Government announces €185m investment in rail commuter belt in Cork with new train stations planned at Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli

Government announces €185m investment in rail commuter belt in Cork with new train stations planned at Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli

Irish Rail Intercity train at Kent Station, Cork. Extra capacity has been added after social distancing concern last weekend.

The Government has today announced a major investment in commuter rail in Cork.

The €185m investment forms part of the new Government's new recovery plan. 

As part of the plan, a significant allocation will be made to supporting investments addressing the green transition including future electrification through targeted investment in Cork commuter rail, providing significant capacity increases on the Cork Area Commuter Rail network, including construction of a through platform at Kent Station, line doubling between Glounthaune and Midleton, and re-signalling, with a view to future electrification.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the enhanced commuter rail service will deliver the proposed transport network needed to underpin the significant population and employment growth envisaged for Cork under the NPF 2040.

The €185.4m will allow increased connectivity between the Mallow to Cork lines and the Midleton/Cobh to Cork lines, including the upgrading of Kent station and new stations along the route.

Mr Martin said:  “This single largest project funded by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will help create a sustainable public transport infrastructure fit for the Cork of the future. The dividends of today’s announcement will be felt by the people of Cork for years to come.

“This ambitious rail corridor will enable sustainable development as the city and county undergoes both population and economic growth.

“The project also lays the foundations for large-scale development of sustainable new housing communities and acts as the model for other new transport systems across the country.”

The Green Party in Cork has welcomed the investment.

They say the funding will be used for works to upgrade the rail line on the north side of the city and near Kent Station will enable the opening of new stations at Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli.

Welcoming the news, Green Party councillor for Cork City North East, Oliver Moran, said:

"The concentration of this money on Cork shows a real commitment to deliver in the city and commuter area. This is big money that will enable commuter rail all the way from Mallow to Midleton and Cobh, laying the groundwork for new stops at Blarney, Blackpool and Tivoli.

"It continues a real shift of investment to the north side of the city too. We can see that new energy around the North Docks already, in the plans for MacCurtain Street, works starting for a commuter cycle network all the way from the city to Little Island and Glanmire, and route planning for the Northern Distributor Road, which will have sustainable and public transport built-in."

Mr Moran said the funding will kick start some of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) plans.

“This is the money to start delivering that.

“The plan in CMATS is that there would be a commuter rail line going from Mallow through Kent station and then connecting in with the existing commuter rail lines going towards Midleton and Cobh.

“Then also, it will connect with the light rail that will be kind of a mirror image of itself coming from Ballincollig and then touching off Kent station, down to Mahon.

“This is the works that will enable that expansion.

“In some ways, I don’t know will any commuters see these changes but what they will do is they will allow then, at the next step, the opening up of stations in Blarney and Blackpool and in Tivoli when the Port of Cork moves out,” he said.

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