IRELAND: The Cork Area Commuter Rail programme is progressing ‘swiftly’, according to Iarnród Éireann CEO Jim Meade, with the award of the signalling works contract for the project.
The programme to upgrade the lines radiating from Cork to Mallow, Cobh and Midleton is intended to improve reliability and support an increase in local train services from half-hourly to every 10 min. It has three main elements.
The first is the construction of an additional 220 m through platform at Cork Kent station to facilitate through running from Mallow to Cobh and Midleton, eliminating the need for passengers to change trains. Contracts have been awarded and work is due to start soon.
Planning is underway for the second element, which will see the double tracking of 10 km between Glounthaune and Midleton.
On August 21 Alstom announced that it had been awarded a ‘groundbreaking’ contract for the third element, which will see the installation of a Smartlock computer-based interlocking covering 62 route-km and the deployment of ETCS Level 1 train protection technology.
The Smartlock CBI will be the foundation for the signalling scheme, directly interfacing with axle counters and trackside objects through SmartIO to eliminate the need for intermediate relays.
Iarnród Éireann has awarded Egis a four-year contract to provide project management support during the signalling, electrical and telecoms works.
Meade said the CACR programme would ‘transform the capacity of our Cork commuter rail network, and position us well to move forward with other rail projects under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, including the critical delivery of new stations’.
The wider strategy envisages electrification or the use of battery trains on the three suburban routes, construction of a new depot and the opening of stations at Blarney/Stoneview, Monard, Blackpool/Kilbarry, Tivoli, Dunkettle, Carrigtwohill West, Water Rock and Ballynoe.