Cork-Midleton rail line opens

Thu, Jul 30, 2009, 01:00

A commuter rail service linking Midleton and Cork has officially opened today.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey travelled on the first passenger train on the line from Kent Station in Cork to Midleton at 12.15pm to open new stations at Carrigtwohill and Midleton. Members of the public can travel on the new service free of charge for the day.

The service represents an investment of €75 million in infrastructure under the Government’s Transport 21 Strategy, and is the result of a 35-year campaign to bring services back to the town. It last carried passenger services 46 years ago.

Cork Chamber president Ger O’Mahoney said the line would have a "significant impact" on public transport infrastructure in the Cork region, and would bring major economic benefits and facilitate the development of areas identified for growth in the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP).

However, a spokesman for campaign group Rail Users Ireland said there was still a long way to go before residents of Midleton and Carrigtwohill got a "21st century rail service”, with new signalling yet to be installed, and bus substitutions included on the timetable.

“Despite a four-week closure of the Cork-Cobh line in 2008 in part to facilitate the building of the Midleton line, the new Midleton line is not complete and will open with temporary signalling arrangements," said spokesman Mark Gleeson.

"As a result the Midleton line, together with the Cobh line will require at least one to two days’ closure whilst the new points and signalling are installed and commissioned later this year. All of this disruption could have been avoided easily by Irish Rail if the work had been carried out in 2008.”

Two trains each way will be substituted for bus services at night, according to the timetable.