AFTER many years of campaigning and numerous promises by politicians, passenger services have been reinstated on the Cork to Midleton railway line after a gap of over 20 years — making Midleton and Carrigtwohill an easy commute for property owners.
And, thanks to the provision of park and ride facilities, residents in a large catchment area can avail of hassle-free public transport.
Services began on the €75 million line on Thursday, July 30. The new section of the route consists of 10.5 kilometres of new, continuously welded track laid to the highest main-line standards, allowing for a maximum speed on the line of 100km/h.
The old track, which was originally laid down in 1854, was completely removed and reinstatement of the line was achieved with automated machinery with the new track laid on concrete sleepers on a new foundation and ballasting. Although it’s still a single track line, a sophisticated signalling system, and a series of passing loops, enables a half-hourly service to be operated in each direction.
Two new stations have been built at Carrigtwohill and Midleton on the route which branches off from the Cobh line at Cobh-Junction and extends eastwards with a total track distance of 10.5 kilometres.
The redevelopment of the railway has been part of the planning discourse in east Cork since the publication of Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP )in 2001.
Cork County Council recently scoped the top prize at the Irish Planning Awards for the Glounthaune to Midleton rail project which the judges said will result in: “The reopening of the first railway line in this state for over 100 years and in the revitalisation of a number of key towns and villages while promoting the move to more sustainable modes of transport.” The reopening is included in the Government’s Transport 21 investment programme.
Although the recession has led to a slackening off in traffic into Cork city from east Cork, the eastern end of the city’s road network retains its potential for serious congestion.
If the situation in Dublin when the DART was introduced is anything to go by, we should see some major changes in commuter patterns in Cork, with househunters gravitating towards east Cork because of its now excellent public transport links.
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