Four level crossings in Cork on the Dublin to Cork line could be closed as part of Irish Rail’s National Development Plan, it has been revealed.
In the first six months of 2019, Irish Rail reported 51 incidents at level crossings across the network, an increase of 82% on the same period in 2018.
Irish Rail is undertaking the Cork Line Level Crossings Project to identify the best approach to removing or upgrading seven level crossings located along the main Cork to Dublin line.
The proposed plan aims to improve safety and will see the removal of some level crossings, including one in Buttevant, Shinanagh, Ballycoskery and Newtown.
The proposal also includes plans to convert the Ballyhea level crossing into a four-barrier CCTV level crossing or close it and provide an alternative route via new road alignment and new road-over-rail bridge.
These level crossings are being removed or upgraded to provide a “safer environment” for those living near the rail line and a more efficient service for customers, said Irish Rail.
There are currently seven manned public road level crossings in operation on the Cork to Dublin line between Limerick Junction and Mallow stations in Counties Cork and Limerick.
The crossings are located within a 24km section of the line between the Cork and Limerick county boundary.
The crossings are located at Fantstown, Thomastown, Ballyhea, Newtown, Ballycoskery, Shinanagh and Buttevant.
Members of the public, interested stakeholders, landowners and prescribed bodies are being invited to contribute to the development of the Cork Line Level Crossings Project through public consultation and engagement at key stages.
Irish Rail has published a Preliminary Design Report which shows the proposed solutions for each of the seven level crossings.
Irish Rail said that it would prefer to close the level crossing at Buttevant and introduce an alternative route via new road alignment and a new road-over-rail bridge.
The rail service provider revealed it would prefer to employ similar plans for the level crossings at Shinanagh and Ballycoskery.
The proposed solution for Ballycoskery could include a new road-over-rail bridge to the south of level crossing and a new junction on the N20.
Irish Rail said that it would prefer to close the Newtown level crossing and introduce an alternative diversion route or link road instead of a nearby bridge.
The new link road would connect the local road at the west side of level crossing with the Beechwood Grove housing estate and then on to the proposed new road-over-rail bridge at level crossing Ballycoskery.
Meanwhile in Ballyhea, Irish Rail said it would prefer to convert the level crossing to a four-barrier CCTV level crossing or close it and provide an alternative route via new road alignment and new road-over-rail bridge.
Irish Rail said the preferred solution is to upgrade existing crossing to a four-barrier CCTV level crossing and that the design solution for this upgrade is still in process.
A ten week public consultation got underway last week and will run until Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
Public consultation events will take place at the Charleville Park Hotel this evening and at Deebert House Hotel tomorrow where members of the public can meet the Cork Line Level Crossings Project team to discuss the project.
All submissions must be sent by Tuesday, january 21 to CLLC@irishrail.ie or by post to Cork Line Level Crossings Project, c/o Jacobs, Mahon Industrial Estate, Blackrock, Cork, T12 HY54.
The Cork Line Level Crossings Project will submit a Railway Order planning application to An Bord Pleanála for its independent assessment in 2020.