€3m Cork railway station upgrade set to in crease numbers using mainline and commuter services
Creation of new entrance will help make Kent Station more accessible from city centre
The proposed upgrade of Kent station and work on the Cork-Dublin railway line between Portlaoise and Hazelhatch that will shave 15 minutes off travel times, will make rail travel more attractive
Iarnród Éireann expects to start work later this year on the planned €3 million upgrade of Kent railway station in Cork with the aim of making the station more accessible for both commuters and mainline service users.
According to Barry Kenny, corporate communications manager of Iarnród Éireann, the plan to reorient the station by creating a new entrance off Horgan’s Quay will improve connectivity with the city centre for pedestrians as well as for bus, taxi and bike users.
Mr Kenny said creating a new entrance on Horgan’s Quay would enable train users to get to and from the bus station on Parnell Place on foot in less than five minutes as opposed to the 10 minutes plus it currently takes using the exit on Lower Glanmire Road.
Change of plan
Iarnród Éireann business development manager in Cork, Andrew Roche said the proposed upgrade was different to one proposed in 1999, which had involved not just the reorientation of the station but the sale and development of land at Horgan’s Quay.
That particular proposal involved a total area of 21 acres, covering shunting yards and other areas on Horgan’s Quay to the south of the station, with some 17 acres being sold for development and four acres being retained to develop the railway station.
Mr Roche said the new plan focused solely on the railway station and would involve the construction of two new entrance buildings on the southern side of the station and the creation of new car parking and set down areas off Horgan’s Quay.
It will involve the building of a subway under a rail line running outside southern side of the existing building and connecting up with the existing underpass which links the main platforms in the railway station, which was built in 1893.
This subway will surface near a new set down area on the southern side of the station. A new roadway will be opened on to Horgan’s Quay and an entrance developed at the junction of Alfred Street and Railway Street to allow free movement of traffic.
The plan was that a bus service for the city centre, the No 205 bus which currently enters via Lower Glanmire Road, would enter the terminus area through the new entrances, avoiding the congestion which can often happen on Lower Glanmire Road.
“This new entrance will be used for the No 205 which serves the city centre, UCC, Cork University Hospital and CIT as well as by buses serving west Cork, so it will really improve connectivity for rail and bus users,” Mr Roche said.
The area being developed off Horgan’s Quay, containing a set down space for taxis and buses, will also include a car park with 140 spaces, as well as a stand for 30 bikes provided by Cork City Council as part of its Bike Share scheme being developed around the city.
According to Mr Kenny, Iarnród Éireann, which applied for planning permission for the project last September, recently received notification of a final grant of planning from Cork City Council and some preparatory work has already started on the project.
This work includes the relocation of the station’s electrical supply and the replacement of an old oil-fuelled heating system which was obstructing the new development, with the extension of a gas fuelled system in the main station building.
“The entrance building contract is currently out to tender with the construction due to commence in early summer. The roadway contract is planned to commence early next year to coincide with the completion of the building in late 2016,” said Mr Kenny.