives made surplus by the retirement of the Mark 3 coach fleet.
Bord na Móna operates an extensive 1,930 km (1,199 mi) narrow gauge railway. This is one of the largest industrial rail networks in Europe and is completely separate from Ireland's passenger rail system operated by Iarnród Éireann. It is used to transport Peat from harvesting plots to processing plants and power stations of the Electricity Supply Board.
The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland based in Whitehead, County Antrim runs preserved steam trains on its own private line and occasionally operates on the main lines all over Ireland. The Irish Traction Group runs preserved diesel locomotives but does not have a private line of its own. It operates on the main line when required. The Downpatrick & County Down Railway is the only self-contained full-size heritage railway in Ireland, though several short narrow gauge lines also exist. Bord na Móna (the Irish Peat Board) operates over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) of 3 ft (914 mm) lines at locations where peat is commercially cut and processed.