Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Rail Network

Photo of James O'ConnorJames O'Connor (Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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98. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the CMATS projects; the timeline for the delivery of the opening of the stations within this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13283/24]

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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The Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy will deliver an accessible, integrated transport network that enables the sustainable growth of the Cork Metropolitan Area, both now and for the decades to come. We have already made good progress in delivering key projects within the strategy, including the Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme.

The Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme represents the largest investment in the rail network in Cork undertaken by the State. The programme includes the delivery of increased train capacity and frequency, providing for more connected communities and a more sustainable transport network. The three phase 1 elements of the programme, a signalling upgrade, the development of a through-platform at Kent Station, and double-tracking from Glounthaune to Midleton are on track to be completed by the end of 2026.

A Preliminary Business Case in relation to the full Cork Area Commuter Rail programme is currently being developed. The opening of additional rail stations along the Cork Commuter Rail network will occur after Phase 1 of the programme is complete, subject to approval and funding.

In addition to the Cork Area Commuter Rail programme, the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy recommends the rollout of BusConnects in Cork and the delivery of a light rail system in the city.

A key component of the BusConnects Programme for Cork is the delivery of new Sustainable Transport Corridors. These corridors will help significantly reduce bus journey times and make travel by bus, as well as walking and cycling, more attractive to individuals and families. The third round of public consultation on the Preferred Route Options for the 11 corridors concluded last December and there was positive stakeholder engagement in relation to the latest proposals.

Delivery of a proposed light rail system for Cork as in the Strategy will provide a high-capacity, high-frequency public transport link to support growth of population and provide access to employment, health and educational amenities. A public consultation on the proposed Cork Light Rail project will launch in the coming months.

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has responsibility for the planning and development of public transport infrastructure, including the Cork Area Commuter Rail programme.

Noting the NTA's responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy's question to the NTA for a direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 days.


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