Check against delivery
I am delighted to be here today to officially open this station, the first to be re-opened on the Cork/Midleton rail line.
I am looking forward to the reopening of the rail line itself. Following driver and signaller training on the route, I’m told that Irish Rail anticipate that passenger trains will start on this line in July. The services on opening will be half-hourly at peak and hourly off-peak and the route will be serviced by modern commuter rolling stock.
I expect this much anticipated service to be a great boost to the economy and social fabric of east Cork and I know that it will be well supported by locals.
The Midleton rail line to Cork was originally opened in 1859, and a passenger service was provided for over 100 years. It reflects the changing face of modern Ireland that we are now reopening railway lines to respond to new demands that had in the past been considered as serving no useful social or economic purpose
Even in the current difficult economic environment this Government is continuing to invest in top quality public transport alternatives. Commuters are looking for ways of leaving their cars at home and taking hassle free alternatives.
That’s why in my Department we are changing how in future we plan and deliver transport services in a way that gives people real alternatives. Earlier this year I published a new Smarter Travel policy document that has the potential to change how we all live and travel into the future.
The Cork Commuter Rail project has been enabled by, and is being developed in tandem with, the Cork Area Strategic Plan or CASP Plan for land use, transportation, social and environmental policies.
I see the CASP Plan as an example, developed by Cork’s local authorities, which can serve as a blueprint for others who wish to see rail play a role in the future development of their regions.
Work on the Cork Midleton rail project has included upgrading track on the disused Glounthaune to Midleton line through provision of a single track with a passing loop at Carrigtwohill, a new signalling system, the replacement of a range of level crossings with bridges, as well as boundary and drainage works.
This new station at Midleton includes lifts and footbridges making the facilities accessible for those with mobility and sensory impairments. Extensive car parking facilities (340 spaces) at the station will assist car based commuters not within walking distance of the station to park their cars and continue their journeys using sustainable transport.
I would like to conclude by thanking the Chairman, Chief Executive and staff of Irish Rail for their work in the development of this station and I wish all those who use the station and the services through it a safe, pleasant and speedy journey.