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Theoretical Cork Suburban/Commuter Lines

  • 27-02-2021 11:11am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ ncounties


    I had my crayons out again this morning, thinking of ways sub-urban rail transport could be improved in Cork.

    One thought includes a 5km heavy rail tunnel - I know we don't have something like this in Dublin but hear me out - where it begins to the west of Kent station, before continuing on to St. Patrick St/Grand Parade, where there would be an underground station. It would then continue on to UCC, where there'd be another underground station, before turning south and end just south of South Side Industrial Station.

    There could be an above ground station here, which could coincide with redevelopment of the estate to residential. The line would then continue on to past east of the airport, where another station would be provided. There'd then be two options, continue on to Kinsale, or more likely continue on to Carrigaline. Preferably, two spurs to both locations could be provided.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭ Zaney


    ncounties wrote: »
    I had my crayons out again this morning, thinking of ways sub-urban rail transport could be improved in Cork.

    One thought includes a 5km heavy rail tunnel - I know we don't have something like this in Dublin but hear me out - where it begins to the west of Kent station, before continuing on to St. Patrick St/Grand Parade, where there would be an underground station. It would then continue on to UCC, where there'd be another underground station, before turning south and end just south of South Side Industrial Station.

    There could be an above ground station here, which could coincide with redevelopment of the estate to residential. The line would then continue on to past east of the airport, where another station would be provided. There'd then be two options, continue on to Kinsale, or more likely continue on to Carrigaline. Preferably, two spurs to both locations could be provided.

    I admire your ambition and definitely something significant has to be done to improve public transport in Cork.

    But I don’t see the concentration of demand you’d need. UCC is near empty for a significant portáin of the year. Can’t see how it would work if you still let people drive around above ground. You might even have to close Patrick St anyway to build the station access.

    Would people bother to climb up and down escalators for relatively short trips?

    And if you stop people driving, why not just build a luas on the free’d up space. Much easier for passengers to access.


  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ ncounties


    Zaney wrote: »
    I admire your ambition and definitely something significant has to be done to improve public transport in Cork.

    But I don’t see the concentration of demand you’d need. UCC is near empty for a significant portáin of the year. Can’t see how it would work if you still let people drive around above ground. You might even have to close Patrick St anyway to build the station access.

    Would people bother to climb up and down escalators for relatively short trips?

    And if you stop people driving, why not just build a luas on the free’d up space. Much easier for passengers to access.

    Whilst I think trams would be much better for inner city transport, I was more concerned about suburban/commuter transport. Enabling individuals in Kinsale/Carrigaline to get to the city centre, or use rail for their whole journey to locations further afield (say Dublin) was the main purpose of the scheme. Hence the desire to connect these lines with Kent Station.

    To do so would require extreme rerouting, demolition or tunnelling. Tunnelling felt like the most appropriate, and the two underground stations serve only to provide more value from the scheme (they would be elsewhere), but they are in themselves, not the reason for the scheme.

    With city centre stops though in a number of locations, commuter services could run from say Kinsale to Cobh, making rail transport even more attractive for those living in local towns/villages with existing services, or travelling from further afield.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,023 ✭✭✭ thomil


    Leaving aside the fact that none of this would ever get built given the intransigence of the local population and the manifest incompetence of the city council & executive, any type of underground track through Cork city is foolhardy to put it mildly. The entire city centre sits on a deep layer of sediments that makes tunneling a pain in the neck, not to mention prohibitively expensive.

    If you insist on a suburban rail network for Cork, the Karlsruhe model would be the best option. Faced with a similar situation, the city of Karlsruhe opted to utilise existing heavy rail lines to run tram lines into the suburbs and rural areas beyond. This has since been adopted by other cities in Germany, such as Kassel or Chemnitz for example.

    With this model, you could still have your suburban lines outside the city, which would merge with the road system to traverse the city center, only for them to then connect to the existing suburban network at Kent Station. Google "Stadtbahn Karlsruhe" to see what I mean.

    Good luck trying to figure me out. I haven't managed that myself yet!



  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭ Zaney


    thomil wrote: »
    Leaving aside the fact that none of this would ever get built given the intransigence of the local population and the manifest incompetence of the city council & executive, any type of underground track through Cork city is foolhardy to put it mildly. The entire city centre sits on a deep layer of sediments that makes tunneling a pain in the neck, not to mention prohibitively expensive.

    If you insist on a suburban rail network for Cork, the Karlsruhe model would be the best option. Faced with a similar situation, the city of Karlsruhe opted to utilise existing heavy rail lines to run tram lines into the suburbs and rural areas beyond. This has since been adopted by other cities in Germany, such as Kassel or Chemnitz for example.

