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N71 - Cork to Bandon



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    There was nothing wrong with the old alignments. We use historic alignments today on over 95% of the rail network. The Danes etc use the old lines plus they added to them with dozens of new ones, plus cycle lanes, plus metros, plus bus gates etc etc. We built a line to the M3 Parkway and reopened a colonial tunnel. That's it. We would build new since the line wasn't protected like the WRC. Old twisty line problem solved.

    The EU is already fining us for failing to reach our emissions targets. These fines are going to cost us billions in the years ahead. The EIB lends cheap loans for green investment. Why we're not indulging in this is beyond me.

    Railway and high quality public transport is the answer to modern commuting, not roads. It's not the 1950s. We need to stop deluding ourselves that we have it right with the car. We're a laughing stock amongst our European peers regarding transport and it's past time we started acting like we're in Europe on this and many related issues. Part of that is embracing the European planning model. We got it so awfully wrong from the 60s onwards. Admit that and put it behind us by making serious amends now.

    There won't be a dual carriageway to West Cork under any government. It would take at least 8-12 years to build assuming planning started this year, which it won't, nor the next year, nor the year after that. That brings you to 2030 and beyond with the same problems as today. What's your alternative?

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 11,980 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cookiemunster

    You need to accept the reality of how low density the population of this country is and how many people live in one off rural homes. That is not going to change anytime soon even if you banned all one off housing from tomorrow (which also isn't going to happen). Rail is not the answer to rural commuting. It's definitely the answer in and around Dublin and along the heavily populated lines near Cork, but that's about it. It's unviable anywhere else.

    The line between Limerick and Athenry shows why reusing old 19th century alignments doesn't work. 2 hours to travel between Limerick and Galway. Two cities 70km apart.

    And again I ask what emissions from EV vehicles are the EU going to be fining us on? I never mentioned dual carriageway to West Cork. I was simply pointing out to you that only the Greens are against roads and there are more roads than the M20 that need to and will be built.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,374 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    The West Cork Railway is not reopening. There is absolutely no logic behind reopening it. Rail transit works well between densely populated areas. We're talking about Bandon here, not Tokyo. The West Cork Railway was disconnected from the rest of the network, a big issue for network operations. The terminus of the West Cork Railway is now an Aldi with a few apartments on top. The last 3km into the city is a dual carriageway carrying tens of thousands of cars per day. The route west of Chetwynd is in private ownership. I could go on. It's a non runner and so is a new alignment,

    West Cork is a very dispersed populated region with heavy seasonal traffic and one good road into the place. There is no other solution for solving its issues other than improved roads. The road into Cork from West Cork is busier than most of the motorways in this country. It carries 3x the traffic levels of the recently opened M17 near Tuam. It's a massive issue that constantly doesn't even get mentioned, let alone any proposals for it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 85,886 ✭✭✭✭JP Liz V1

    Bandon, north side needs a bypass relief road and resurfacing

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    "We're talking about Bandon here, not Tokyo."

    I'll bear your world view in mind when I take the train from Glasgow to the Highlands and sea ports of Scotland in a few weeks time. Rail is the norm there in a country with vast swathes of a low density, dispersed population. If you're going to use the Bandon vs Tokyo comparison, Bandon doesn't need a motorway or a dual carriageway either. Having a single train station in a town the size of Bandon that feeds into a city is not unusual in any country in Europe.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    "Only the Greens are against roads"

    They're against relying upon roads as the sole means of transport. FFG have been in government with others on and off for 100 years. They made this country completely reliant on the car. They decimated rail and tramways and made a mess of urban planning. They're the ones who are against PT, only now deciding that maybe the things they have in Europe are a good idea. It's only taken them 100 years to evolve their mindset. At least the Greens are honest about their views and their intentions. FFG will tell you they want to improve the road to West Cork. Why didn't they do it already? Where's the proof they have any intention of doing anything? They'll tell you what you want to hear and you'll be on this or (more likely) another platform complaining that the road X and Y is not up to standard. FFG will still be mouthing minus actions and the Greens et al will be blamed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,547 ✭✭✭AugustusMinimus

    Scotland has a completely different population spread compared to Ireland.

