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Thanks.  V. comprehensive.  You have much more experience of this sort of stuff than I have.  

However it seems to me that "the 3-hour limit below which HSR can dominate air" is an unduly harsh criterion.  The sheer convenience of being able to travel from (say) central Cork to London by train (perhaps on a sleeper) with perhaps only two stops outweighs a lot of the inconvenience of getting to airports, waiting, traveling from airports, etc. Public transport to airports in Ireland is notoriously poor.

Having said that, I would expect air carriers to up their game and compete furiously if rail travel became an option.  A lot of cross channel ferries survived the onset of Eurotunnel by becoming more competitive.  Also I have no feel for the potential volume of rail freight traffic, which is almost totally undeveloped in Ireland.  Basically the Irish rail network is almost totally strategically irrelevant at the moment, unless something like a Dublin Holyhead link changes the whole game.  

The potential for increased tourism if you could get a train direct from (say) London to Killarney strikes me as enormous however, and I would love to see an anaysis of the potential boost.  I do recall reading about an engineering feasibility study getting some v. limited EU funding not all that long ago, but have heard nothing since.  In an era of public austerity, this sort of project is simply not on the agenda.

However I would be interested in any data or sources you have on the carbon intensity of HSR as opposed to other forms of public transport. The strategic vulnerability of Ireland to international carbon prices as well as the climate change effects of same is something we simply have to address in the longer term.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 14th, 2015 at 11:02:17 AM EST
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