Contents of the Monasterevin Railway Transport Report

Survey of transport needs in Monasterevin

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Foreword To Monasterevin Railway Transport Report1999
Background to the Study Area
Transport Policy An Overview
Selection of Images and Maps

During the months of July, August and September in 1998 an extensive survey was carried out in the Monasterevin area. This survey was commissioned to identify the current patterns of transport usage, and to quantify the impact of re-opening the railway station in the town. There were three distinct elements to the survey. Firstly, random sample of local households were visited. Secondly, locally based commuters were specifically targeted and thirdly a number of businesses within the town were questioned. In all 189 respondents were interviewed. This chapter will examine the three elements to the survey, outlining how each was carried out and documenting the results.

This report provides evidence that there is a very strong argument for reopening the station at Monasterevin.

There are approximately 270 city – bound commuters travelling from Monasterevin on a daily basis. Of those surveyed, 95% would use the railway station if it were in use.

Taking a conservative estimate from the population at large, it is anticipated that there would be a total of 315 daily train users from the current local population.

From the 24 businesses surveyed there are 112 people travelling to work in Monasterevin who could avail of the reopened station.

Local businesses have identified the creation of a minimum of 16 new jobs as a consequence of the station opening.

In addition, there is the potential for the station to be used by tourists and other visitors, the use of freight services by local industry and the overall growth that it will generate within the town. Each of these conclusions have been outlined in detail and quantified as accurately as possible within this report. It should also be noted that the survey was restricted to the population of 2111 adults within the town. However the Roman Catholic parish of Monasterevin has a population of 5200, indicating a far greater potential catchment area population for the station.

As the town is situated on the parish boundary, the adjoining parishes of Portarlington, Emo and Clonbullogue will also provide a significant number of passengers using the station.

The aim of the survey was to enable the researcher to question a random number of respondents and from the results, draw conclusions relevant to the population as a whole. In order to do this a system of identifying the random sample was required. The method chosen was by consulting the directory of electors for a list of households and from this selecting a 1/20th sample using a random number generator. In this way 101 households were chosen and one person questioned from each. In this section we will look at the results of the survey under three headings:

1. A Profile of Respondents
2. Current Transport Usage
3. The Possible Impact of a railway Station

3.1.1 A Profile of the Respondents

The 101 respondents were drawn from the 25 estates, streets and townslands in the Monasterevin District Electoral Division. Many of the outlying townslands are sparsely populated, with most of the people residing in private or county council housing estates, the largest being St. Evin’s Park. Of those sampled 2% had lived in the area for less than 1 year, 28% from 1 to 10 years and 70% for more than 10 years. This shows that the vast majority of those interviewed are long term residents.

Gender and Age

There were slightly more women interviewed at 58%, this is possibly explained by the fact that the interviews were conducted in homes. The gender breakdown is balanced and will not have a significant impact on the results. Table 1 indicates the age profile of the respondents. The minimum age for those interviewed was set at 15 years. And the survey covers all age groups.

Table 1: Age of respondents (n=101)




15-18 Years



19-30 Years


31-50 Years


51-64 Years


65 and Greater




While the 31-50 age group is best represented at 33.7% this is balanced by both teenagers at 9.9% and those over 65 at 14%. This pattern is compatible with the 1996 national census balance.

Family Size

In exploring family size it was found that the average household size was 4 people. As can be seen from Table 2, 64.9% of those surveyed had this number or less while the remaining 35.1% of households had more than 4 members.

Table 2: Family Size ( n=94, Mean=4.032)

Number Household

Number Respondents


Cumulative %

1 3 3.2 3.2
2 21 22.3 25.5
3 13 13.8 39.3
4 24 25.5 64.8
5 14 14.9 79.7
6 10 10.6 90.3
7 4 4.3 94.6
8 4 4.3 98.9
9 1 1.1 100.0
Total 94 100 100


The questionnaire also provides details of the occupations of those interviewed. We break these into the six categories outlined in Table 4. As can be seen 46.5% of those who responded were employed outside the home, 12.9% were in training or education and 37.7% were not in paid employment being either retired, unemployed or working in the home. The remaining 3% worked from their homes. This shows almost exactly a 1 to 1 dependency ratio from those surveyed.

Table 3 Occupation of Those Interviewed (n=101)

Occupation Number Percentage
Unemployed or Working Full Time in the Home 25 24.8
Employed in the home 3 3.0
Employed outside the home 47 46.4
Post Primary School 3 3.0
Training or Further Education 10 9.9
Retired 13 12.9
Total 101 100.0

The personal data shows that the sample chosen, when compared with statistics compiled from the 1996 census, is typical of the general population in Monasterevin. The average person interviewed could be said to be aged between 30 and 50, be employed outside the home, have a family of four and is most likely to be a lifelong resident in Monasterevin.