    Ireland has one off housing everywhere and an incredible number of small towns with populations under 2,000 people. Those towns are also evenly spread across the country in almost square shape,

    Scotland is very different. Scotland has bigger cities, less towns and less one of housing. A lot of the country is mountainous with little population. Most of the population can also be linked via a single rail line going from Ayr - Glasgow - Edinburgh and from there, up the east coast.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Also importantly, Scotland's rail network is old. The West Cork Railway is sadly gone. This isn't like Youghal, where the alignment is under CIE ownership, it's actually all private land now. Particularly where it connects into the city, the alignment is gone and it would be very difficult to re-establish now, far more difficult than in the 1800's.

    I'm not against rail development at all, but the idea of developing West Cork is really really long-shot stuff.

    It will be a greeenway first, and that's in planning.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Scotland still has rail to very remote and random locations way up along the coast and highlands. We don't even have a train station in Swords or Navan, let alone a tram to the airport in Edinburgh and one of the oldest metros in the world in Glasgow. If the will existed, there could be a railway to Bandon at the very least. Stop with the endless excuses. The old alignment is gone? Great, find a new one. We seem to have no problem finding routes for motorways, which require 6 times or more the width of a single track railway line.

    Building a motorway/dual carrigeway to West Cork is the same as the Galway ring road problem: it only provides space for more cars. It doesn't stop the real problem, too many cars are coming into Cork and Galway in the first place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭Aontachtoir

    A greenway over the viaduct would become an instant landmark attraction, especially if the subsequent tunnel is reopened. What a route a Bandon Greenway would be.

    Separately, there is no way that a West Cork railway will ever be viable, at least not in our lifetimes. The railway wasn't even viable in the 1960s, and all it had to compete with back then were buses, bicycles, and horses.

    As for Scotland, if only Ireland had the quality of road infrastructure that they have!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    You're making some mistaken assumptions.

    Firstly, yes, we don't have a train to Swords. There should be a train to Dublin airport. This has nothing to do with Bandon.

    Next, our national rail company's capacity to deliver new rail infrastructure is limited. They do not have a steady stream of projects from any election cycle to the next, so they cannot justify a large team to deliver infrastructure. For many years, there were no projects being undertaken. That is not their fault.

    With their limited team, they can scale up, but it takes time. They will focus on the priority items. In Cork that will be Kilbarry, Water Rock, Kent Passing Loop and outer platform for through-running, Midleton two-tracking, and Blarney. On the longer list for Cork are Carrigtwohill East, Dunkettle P&R, Monard, commuter electrification, Tivoli. Bandon comes AFTER that long list. Prioritising Bandon above those would be wasteful. Prioritising Bandon above much more important projects like Dublin Airport would be senseless. This is why I described it as a "long-shot". With finite resources, you pick your battles. Bandon is well down the list.

    While we wait for that rail line (it would take a decade or more) road traffic on the N71 does not decrease. Particularly HGV's need to be accommodated, unless we couple your proposed commuter rail plan with a freight rail plan. You may have considered it, but I don't know how freight would get from a City rail terminus to Ringaskiddy. So the options there are to leave the N71 as-is, while traffic increases, to the point where the N71 ceases to function, or else to do something about it. If you do nothing, West Cork suffers. That might be acceptable to you, but it's not acceptable to everyone.

    Next assumption - "find a new alignment". You're being glib, so I'll be glib too: this isn't like an Easter egg hunt, with an alignment hidden and waiting to be found. If you believe there's an available option for rail into the city from the West then the onus is on you to tell us what that alignment might be. The onus is not on anyone else to conjure up your argument for you. If you think there's a viable solution, it's up to you to tell us.

    Next assumption - "stop with endless excuses". You're confusing excuses with facts. I don't make excuses for unsustainable infrastructure.

