ON MAY 26 Iarnród éireann began the formal consultation process for a Railway Order giving powers to re-open the disused Glounthaune - Midleton line as part as its embryonic Cork commuter network (RG 7.04 p390).

Being funded from the Irish government’s Transport 21 investment programme, the work includes reinstatement of 10 km of single-track with a passing loop and intermediate station at Carrigtwohill. Five level crossings are to be replaced by road bridges. Construction is expected to start next year, with the line re-opening in 2008.

The €91m Cork commuter project includes construction of new stations at Blarney and Kilbarry on the main line to Dublin and at Dunkettle to the east of Cork city centre. IE plans to run two-car DMUs on three routes, north to Mallow, east to Midleton and southeast on the existing route to Cobh. Hourly off-peak services will increase to half-hourly in the peaks, with provision for a 15 min frequency in the longer term. n