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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Luas goes North?

The powers-that-be, ie the direct rule Mandarins of the Department of Regional Development, are considering a rapid transit system for Belfast.

The top option on the table, aimed at reducing Belfast's growing gridlock, is a Luas type light rail system.

But at the risk of sounding like a MOPE, why is it that this plan only focuses on East Belfast when the worst tailbacks in town are located along the Falls Road, the Westlink and parts of South Belfast?

This is reminiscent of when the Brits gave Stormont millions in the Sixties for a motorway to Dublin and they built one into the middle of Protestant nowhere (ie Dungannon) instead.

Or indeed of the time in the early 1980s when the Southern authorities decided to build a little seaside railway for the affluent coastal suburbs of Dublin rather than one that would actually take the most car-bound commuters off the roads.

Comber does not need a Luas. It's a village, for goodness' sake. They should instead build a tram line that goes up the Falls, and another route that takes some of the commuters off the Westlink.

Belfast needs a transport system that serves the greatest number of people rather than a partisan Protestant community light rail.

kick it on kick.ie


mellobiafra said...

Actually Skinner, I do think you'll find that the consulting engineers - Rangers, Robinson and Paisley - have done an extensive feasibilty study. The results demonstrated (in the true Orange sense of demonstrated) that a light transit system for West Belfast would be a BAD IDEA! The infrastructure and rolling stock costs would be astronomical as the entire system would have to be replaced every time the inhabitants took issue (ie. took to the streets and burned everything) with some perceived slight against their community. Such piffling grievances might include the dissolution of any semblance of democracy, blatant manipulation of the justice system or perhaps even performance art. As their Newtonards Supersonic Monorail Report concluded:

"Fenians are all philistines and as none of them have jobs, provision of a public transport system for West Belfast will do nothing to reduce commuter congestion! Sure don't they have Black Taxis! What more do they want?"

JC Skinner said...

Now, now, Mello. You really DO sound like a MOPE!
But if you were sick, wouldn't it be nice to be able to get to the Royal Vic Hospital before you actually died?
Or to be able to get to work without having to spend eons on the Westlink there and back, scanning the overpasses for thugs dropping brieze blocks on commuters?
I do like the idea of a supersonic monorail through Ards, though. It'd put all the residents' windows out on a daily basis, saving West Belfast hallions the Ulsterbus fare and the cost of stones.

mellobiafra said...


"No MOPE Here!"

But seriously, while were on the subject of that popular cocktail, Public Transport and West Belfast Hallions (go together like peaches and cream), what Falls Road Speyd can actually afford the fair to legally ride on one of Translink's Big Red Limos? Inevitably any light rail system for Belfast would have to fall under the remit of that soviet-style travel monopoly! £35.50 return from Castle Court to the Mater!!!Let the train take the strain?!

I don't think so!

My rapid transit solution: A tractor, a length of chain and 50 black hacks - that ought to solve most of Western Europe's carbon emmission problems overnight!

JC Skinner said...

I think Limerick are looking into that option as we speak.
Where's your bloody blog, by the way? I'm growing a beard here waiting.

Anonymous said...

The reason for the train system is in fact that there is an existing train track system already there and it is not being used. So they are going to expand on this, if the project is successful and then the rest off the city can hopefully enjoy better traffic conditions, much unlike Dub!!

mellobiafra said...

Regards the blog I took the old one off, and set up a new one... been a touch busy at the minute, but I've also been setting up a new website for myself...

my blog is


but I haven't put anything on it yet...but soon, I promise!

Anonymous said...

The reason for the proposed route is that it follows an existing, and preserved, railway line that goes out along the Newtownards road towards Comber and Newtownards.

Although you do some very cliched complaining about the East-West motorways, I think the real shameful decision of the Stormont government, in relation to transport, was to close the Comber line, given that it was actually profitable at the time (early 1960s) and showed every sign of becoming a popular commuter line.

JC Skinner said...

You could make a much more compelling case for the retention of Belfast's tram system, which was already established as a commuter route, Mr Anonymous.
I note that you don't make any defence of the M1, since even now, forty years on, it still operates nowhere near capacity, and we still had to build the dual carriageway route to Newry anyhow.
I don't think closing the Comber route back in the day was smart. I do however think that seeking to reopen it now is not the transport priority for Belfast, especially those stuck daily in traffic on the Ormeau, Falls, Cregagh, Westlink, etc.

Commuter X said...

Have you see this: