First train will depart at 6.45am ... some day

THE first train leaving Cork for Midleton will depart from platform one at 6.45am – only trouble is nobody knows on what day that will be.

A press conference organised by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey descended into farce yesterday when he announced the timetable for the €75 million Cork-Midleton commuter rail service. He couldn’t say on what date the trains would roll.

Iarnród Éireann brought a special train down to Midleton station for the minister’s photoshoot.

He got in it with FF camp followers and Iarnród Éireann officials.

The engines revved and it looked like they were all off for a little spin. But the train remained stationary until the minister disembarked a short time later.

Unfortunately, according to an Iarnród Éireann spokesman, “the train wasn’t certified to carry passengers”.

The company spokesman said it’s hoped the service will start rolling sometime in July. But he, too, couldn’t provide a date.

On numerous occasions during the past few years both Mr Dempsey and his predecessor at the department, the late Seamus Brennan, have been up and down the track emphasising to everybody who will listen that the train is coming.

Mr Dempsey described the timetable announcement as “an important landmark”. He said the service would allow thousands of people to enjoy a stress-free rail journey.

When the service does get up and running there will be 20 trains each way daily. Trains will run every 30 minutes at peak time and every hour at off-peak from Monday to Friday.

Sixteen trains will operate each way on Saturdays, with eight on Sundays.

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