3.2 Current Transport Usage

This section focused on car ownership, the numbers of both long and short journeys made and the purpose of them.

3.2.1 Car Ownership

We noted that 62% of all respondents owned a car, (excluding the under 19's this figure rose to 68%), with 10% of households surveyed having more than one car. Factors influencing care ownership included;

Occupation: Those working outside the home being most likely to have a car and students and the retired least likely to have one.

Age: Nobody under the age of 19 owned a car and 43% of the over 65s did so.

Location: Those living in the outlying townslands were more likely to own cars than the families based more centrally.

3.2.2 Short Journeys

When questioning people on their travel patterns they were asked to outline the number of short journeys that they made each week. In so doing, they had to identify both the destination and the purpose of their journey. This was to ensure that the answers were carefully considered and reliable. The destinations defined as constituting short trips were as follows; Naas (Sallins), Kildare, Newbridge, Portarlington, Portlaoise, Athy and Carlow. It should be noted that each of these towns has a rail link with Monasterevin and is within 30 minutes journey time. This link is not in operation with the station being closed.

In compiling the results it was found to be useful to use the number of journeys per month and this is the figure outlined in Table 4. As can be seen we have categorised the commuters into five groups depending on the frequency of travel. Almost half of the respondents (47.5%) make less than 20 journeys per month. The frequent travellers make the vast majority of journeys. The 98 respondents reported making 2252 short journeys each month, with the average therefore being 23 journeys. It can also be noted that the major potential users are those in the medium to frequent traveller categories.

Table 4: Short Journeys Made Per Month (n=98)

Journeys per Month

No. of People


No. of Journeys

0-10 27 27.3 151
11-20 20 20.2 319
21-30 26 26.3 595
31-40 13 13.1 447
41 or more 13 13.1 590
Total 98 100.0 2252

Purpose of the short journeys

The opportunity was also taken in the questionnaire to identify the purpose of the journeys made. The categories given as options were as follows, Work, Social-Recreational, School/Further Ed1, Shopping or Other Reasons. The results are summarised in Chart 1. The chart shows almost an equal split between Work, Social-Recreational and shopping ourneys with work related journeys being in the majority.

Chart 1: Purpose Of Short Journeys (n=98)

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3.2.3 Inter-city Journeys

A similar analysis for long journeys i.e. to city destinations (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast or Limerick) is outlined in table 5. 19.8% of those interviewed travel two or more times per week, with12.9% commuting on a daily basis (This projects to 270 daily commuters for the total population).

Table 5: Inter-city Journeys Made Per Month (n=98)

Number Percentage Cumulative
of Journeys
Rarely if ever 15 14.9 14.9 0
Once a week or less 66 65.4 80.2 118
Twice a week 7 6.9 87.1 43
Daily 13 12.9 100 265
Total 101 100.0 100.0 426

1. We believe that this figure is low, as many 3rd level students may have been working away from home during the summer.

Purpose of Inter-city Journeys

Chart 2 outlines the purpose of these journeys. It contrasts with the previous chart in that by far the largest proportion of journeys are made for work and school or further education while shopping and social-recreational trips are less significant.

Chart 2: Purpose of Long Journeys (n=98)

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3.2.4 The Possible Impact of a Railway Station

In order to assess the possible impact of reopening the railway station in Monasterevin we looked at people's preferred mode of transport, their reasons for this preference and the number of journeys they would change from their current method of travel to rail if that option were available. We also asked people to indicate their perceived need for a station and their level of commitment to the campaign for its re-opening.

Preferred Mode of Transport

As can be seen from table 6 people’s choice of transport depends on whether they are making an inter-city journey or a shorter journey. While the train is popular in both instances it is by far the preferred mode of transport for city journeys with 82% of respondents selecting it as their first preference.
Table 6: First Preferred Mode Of Transport

Mode Preference for short
Journeys (%)
Preference for Inner-city Journeys (%)
Car 58.0 15.0
Minibus 1.0 0
Private Coach 0 3.0
CIE Coach 2.0 0
Train 39.0 82.0
Other 0 0

When asked to identify the factors affecting their decision, comfort was the most frequently mentioned followed by availability-timing and cost. These factors are illustrated in Table 7.

Table 7: Factors Influencing Respondents Choice of Transport

  1st Factor
influencing Choice(%)
2nd Factor
influencing Choice(%)
3rd Factor
influencing Choice(%)
Proximity 8.9 8.7 16.5
Availability 13.9 15.2 21.5
Cost 12.9 22.8 12.7
Comfort 41.6 21.7 24.1
Other 5.0 7.6 6.3

Need for the Railway Station

When questioned as to the level of need in the area for a railway station 8.9% felt the need was moderate while 91.1% felt that there was a great need for the station to be re-opened. While this figure is important and shows an overwhelming desire by the people of Monasterevin to see their station re-opened, a more important statistic was that 79.2% of people interviewed gave their names and addresses and expressed a desire to become involved in the campaign.