    With this model, you could still have your suburban lines outside the city, which would merge with the road system to traverse the city center, only for them to then connect to the existing suburban network at Kent Station. Google "Stadtbahn Karlsruhe" to see what I mean.

    I too would think the geology would make it near impossible, but the Jack Lynch tunnel got built and I don’t know enough to say there wouldn’t be technical solutions.

    Would agree a tram/train approach makes more sense. The Luas green line is not unlike that and 25km long and planned to be extended more.

    But still pointless. Carrigaline with its cul de sacs of semi-d’s and dispersed trips to Ringaskiddy, and across Cork and beyond is built for the car.

    Kinsale is too small and too far removed (as in too much greenfield to get through)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    The flooding Cork City suffers from would also pose many issues for underground stations.

    Keep in mind Cork City center is an island and once a partial swamp. Cork use to be like Venice with Patrick St etc. were canals until they were filled in.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,023 ✭✭✭ thomil


    Zaney wrote: »
    I too would think the geology would make it near impossible, but the Jack Lynch tunnel got built and I don’t know enough to say there wouldn’t be technical solutions.

    Oh, there are technical solutions, no doubt about that. Hamburg just finished building a fully-fledged underground line into what is essentially reclaimed tidal flats in the city's old port, in the shape of the extension of the U4 line into the "HafenCity" redevelopment. It's just very complex. Also, an underground line would require quite a bit more excavation than just a mere tunnel. You need stations with stairs/escalators & elevators, possibly emergency exits and all that, watertight doors to seal off tunnel segments or stations in case of flooding, I think you get the picture ;)

    For what would in effect be a very short line, this seems like overkill to me.

    Good luck trying to figure me out. I haven't managed that myself yet!



  • Registered Users Posts: 534 ✭✭✭ rebs23


    We already have dedicated Cork commuter lines to Cobh and Midleton with a shared commuter line to Mallow. There are extensive proposals in CMATS for new stations along the network in Blarney, Blackpool, Dunkettle and Water Rock (I think) so lets use and maximise use on the existing network. This is not including the light rail proposed for the City in CMATS.
    Seems there are lots fanciful rail project proposals in this forum. Could we not concentrate on the ones that are feasible?


  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭ ncounties


    rebs23 wrote: »
    We already have dedicated Cork commuter lines to Cobh and Midleton with a shared commuter line to Mallow. There are extensive proposals in CMATS for new stations along the network in Blarney, Blackpool, Dunkettle and Water Rock (I think) so lets use and maximise use on the existing network. This is not including the light rail proposed for the City in CMATS.
    Seems there are lots fanciful rail project proposals in this forum. Could we not concentrate on the ones that are feasible?

    It’s an infrastructure forum. We’re allowed to discuss theoretical or actual (many of which are theoretical anyway) infrastructure schemes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,169 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    A commuter line to Carrigaline with at least two stations in the Carrigaline area would be great, sharing track with a spur line to Ringaskiddy which would also accommodate Freight. Impose a toll for cars using the M28 from North of Carrigaline to discourage it's use as a commuter motorway and promote the rail alternative. Additional stations in the Douglas area would be most welcome.

    They're still building semi ds in cul de sacs on the edge of the mess that is Carrigaline, so prob not much point talking about it if this is what is considered sustainable development.

    https://www.google.ie/maps/@51.8050797,-8.3939641,3a,75y,119.36h,82.72t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sxO2pTo4gfOhLposvKEO6CQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo0.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DxO2pTo4gfOhLposvKEO6CQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D140.33888%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192

    Long term Skib, Clonakilty and Bandon do need a rail connection to Cork, perhaps this would be less of a commuter and more of an intercity route though given the distance and lack of stops.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,998 ✭✭✭✭ namloc1980


    While I enjoy thinking about potential improvements to Cork transport the fact that we can't organise a functioning bus lane on Patrick Street doesn't inspire confidence that larger scale projects will ever see the light of day or at least will take a ludicrously long time to deliver.

    It's a year since the final version of CMATS was published (nearly 2 years since the draft was published) and when you look at CMATS implementation timeframe the only element of an improvement to the Cork suburban rail network envisaged by 2026 is through running at Kent Station! That's it. All the important stuff like electrification, increased frequency and dual tracking to Midleton are kicked out to closer to 2040. The timelines in CMATS are utterly unambitious and disappointing.

