The rail network provides direct and reliable access to Cork City Centre from a significant portion of its east and northern Metropolitan Cork catchment area. This Strategy proposes to maximise opportunities offered by the existing suburban rail network to support the travel needs across the CMA. Maximising the potential of the rail corridor will support better integration of land use planning and public transport.
This approach is consistent with Cork County Council’s adopted planning policy framework to intensify residential and commercial activity at Cobh, Midleton, Carrigtwohill and, in part, provides justification for new greenfield development at the UAEs of Blarney/ Stoneview, Wate Rock and Monard. The provision of new train stations at Blackpool and Tivoli is consistent with Cork City’s Council’s Development Plan objective to significantly intensify development around these locations. A key element of this Strategy will be to enable through services at Kent Station. This will increase connectivity between the Mallow – Cork lines and the Midleton/ Cobh – Cork lines without the need to change platforms at Kent Station. The availability of an existing passing platform at Kent Station means that this objective can be achieved relatively quickly within the short term.
In June 2021, the Government announced a €185m investment in commuter rail in Cork as part of the new Government’s new recovery plan. As part of the plan, a significant allocation will be made to supporting investments addressing the green transition including future electrification through targeted investment in Cork commuter rail, providing significant capacity increases on the Cork Area Commuter Rail network, including construction of a through platform at Kent Station, line doubling between Glounthaune and Midleton, and re-signalling, with a view to future electrification.