Hundreds of jobs and faster journeys; €90m investment in Cork-Dublin rail line

An Irish Rail spokesperson said the upgrade means they can work towards their goal of a two-hour journey between the two cities. 
Hundreds of jobs and faster journeys; €90m investment in Cork-Dublin rail line

The on line improvements will cut journey times from Cork to Dublin by 8-10 minutes and will futureproof the line to accommodate 200km/h speeds at a later stage.

OVER €90m is to be invested in making improvements to the Cork-Dublin railway line, speeding up the journey between Ireland’s first and second city.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan yesterday announced Government approval for additional funding of €91.5m to be spent on line improvements which will cut journey times from Cork to Dublin by 8-10 minutes and will futureproof the line to accommodate 200km/h speeds at a later stage.

An Irish Rail spokesperson said the investment is very positive for commuters. “Upgrading the Cork line means we can work towards our goal of a two-hour journey time on our busiest and flagship Intercity route.

“This will bring more people onto our services, lead to more services on the route, and help to ensure that transport in Ireland develops more sustainably, with the strongest possible public transport alternative.”

150 new jobs 

The funding announced yesterday will be assigned to the existing infrastructure manager multi-annual contract which provides the funding and governance oversight framework for the rail network and its infrastructure.

It is estimated that an average of 150 jobs will be created in 2022-2023 and 55 jobs in 2024 as a direct consequence of the additional IMMAC spend on the Cork Line Rehabilitation Project (CLRP) alone.

The roles would be along the route between Portlaoise and Cork dependent on works at the time.

The substantial works will mean there will be some disruption to services while the project is underway.

“As with all infrastructure improvement works, there are some service impacts to deliver the improvements, but these will predominantly take place at quieter times at the weekend.

“Such weekend works will be taking place under the funding detailed today at selected weekends up to 2024.”

Funding welcomed 

East Cork Labour TD Sean Sherlock welcomed news of the investment. “I use the train and Dart every week. I see the value of this, in getting people to move to new transport modes. If the pricing mechanism could become more competitive, new rolling stock would certainly entice people to use trains more often. It’s welcome news.”

Green Party councillor Oliver Moran also welcomed the investment.

“The initial improvements to journey times will be an immediate benefit but the longer view is to futureproof rail in Ireland for high-speed trains between Cork, Dublin and Belfast.

“The Programme for Government includes a commitment to investigate rail speeds of 200km/h. This will also come under the All-Island Strategic Rail Review that opened for public consultation in November.

“This is on top of €184m of investment in commuter rail this year in the immediate Cork metropolitan area. That is with a view to 10-minute frequency commuter rail services between Mallow, Cork, Cobh and Midleton. That work is underway at Kent Station and on the line itself. That level of investment in upgrading the lines to prepare for commuter rail like that all but guarantees the opening of new station at Blackpool, Blarney and Tivoli.”

National funding 

Overall national funding of €94.5m was announced by the Minister yesterday for the heavy rail network, which includes the €91.5m to be spent on the Dublin-Cork railway line.

The funding will also be spent on enhancing the climate resilience of the rail network, and includes minor upgrades to Limerick Junction/Waterford line.

Commenting on the overall funding, Jim Meade, chief executive of Iarnród Éireann said: “We welcome the continuing funding under the IMMAC, and additional funding which will equip us for improved journey times, and climate resilience and sustainability.”

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