12 August 2022
By Tony Forde
Iarnród Éireann has reminded communities and customers to give their feedback on the proposed twin-tracking of the Glounthaune to Midleton line by Tuesday 16th August.
Last month, the company published details on the proposed twin tracking of the 10km section of the rail line between Glounthaune and Midleton. Public Consultation is now live and any interested parties are invited to submit observations on the proposed plans via the project webpage before the consultation deadline of next Tuesday.
Following analysis of feedback received during the consultation period, the project design will be finalised and brought forward for Railway Ordlodgement with An Bord Pleanála in the Autumn of this year.
Planning also sought for new platform at Kent Station
The Glounthaune to Midleton Twin Tracking is just one in a series of rail improvement projects that are currently being progressed in the Cork Metropolitan Area.
Following the announcement earlier in July of the doubling of off-peak services from Cork to Cobh/Midleton, a planning application was recently submitted to Cork City Council for the construction of a through platform at Kent Station. The proposed construction of this new platform at Kent Station will allow commuter trains to travel through Kent Station from Mallow and onto Midleton or Cobh without terminating or requiring passengers to change service, as is the case today. This will mean a better service for passengers while also offering operational flexibility and the opportunity to increase passenger capacity on the network. Subject to planning being granted, construction of the through platform is expected to commence in 2023 with a view to completion in 2024.
A signalling and communications project is also progressing which will ensure the necessary upgrades are completed to facilitate the proposed capacity and service frequency increase across the Cork rail network. The preliminary design of these upgrade works are well advanced, and the implementation stage is expected to commence in 2023.
What are the benefits?
Part of a wider series of improvements being delivered in the Cork Metropolitan Area, including the delivery of new rolling stock, these three initial projects (the Glounthaune to Midleton Twin Tracking, the Kent Station Through Platform and the Signalling and Communications upgrades) will provide:
- For a potential tripling of service frequency to a 10-minute service from the current 30-minute service
- Direct services through Kent Station from Mallow and on to Midleton or Cobh without terminating and requiring passengers to change service
- Increased capacity, better connectivity, and enhanced reliability of the suburban rail network
The Glounthaune to Midleton Twin Tracking, Kent Station Through Platform and the Signalling and Communications upgrade to facilitate the proposed capacity and service frequency increase across the Cork area are funded by the European Union Recovery and Resilience Facility, under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) has been developed by the Government so that Ireland can access funding under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. Ireland is expected to receive €988 million in grants under the Facility.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the global pandemic. The aim is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, more digital, more resilient and fit to face the future.
Cork Rail Network
The decade of delivery has begun for the Cork Rail Network, ensuring realisation of the heavy rail vision set out in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS). Delivering increased train capacity and frequency, providing for more connected communities and a more sustainable transport network, the project represents the largest ever investment in the Cork Rail Network.
The strategy for heavy rail includes the following:
- Train frequency and capacity to build to 16 million passenger journeys per annum
- A 62km high-frequency network between Midleton, Cobh and Mallow
- Eight proposed new stations at Blarney/Stoneview, Monard, Blackpool/Kilbarry, Tivoli, Dunkettle, Carrigtwohill West, Water Rock, and Ballynoe and enhancements to existing stations
- Multi-model integrated transport hub at Kent Station to promote model shift from the private car
- 10km of twin tracking to Midleton
- Electrification of the Cork commuter network to ensure emission-free travel
- Additional rolling stock to meet existing and future demand
Further information on the projects that will be delivered can be found on the Irish Rail website.