    Next assumption - "is the same as the Galway Ring Road". It's unbelievably different to the Galway Ring Road. One skirts a city, the other links a city with a nearest settlement over 20km away as the crow flies. One is being pushed heavily to enable "development" or "growth", the other being discussed in order to enable direct connectivity. One is being actively planned for, the other is not. The only things they have in common are the end user types and the country.

    Finally, as I already have said, the best short-term (next 10-20 years) option to keep West-Cork cars out of the city is to create a transport hub on the west of the city. Firstly a bus P&R, then later direct connection to the proposed future light rail terminus. But we must also acknowledge that a lot of N71 vehicles are not going to the city, either, many are going around the city, trying to avoid it entirely.

    I don't often find myself arguing the merits of roads upgrades, but there you are.

    And look, I'm not saying "no West Cork Rail", I'm just saying it's way way way down the list.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    The onus is not on me to find routes for a railway line but a logical one would go from Bandon by the airport and after that I don't know. I'm not an engineer. They found plenty of room for the M28, M50 etc within an existing urban environment. You seem to be very certain it's not possible. Remarkable then that so many here believe there's room for a dual carriageway or motorway along a route that has houses, private entrances, schools along some of its route. If you're going to build a new route, where's it going to go and explain why a railway route couldn't be built alongside it?

    I never said that Bandon or West Cork rail should take priority over all the others you mentioned. Fyi, I don't believe CMATS will see the light of day in terms of trams or even the obvious like a station at Blarney, because we can't even get a metro built in Dublin until 2035 now. I said it is right that people are campaigning for it so that at least authorities might plan for an alternative in the longer term, because this is the reality: you won't get a dual carriageway/motorway to West Cork. End of. It's not happening. If it was such a major issue for people, they should have done more to lobby for it when the political climate was favourable towards it. It is not sustainable to keep building roads reactively to cater for the least efficient form of transport. If many in West Cork are driving towards the city to avoid it, great, another argument for a tramway in Cork to take them to Kent, not an argument for an upgraded N71 however. Since the tram probably won't happen either, best to build a few P and Rs to stem the flow of congestion into Cork.

    The era of new roads is ending, save what's in planning now and work on safety issues on national secondaries. Yes, build a P and R in the interim, the transport hub you mentioned etc. That's the best you'll get because you've left it too late to decide/complain that West Cork needs an upgraded N71. The Greens won't stop it, our climate targets and the national change in priorities away from roads is stopping it. It's 2022 and absolutely nothing exists in planning in terms of upgrading this stretch, nor will there be anything apart from grand statements like we get on so many issues here. Focus on stopping the cars coming into Cork with P and R and more buses because that's all that's coming.

  • Registered Users Posts: 231 ✭✭specialbyte

    The EU fines exist today. It costs us about €125M a year. It's also not true that within a decade majority of vehicles will be emissions free. We have 46,000 EVs registered on Irish roads at end of 2021. The climate action plan (CAP) goal is to have 945,000 EVs on the road by 2030. There are 2.2m registered vehicles in Ireland. At best by 2030 we're looking at about ~40% of vehicles being potentially zero emissions if charging off a clean grid. We're aiming for 80% green energy by 2030. The CAP goal is also extremely ambitious and many car experts don't believe the industry could supply enough EVs to meet demand if all countries aim as high as Ireland.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    You may not be local to Cork but the gradients around the airport would not allow this. Unfortunately there are limitations to what rail can do. If you want to tie in the airport, you probably would need to tunnel through the heart of spur hill and have an underground station deep in the hillside under the airport or something. Again, I'll assume you don't know Cork, but spur hill is the transmission mast for broadcast comms in the city. Cork's equivalent of Dublin's three rock mountain. You have suggested that a railway line should traverse a point of topographical prominence. This isn't reasonable.

    The onus absolutely IS on you to present your argument for a railway line from Bandon into the city, only because you've dismissed people's very serious technical challenges as excuses. They're not excuses, rather reasons why it would be so difficult to achieve.

    Regarding CMATS I agree with you, it will be incredibly difficult to get the sustainable transport infrastructure from CMATS into reality. Which is why adding more "dream" infrastructure to the pile is not helpful. We urgently need to focus attention on the delivery of the low-hanging-fruits of sustainable transport that are more viable.