    You're talking 30+ years for any possibility of rail lines to Carrigaline or West Cork to even be on the agenda for discussion. 50+ years for implementation (and that's probably being overly optimistic).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,093 ✭✭✭ snotboogie


    Carrigaline is currently the second biggest town in Ireland without a rail line or a rail line planned. It will almost certainly overtake Letterkenny’s population in the next few years, possibly by this years census, to take first spot. Douglas is the biggest suburb in Ireland without a rail line or a rail line planned. Both Douglas and Carrigaline are completely excluded from the planned light rail and commuter rail networks. If another line was to be added to plans for Cork it would have to be Carrigaline to the city centre via Douglas.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,263 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    There is no chance of it happening before 2050 but if a new commuter rail line was to be created in Cork, surely it would have to follow the South Link Road, either taking half the roadspace or under in a cut and cover tunnel. C'n'C would be so disruptive for so long that it may be better to just take the roadspace permanently.

    In the city, it may have to do a loop, up Eglinton Street then round by Kent before heading south again. At the southern end, it could swing east along the N40 to Douglas, etc. Potentially it could also split with a spur going to the airport.



  • Registered Users Posts: 391 ✭✭ moceri


    The irony is that there was a railway line to Carrigaline up until 1932. Closed by the Great Southern Railways as it was not profitable.



  • Registered Users Posts: 48 agoodusername


    I actually think that the tunnel idea has some real merit, as it would allow for potential links in a number of directions without needing to demolish much of the city centre. We also should note the huge number of towns to the south and west of the city that would be better served by trains than trams, and a more central station would be a reasonable requirement for serving these areas.

    I'd suggest that any route going south would be best off going towards Kinsale. There are several busy towns/villages and more importantly, the airport and the business park. It would also allow for the unlikely reintroduction of rail to the west Cork towns, as there would be little need to rebuild a second line through the densely population parts of the city.

    It really is ridiculous that there's never any mention of a proper network serving Douglas and that direction though, even by tram.



  • Registered Users Posts: 610 ✭✭✭ Pablo Escobar


    There is a relatively easy win (heavy emphasis on 'relatively' here) and I've never heard it mentioned. Turn Kent station into a 100% through station. Build a new station at Victoria Road, smack bang in the middle of all of the new developments. Cork-Dublin mainline goes through Kent, and swings across the river further down Horgans Quay and into the new station. It will also allow for a future 'fantasy' line through the southside/city. Separately, the Cobh/Midleton line could follow the proposed new bridge from the skew bridge and come into the new station which would give options on that eastern corridor given that it is actually going to be developed.

    Total fantasy, but I do worry that we'll develop this huge Brownfield area and not incorporate nearly enough public transport provisions.



  • Registered Users Posts: 16,998 ✭✭✭✭ namloc1980


    Interesting. Can't find any plans for this but I hope they include some new pedestrian access to the new platforms instead of just relying on the existing underpass which brings you up to platform 5 at the northern end. Commuter rail needs to be quick and handy and not send people on a walkabout of Kent to get a train.



  • Registered Users Posts: 610 ✭✭✭ Pablo Escobar


    I was wondering how they were going to manage the space on the passing loop side. Walls would have had to have been knocked and that might have been an issue. I genuinely hope that’s not the only reason though.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,330 ✭✭✭ hans aus dtschl


    Am I reading that correctly, that they're effectively pushing the new platform to the East of the station?

    As has been said, I hope they don't rely on the existing subway if so. But I don't see any other way, if I'm honest.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,023 ✭✭✭ thomil


    To be honest, I don't think there'll be many people who actually change to other trains. Most of the commuters will likely either transfer to the buses departing from the south side of the station or heading to the new offices at Horgan's Quay and Penrose Dock. And for those, the existing subway is honestly the best option.

    Good luck trying to figure me out. I haven't managed that myself yet!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,330 ✭✭✭ hans aus dtschl


    The most common change I can think of would be a Cobh/Midleton to Dublin change, and that shouldn't be a big deal.

    A Cobh/Midleton to Mallow change would be a problem though.

    Perhaps they can have all of the Mallow trains running through the station, but they can't all go to both Cobh and Midleton. What I'm specifically thinking of here would be - for instance - a Midleton to Blackpool commute, or a Cobh to Blackpool commute. Having these people do a slow change in Kent would be annoying, possibly to the point of being impractical.



  • Registered Users Posts: 614 ✭✭✭ sheff the ref


    There is a similar situation in Dublin


    If a Cork passenger wished to travel to Belfast, that passenger must alight at Heuston and get the Luas across to Connolly. When booking, one cannot even choose to alight from Cork in a Kildare, Newbridge or a similar station, board a commuter to Connolly via Phoenix Park Tunnel and transfer again to Belfast.

