Planned upgrade on Cork-Dublin line will cut travel time, say Iarnród Éireann

Improvements will help further boost growing passenger numbers out of Cork

Rail travel time between Dublin and Cork could be cut to two hours, say Iarnród Éireann

Rail travel time between Dublin and Cork could be cut to two hours, say Iarnród Éireann

 

The proposed upgrade of Kent station, allied with improvements in the rail infrastructure, will help further stimulate business out of Cork where both mainline and commuter services have enjoyed significant growth over the past year, according to Barry Kenny, corporate communications manager of Iarnród Éireann.

“We saw significant growth on our services out of Cork last year, with the numbers using our mainline service to Dublin up by 4.5 per cent to 2.84 million [passengers] while Cork-Midleton was up 5.9 per cent to 312,000 and Cork-Cobh up a huge 17 per cent to 745,000, all compared to 2013,” he said.

Mr Kenny confirmed that a €10 million upgrade of an 80km stretch of mainline track between Portlaoise in Co Laois and Hazelhatch in Co Kildare beginning in March will cut Cork-Dublin travel times by 15 minutes to two hours and 15 minutes.

He said the work, involving the removal and replacement of 80,000 tonnes of stone ballast under the track, will allow trains, which currently travel between 110km/h and 140km/h, to achieve consistent speeds of 160km/h on the 266km rail journey to Heuston station in Dublin.

Mr Kenny said that, over time and depending on funding, Iarnród Éireann hoped to carry out other work, including replacing level crossings and renewing bridges which would shave more minutes off the journey with the aim of reducing the Cork-Dublin journey to less than two hours.

According to Mr Kenny, Iarnród Éireann is in competition with the M8 between Cork and Dublin but a consistent rail speed of 160kp/h – 40kp/h faster than motorists can travel on the motorway – will help the company compete with car use as a means of intercity travel.

And he pointed out that reducing train travel times to two hours would – together with free wi-fi on board trains, which allowed people to work – provide Iarnród Éireann with a significant advantage over road which, according to the AA, takes 2 hours 45 minutes station to station.