Potential Use Of The Railway Station

This section will outline, perhaps, the most striking findings in the research.  They relate to people's potential use of a station in Monasterevin.  Part of the survey asked the respondents to examine which of their short and long journeys they would change to rail if that option was available.

Short-Haul Journeys

Of the short distance journeys, the groups with the highest potential usage of the station were those working and studying, 65% of whom said they would change to the rail option. This would comprise a total of 505 monthly rail journeys. While the shopping and recreational users also expressed a significant willingness to use rail it is less likely that they would fully exploit the option, we, therefore, disregarded short-haul social and shopping users for the purpose of this study.

Inter-City Journeys

When questioned about their ability to use the potential facility inter-city travellers were very enthusiastic with a 92% uptake rate. This amounts to 390 journeys per month, 244 (or 63%) of these being daily commuters.

Total Potential Users

Adding the potential inter-city commuters and the short-haul work and education related trips the total number of users for the service, from the respondent group, will be 895 per month. This amounts to 30 potential passengers per day. Accepting a 50% rate of error on transfer to a rail option, this gives a conservative figure of 15 passengers per day from a population of 101. Relating this to the whole of the resident population in the town of Monasterevin the potential number of daily users for the station is 315.

In Summary

This section documents some general information on the people surveyed and it demonstrates that they are a typical cross-section of the population of Monasterevin. We looked at current travel patterns and found there to be over 2000 short journeys and over 400 inter-city trips made by the 101 people interviewed each month. On exploring these journeys in detail we found that at least 10% of them would be made by rail if that option were available. When extrapolated to the total population this amounted to 315 passengers using the station on a daily basis.


The commuter survey was conducted by distributing questionnaires to known commuters and to those travelling to Dublin by the morning bus from Monasterevin or   from the train at Kildare station. In total 64 were returned from 100 questionnaires distributed, giving an exceptionally high response rate.

As can be seen from the summary in Table 8, 42 of the 64 who responded were daily commuters, 40 of whom said they would definitely use the station in Monasterevin. The remainder used the train less frequently but were all positive about using the train if the service became available.

Table 8: Summary Information from Commuter Survey

Number Commuters Definitely Station Possibly
Would Not Use Station
Daily 42 40 2 0
Twice Weekly 9 9 0 0
Once weekly 12 12 0 0
Other 1 1 0 0
Total 64 62 2 0

This information shows an overwhelming desire on the part of morning commuters leaving Monasterevin to use the train. It demonstrates that there is a definite core user base for the service, both transferring from other modes of transport or freeing-up the parking facilities at Kildare Town.


The information collected in the business survey is detailed and focuses on the possible use of the station by employees, customers and as a means of transporting materials. It also documents the ‘knock-on’ employment that the station would create in the town and the other economic impacts it could generate.

3.3.1 Potential Use of the Station by Employees

The 24 businesses interviewed were mostly long established employers giving work to a total of 684 people in the town. Of these 151 traveled from outside the Monasterevin area and 112 could use the train as a means of getting to work. Indeed one employer, Moore Abbey, outlined how the train would prove invaluable to both staff and clients. 20 Trainee Nurses presently travel by private bus to Trinity College / St. James Hospital. As many of the centre's clients are disabled and currently travel from outside Monasterevin the train would greatly improve their quality of life. There are therefore 112 potential daily train users who would be travelling into Monasterevin on a daily basis.

3.3.2 Potential Use of the Station by Customers

Most of the businesses interviewed believed that clients would use the station and broaden their customer base. 19 said that it definitely would, 4 said possible and 1 respondent said that all of their custom was local. This shows a general consensus that the station would be good for business. This is indeed extended to the positive impact that it could have on the overall economic climate in the town with most respondents feeling that it would have very beneficial effects.

3.3.3 Use of the Station for Transporting Material

Of the 24 interviewed 9 businesses said that they would use a railway freight service if it were available. Of these 9 potential freight customers, 5 transport material in bulk on a regular basis in and out of Monasterevin.

3.3.4 ‘Knock-On’ Employment Potential

In total 16 of the 24 businesses interviewed anticipate that they would expand the number of their employees as a result of the station reopening. While 7 found it difficult to quantify such an expansion, the remaining 9 businesses projected the creation of 16 new jobs in the area.
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The Goods Yard and Cattle Pems 1999!!

In Summary

The business survey was informative in that it identified 112 potential daily commuters from among staff of the 24 businesses who responded. This is a figure separate from the statistics quoted in the random survey in that the respondents in that case were local residents, while the figure of 112 is drawn from people travelling from outside to work in Monasterevin. Furthermore,, there are several of those surveyed who anticipate that their clients would  also use the train. While there was general agreement that the reopening of the station would create a positive economic environment for the town, the creation of 16 new jobs was projected as a result of the move.


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