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Railway Order for Midleton twin-tracking to be lodged with An Bord Pleanála

03 November 2022

Twin tracking for Glounthaune to Midleton railway, part of the largest ever investment programme in the Cork rail network

Iarnród Éireann will lodge an application to An Bord Pleanála for a Railway Order for the construction of a second rail track along the 10km section of railway line between Glounthaune and Midleton in Co. Cork. 

The Railway Order application will be lodged by Coras Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), holding company for Iarnród Éireann, with An Bord Pleanála on Thursday 10th November.   An 8-week statutory public consultation period will follow commencing on Thursday 17th November 2022 and concluding on Thursday 12th January 2023.  

The upgrading of the line from the existing single track to new twin track railway, along with the completion of the new Kent Station through platform and the proposed signalling and communications upgrades will facilitate, with future fleet orders, the potential tripling of service frequency to a 10-minute service frequency each way compared to the current 30-minute service. 

This investment will enable a future service pattern of up to six trains per hour per direction from the current two which will increase capacity, foster better connectivity, and enhance the reliability of the Cork rail network. 

Delivering increased train capacity and frequency, whilst providing for more connected communities and a more sustainable transport network, the overall programme of works represents the largest ever investment in the Cork rail network.

The project is funded by the European Union Recovery and Resilience Facility, under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and is an integral part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, developed by the National Transport Authority.

Planned infrastructure elements

Following public consultation earlier in 2022, project plans have been finalised and the project team now moves to seek permission to proceed with construction. The main element of the Glounthaune to Midleton Twin Track project consists of the provision of a second track over the full extent of the line. Those works will largely be contained within the existing railway corridor and will include the following infrastructure elements: 

  • Addition of 2nd track over the full extent of the line
  • Addition of sidings/turn back facilities at Midleton
  • Modification/replacement of bridges and level crossings to facilitate the twin tracking
  • Associated signalling upgrades and alterations
  • All associated civil works (retaining walls, boundary treatments, etc.).

All works completed as part of the project will be compatible with future electrification of the Cork Area Commuter Rail network.

Railway Order Details

A stand-alone Railway Order application website will be live from 10th November, and will feature all of the Railway Order documentation. Hard copies of the documents will also be available to view at the locations listed below from Thursday 17th November. The website will also give details of how to obtain hard and soft copies of all or some aspects of the order. 

Any potentially impacted landowners and occupiers of lands reference in the Railway Order Application will be contacted directly in advance of the lodgement of the order. As part of the statutory consultation process, members of the public, prescribed bodies and directly impacted landowners and occupiers are welcome to make submissions from Thursday 17th November 2022 until Thursday 12th January 2023. 

It is anticipated that when the consultation period closes An Bord Pleanála will grant an oral hearing where members of the public and impacted parties can attend, make observations and ask questions of the project team. 

Subject to receiving An Bord Pleanála approval and funding allocation, it is anticipated that construction will commence in 2024 with expected completion in 2026.  

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D said: “Today marks an important milestone for the development of the Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme. This Government has committed €185m to the delivery of Phase 1 of the programme by the end of 2026, of which €164m is funded from the EU’s post-COVID Recovery and Resilience Plan to provide for improvements to Cork commuter rail as part of a more sustainable transport system. Delivery of double tracking between Glounthaune and Midleton is a key part of this programme and will help ensure that the Cork commuter network has sufficient capacity to cater for ambitious rail service upgrades planned for the future.”

Anne Graham, CEO, National Transport Authority (NTA) said: “The NTA welcomes the application to An Bord Pleanála for the Railway Order for the construction of a second rail line on the Glounthaune to Midleton track.  This development, if approved, will facilitate the tripling of services on this line significantly enhancing capacity for local communities and helping in the delivery of an integrated sustainable transport network for Cork”

Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann Jim Meade said: “Today is a great day as we see the next major milestone in the transformation of the Cork rail network being progressed. In conjunction with the wider programme of works to be delivered including new stations, more trains and a through platform at Kent Station, delivering twin tracking between Glounthaune and Midleton will make travelling with us more frequent, more efficient and more reliable.