A MAJOR train frequency boost on the Cork to Cobh and Cork to Midleton lines has been announced in what Iarnród Éireann has described as the start of a “decade of delivery for Cork”.
From Monday July 18, with the approval and support of the National Transport Authority (NTA), Iarnród Éireann will double the number of weekday trains operating during daytime off-peak on both lines from every 60 minutes each way currently, to the current peak frequency of every 30 minutes, to/from both Cobh and Midleton.
With both services sharing the line between Glounthaune and Cork’s Kent Station, a ‘turn-up-and-go’ frequency of every 15 minutes each way between 6:45am and 7:45pm will be provided for the communities of Glounthaune and Little Island.
In total, 32 extra train services will operate every weekday on the Cork commuter network.
The doubling in off-peak frequency will make the commuter rail in Cork “more useful for more people”, the chief executive of the NTA, Anne Graham said.
“It will make it easier to get around and open up this part of East Cork to greater numbers of locals and visitors alike.
“Improvement in the commuter rail offering was a key component in the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).
“While today’s announcement is just the beginning, it is a clear signal of intent on the part of NTA and Iarnród Éireann that delivering for the people of Cork by implementing the Strategy, is now the priority,” she continued.
Iarnród Éireann’s chief executive, Jim Meade echoed this sentiment.
“We are beginning to bring to life the vision of Cork’s commuter rail network as set out under CMATS.
“Having worked with the Minister for Transport and his Department officials, the National Transport Authority, and Cork local authorities and the wider community in developing these transformative plans, we now embark on what we believe will be a decade of delivery for Cork,” he said.
Cork Chamber warmly welcomed the introduction of more frequent suburban rail services by from Glounthane and Little Island into the city every 15 minutes.
"This move to more frequent services is crucial to getting Cork commuters out of their cars and on to public transport, with trains running every 15 minutes from July at the peak morning commuting period. We look forward to seeing the same level of service rolled out across the whole Cork suburban rail commuter network in the short term and the move to a more frequent 30 minute service from Cobh and Midleton is also really welcome," Cork Chamber CEO, Conor Healy said.
"The Chamber is determined that the new planned commuter rail stations along the lines to the north and east of the city, towards Blarney and Midleton are completed in a short time frame, and that funding is made available by central government that these lines can then be electrified to provide more frequent high speed rail services for the whole metropolitan area,” he continued.
Mr Healy also said that central government needs to green light funding for the order of electric trains “as soon as possible for Cork”.
“We look forward to seeing the rapid development of a fast, frequent and electrified suburban commuter rail network across the Cork metropolitan area.
“It is key to cutting emissions and building a more liveable and sustainable Cork city region,” he added.
Ahead of the introduction of the frequency boost on the Cork to Cobh and Cork to Midleton lines, Iarnród Éireann will undertake essential track and bridge works at a number of locations between Cork and Cobh/Midleton.
The company has advised that this will necessitate the closure of both lines from July 2-17.
An hourly bus substitute service will be provided during these dates, each way between both Cork and Cobh, and Cork and Midleton.
Iarnród Éireann has said full details of arrangements will be confirmed to customers in advance of these works.