    You're then saying that it's not sustainable to keep building roads to cater for the least efficient form of transport, but rail to Bandon would absolutely be inefficient. Rail has limitations. All mass transit does. Just because there's a train station in Bandon, doesn't mean anyone will use it. There is a train station in Mallow but very many cars drive to the city every day.

    On the issue of Kent station being the logical transit hub for people coming from Bandon, they're not all trying to get to Limerick or Dublin, they're trying to get to Ringaskiddy, Waterford, Hollyhill, etc. Rail is a very desirable and sustainable transport solution, but it is not the solution to all problems. Proposing rail for every transport problem is not serious.

    I don't care about who or what you think will stop an N71 road project, there won't be a train station on that corridor in the medium term. So your argument is effectively for no new infrastructure for West Cork. I believe this may be called letting the perfect bully the good.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    There won't be any improvements to the N71 on the scale some are calling for here. It's delusional in the extreme. I didn't decide that, it's just not going to happen. I'll allude to the above poster's comment about EVs. How silly do the proponents of a dual carriageway to West Cork think we are? We're only now starting to embrace EVs and the majority will be using diesel and petrol for the foreseeable. Those campaigning (belatedly, that ship has sailed) for an M/N7 motorway-dual carriageway are essentially asking us, the whole country, to justify their choice to stay in their cars on a route that has no major safety issues and is only congested because nobody uses alternatives or alternatives don't exist yet (are you looking for them?), despite all the congestion they cause, indefinitely, because of course more roads always mean more cars.

    This, when national planning and transport policy is permanently moving away from this model; this, years after the road boom took place here when we had the EU grants to fund it; this, when we're already being fined for failing to reach our carbon emissions targets, yet you want us to make an exception for West Cork now, which suddenly decides as a region that it's a political issue, to ignore national policy to build a dual carriageway to West Cork, asides from the fact this is nowhere to be found on any NDP or policy document? It's not going to happen.

    A railway to the West probably won't happen either, but honestly get real and read the room. You'll get a few bends removed and perhaps full bypasses of towns/villages, such as Inishannon and Bandon, since that fits into national policy. Focus on stopping cars being on the roads in the first place by providing PT and P and R.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    I somewhat disagree with you. The stretch from halfway to the viaduct isn't far off DC already. I'd say it'll be done alright. The piece between Bandon and Halfway is the bit that the others are focusing on, which you don't think will happen.

    I understand where you're coming from, and your heart is in the right place, but remember that towns in West Cork are nearly as far from Cork City as Galway is from Dublin. It's faster to get from Cork City to Limerick or Dublin than it is to get from Cork City to some towns in West Cork. It is very remote. You're not going to get those people out of cars. It really doesn't matter what we do, their settlement patterns are fairly unsustainable. The best we can do is to try and provide them with everything they need, locally to them, and then subsidise the bus massively to provide a very high quality service, that when it reaches the city, is prioritised above other modes. In addition, we need to heavily disincentivise those people from trying to bring their cars into the city. But they're not going to stop travelling, and they will drive. Unfortunately.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    How erudite of you. Someone has been rattled, so much so he (defo a man who probably says Cork is the real capital of Ireland) has retorted with juvenile insults, one being very novel (a wittert?) because that's evidently as far as he can go when it comes to transport analysis.

    There will be no N71 motorway or dual carriageway. How do I know this? Because it's not on any policy document in the TII, DoT etc, it goes against Project 2040, the NDP, the NPF, our carbon emissions targets, our spatial and rural planning policies, it's way too late highlighting it now, it's a waste of money/we can't afford it anyway, the road is not a priority since it wouldn't be a safety issue project, merely a means of bringing more cars into and around Cork, other motorways such as the M20 aren't even guaranteed, let alone this one, I could go on and on.