    There should be direct trains to Connolly from Cork, just like there should be direct trains from the Mallow side to the Midleton side

    Journeys are unnecessarily longer than they should be which as you say is impractical



  • Registered Users Posts: 86 ✭✭ Risoc


    I'm a little lost here.

    Isn't the Commuter line going to be a through-line so that you just stay in your seat at Kent if you're going to Mallow from Cobh or Midleton?



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,761 ✭✭✭✭ LXFlyer


    Surely, in the event of all trains not being through services, those passengers could change at Glounthaune or Little Island?

    I think that you're exaggerating this somewhat. With two branches in East Cork, people travelling to the individual legs will have to choose their service as needs be. That's what using a timetable is for.

    We have not even seen proposed service patterns yet in any case.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,761 ✭✭✭✭ LXFlyer



    Sending Intercity services to trundle around to Connolly, and it would trundle, and then use up a path in both directions across the station throat to get into Connolly Station really isn't a good use of the available track capacity.

    Add to that, you would need additional rolling stock as the end to end journey time would be extended by having to loop around to Connolly and turnaround times would be impossible using the existing stock.

    Also adding stops at Kildare or Newbridge on the Dublin/Cork services would extend journey times further when the railway is trying to reduce end-to-end journey times.

    It is perfectly normal for people to use city transport such as LUAS between intercity stations in cities. People take the Underground between London stations and the Metro in Paris for example.

    Now perhaps a timetable recast could see the Portlaoise Commuters redirected to Grand Canal Dock in place of the Hazelhatch shuttles. But again, that would need work to see if its actually feasible in terms of available rolling stock.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,330 ✭✭✭ hans aus dtschl


    I'm not exaggerating at all, as one of the few people I know who has attempted the transfer! Little Island and Glounthaune are not easy places to transfer. Nobody is going to do it more than once or twice, realistically.

    You're talking about having people wait in the cold in Glounthaune or Little Island for a transfer to get to Blackpool: absolutely nobody will do it. They'll prefer to go direct to Kent and taxi/cycle/walk from there. At best. Or just drive, as most do currently. And accordingly the whole concept of a commuter network falls apart.

    For a specific example of how little I'm exaggerating, I recently ordered a Taxi from Kent to Little Island rather than to wait in Kent for 75 mins in Kent for a connection.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,330 ✭✭✭ hans aus dtschl


    Absolutely.

    But the Mallow trains can't all go directly to both Cobh AND Midleton!

    And Mallow has a roughly an hourly service. So you'd potentially be waiting 2 hours for a through-train to/from the Mallow line (Blackpool, Blarney, Mallow). Almost nobody will be willing to do that.

    So the alternative is a fast transfer in Kent. But if the subway is 100m or 200m away from the platform, you simply MUST schedule plenty of time for that change, to facilitate those people who can't move quite so quickly.

    So what I'm saying is that the subway placement could actually be a reasonably significant issue for some future commuters.

    Edit: thomil alludes to it above: with the closer proximity of a bus stop, and with a higher frequency of bus, they'll possibly lose passengers to the bus, at best. Lose passengers overall, at worst, if that subway is at the other side of the train station.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,761 ✭✭✭✭ LXFlyer


    If it’s high frequency, and a same platform change, how are Little Island or Glounthaune difficult places to change?


    You seem to be basing all of this on current service levels. The whole point of the CMATS plan is to have a high frequency service from Mallow through Cork to either Midleton or Cobh. It certainly won’t be an hourly service.

    And passengers going to/from either of the east Cork branches would do exactly what people going to/from Howth or Malahide do - they check the timetable beforehand and get the train that goes to/from their branch.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,330 ✭✭✭ hans aus dtschl


    OK, let's phrase it the opposite of what I think: It'll be a big success. People in East Cork will do what people in Howth or Malahide do. This new platform will provide the additional rolling stock, drivers, stations and schedule changes required to deliver the higher frequencies aspired to in CMATS. There's no reason the subway should be located close to the platform in Kent. And Glounthaune and Little Island are fine places to change trains.

    In fairness, neither station is absolutely terrible for changes, but there's no sheltered seating, no station master for mobility impaired access, no lifts to change platforms, not even toilets or vending machines. They're not absolutely terrible, but they're not currently good places to change trains.

    Does anyone else on this thread actually commute using the East Cork trains? Care to tell us whether mine is an isolated opinion?



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