Plans for the proposed enhancement of the rail line between Glounthaune and Midleton, which could see a tripling of service frequency on the line, have been unveiled.
Iarnród Éireann has published details on the proposed twin tracking of the 10km section of the rail line between Glounthaune and Midleton, a project which has been described as “another milestone in the decade of delivery for Cork’s passenger rail network”.
The plans form part of a greater package of improvements being delivered by the Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) 2040.
Iarnród Éireann say the delivery of this project along with the completion of the new Kent Station through-platform, proposed signalling and communications upgrades and the delivery of additional rail cars, will facilitate operation of a 10-minute service frequency compared to the current 30-minute service.
The National Planning Framework (NPF) 2040 anticipates that Cork will become the fastest-growing city region in Ireland, with a projected 50-60% increase in its population by 2040 The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said that the proposal will deliver “exceptional benefits” for customers across the Cork Metropolitan Area which is welcome given the growth projections for the city and county.
“Increases in capacity, connectivity, and reliability will encourage the usage of public transport going forward and is especially welcomed as the area has projected population increase of upwards of fifty per cent by 2040,” he said.
The company’s Chairman Frank Allen and CEO Jim Meade were joined on Tuesday by the National Transport Authority’s Head of Customer Experience John O’Flynn, Cork County Mayor Cllr Danny Collins, Cork County Council CEO Tim Lucey and Cork East TD David Stanton at Midleton Station to formally launch a public consultation for the proposed project.
Communities along the route are being invited to give their feedback on plans that will support a future tripling of service frequency on the line.
Commenting on the plans, Jim Meade, CEO of Iarnród Éireann said that twin tracking between Glounthaune and Midleton, along with the broader package of improvements that are planned for Cork, “will significantly enhance and improve the existing rail infrastructure offering public transport users in the area a more efficient and reliable rail service.” He added: “this is another milestone in the decade of delivery for Cork’s passenger rail network and I encourage everyone in the area to view the proposals and make a submission.” Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham, added: "It’s great to see this project being progressed and thanks to these plans, service levels will improve dramatically. Increased frequencies will make it easier to get around and will open up this part of East Cork to greater numbers of locals and visitors alike.
"Investment in rail was a key component in the CMATS strategy, published in 2019. This 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."
Two local public information days will take place on the plans over the coming weeks where people can learn more about the project and meet with members of the project team.
The first of these will take place at MyPlace Midleton Main Hall, Mill Rd on Wednesday, August 3 from 1pm to 8pm.
The second session will take place at Glounthaune Community Centre, Glounthaune Village on Thursday, August 4 from 1pm to 8pm.
All project information including how to lodge a submission, an information brochure and project drawings are available on the project webpage.
The consultation is open until August 16, 2022.