    I still think a railway to Bandon would be a highly utilised piece of infrastructure which would obviously require state investment and subsidies, as with most rail lines. It won't happen of course because this is Ireland, but I champion those in West Cork who are at least highlighting an alternative perspective, proving that not everyone believes the lie that a big road to the city will solve the connectivity issues West Cork has, or lead to a seamless journey from Bandon onwards. It'll do the exact opposite: increase car dependancy and choke the city and its environs to a standstill.

    Yes, West Cork is as far from Cork City as X is to Y. Yes, most probably won't leave their cars. That's their choice. It's not the State's responsibility to make matters worse by incentivising even more cars on the roads into and around Cork City and environs.

    Roll on more buses, there is a dearth of buses to West Cork and it's not good enough. Build P and Rs liberally, implement CMATS (sadly can't see this happening based on current stalemates elsewhere). Yes, some towns should be bypassed on the route; there are also notable bends between Glengarriff and Rosscarbery which ought to be realigned, both of which are compatible with national policy on the grounds of safety, quality of life, efficiency and the environment.

    That's as far as this is going to go. You all know this, so what's the point in debating a Narnialand of an M/N71 that isn't even on paper alongside the many other pointless projects at 'pre-appraisal' or 'feasibility stage', which themselves are only there to pacify other delusionists and nothing more.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Well with respect, we're both playing a game of predicting the future here.

    I disagree with you, but we'll only find out which of us is more or less correct in 10 or 15 years from now!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,495 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    There’s justification as far as Bandon for 2+2. Beyond that, the traffic volumes really don’t support it. The newest section of N71, from Halfway to the dualled section just South of the Viaduct is pretty much good for a 2+2 to go in straight away. The multiple residential accesses on the northbound carriageway into Cork, (which is basically the old N71 road re-purposed into half a DC) could also be re-routed.

    But the real bottleneck on N71 is between the end of the dual-carriageway section and the N40, which is a mass of local industrial and commercial accesses. There’s land available to build local-access roads to loop around the back of these sites, but the necessary bridge and tie-ups would be expensive.

    On the subject of rail, I only recently discovered that one of the original proposed sites for an airport in Cork was somewhere near Carrigtwohill/Water Rock. I can’t help wondering what could have been if they’d chosen that option instead of building it where it is now at Ballygarvan: leaving aside the convenience of being closer to the national road network (and the lower risk of fog), using the existing fixed rail link to serve the airport would have provided the passenger-numbers to justify considerable expansion of commuter-rail around the city itself.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,104 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Yeah Ahanesk I think it was. It was still a nice bit from the rail line, but would have been very manageable. It would have been foggy, because it was proposed, like Shannon, for water-planes. But it would have been so much better than the current location!

    I definitely think there's scope for a proper multi-modal transit hub to the West of the city, tying in the proposed light rail, the N71 and the N22. The N71 could perhaps come through the valley from the viaduct towards Marymount, and upgrade that junction significantly, but I don't think it would be any better than the current BRR interchange to be honest. A real engineering challenge.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭cjpm

    Re the airport.

    They knew back then that it was a terrible location. But brown envelopes talk.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,538 ✭✭✭kub

    Shame that the guy who wrote the book about the history of Cork Airport had so many facts wrong so.

    Maybe he was in on it too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,495 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    @kub, off-topic, I know, but can you share the title and author? I’d be interested in reading it.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Or maybe his printers had good lawyers who revised his draft before it went to print!

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,538 ✭✭✭kub

    Yes off topic, but just to address a point that came up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,871 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    In essence, they're getting rid of that horrible downhill T junction and roundabout at the Kilbrittain Road and continuing the relief road behind the Grammar School and Oldchurch, coming out somewhere between the rugby club and the recycling centre. Bring it on!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,547 ✭✭✭AugustusMinimus

    Assume they’ll have a roundabout where the new road will go through the Kilbrittain road? It will also create a junction with the R602.

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  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 12,692 Mod ✭✭✭✭JupiterKid

    Is this the same Bandon "relief" road that was started about 30-odd years ago, only goes around half of the town and dumps you back into the middle of Bandon?

    Talk about overdue!!