Independent Media Centre Ireland

573 Million Innovative "Tram-Train" Rail System Proposed for Cork

category cork | environment | press release author Tuesday September 16, 2008 15:03author by Brian Guckian

Scheme Requires Cancellation of Proposed Northern Ring Road

CORK City and County Councils could show genuine support for European Mobility Week and for Sustainable Transport policies in general by cancelling their unsustainable proposed Northern Ring Road scheme and spending the funds on an innovative 573 million city- and county-wide rail system using continental European "tram-train" technology instead, a national sustainable transport researcher and campaigner, Brian Guckian, has said.

"Tram-train" technology, originally pioneered in Germany, uses rail vehicles similar to conventional trams, but which can run on the existing rail network as well as on-street. Mr. Guckian said that Cork lent itself very well to this technology as it had good penetration of conventional rail, and was also suitable for on-street light rail.

The technology combines both tram and conventional rail systems so that in future, it was possible that services could run through from Midleton, Cobh and Blarney into the city centre and on to destinations that were rail-served in the past, such as Ballincollig, Passage, Carrigaline and Bandon. The format was popular in Germany and France and was about to be trialled in the UK.

Mr. Guckian said he had carried out outline work on a wide-ranging proposal that would see 95 km of re-built railway and 29 km of adapted existing railway providing a comprehensive, genuine and sustainable tram-train network for Cork city and county. Based on cutting-edge European transport technology, it powerfully challenged the failed US-style highway-building policies of the Councils which dated from the 1960s and which were now greatly out-moded at a time of increasing fuel prices and climate change.

The proposal would also serve Cork Airport and the main industrial centres, and featured a city centre loop that would take in the main retail and leisure areas and the university. The network could also be engineered to carry freight, for which there currently was an enormous potential market as road freight became increasingly costly.

At an overall estimated cost of 573 million, Mr. Guckian pointed out that in comparison, the proposed Northern Ring Road - which was contrary to EU policies on sustainable transport - had been estimated to cost 500 million. He said it was time for the Councils to show courage, to "kick the roads habit" and fully embrace sustainable transport policies that included not just comprehensive rail development, but also road conversions to facilitate the development of key cycle- and pedestrian-only "Greenways" through the city. "It's time to live in the 21st century and to leave the 1960s behind", he said.

The tram-train rail system proposal could be implemented jointly by Cork City and County Councils, the Railway Procurement Agency and Iarnrod Eireann and would feature full public participation as mandated by best practice in community planning and by EU legislation.

Mr. Guckian concluded that at present Cork was a heavily roads-biased city, notwithstanding the re-opening of the short rail line to Midleton, and, like other cities, would need massive cultural and political change if it was to achieve national targets on emissions cuts and genuine reductions in car use and oil dependency.


Contact: Brian Guckian 087 9140105

Comments (3 of 3)

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author by Victor - boards.iepublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 16:25author address author phone

I realise that the rules say "Play the ball and not the player." and I fully appreciate it.

However, it would appear Mr. Guckian puts forward some sort of deluded fantasy whereby railways can be added everywhere. A railway is not efficient unless it is carry large numbers of passengers or freight over large distances.

Freight has limited use in Ireland because of the multiple handling involved unless a railway runs right to the mine / factory / shop door.

Mr. Guckian would appear to be advocating railway lines through the likes of the Barnesmore Gap and remote parts of west Cork (all the towns are on the coast, he is advocating an inland railway). Further he seems to advocate adding a tramway parallel to the Galway-Oranmore railway, rather than actually use the existing railway to provide services. Any websites he uses seems use seems to be self-referential ( refers to which refers to

Where he promotes rail, he would be much better off advocating the improvement of existing public transport and walking and cycling.

He is no better than those who advocate roads everywhere and the commuter lifestyle that is destroying the towns and vilalges of the country.

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author by Seanpublication date Mon Jul 13, 2009 17:03author address author phone

Bandon is hardly a remote area of West Cork - it is 20 miles from the city. Unfortunately most of the city end of the line is now gone having been used as the bed of the South City Link Road.

The big problem here is the lack of money however Victor is showing a typical Dublin bias - "How dare they spend a penny on public transport outside the capital".

The question of freight on the railways is a political one rather than a logistical one and stems from the influence of the road haulage industry within the two major parties and of the private sector in general who have seen to it that CIE's freight department has been decimated. A major rail freight yard at North Esk near Little Island and on the Cork- Cobh-Midleton route remains empty for much the same reason until someone decides that it makes sense to hive off to property speculators.

author by Pete.publication date Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:20author address author phone

"The proposal would also serve Cork Airport "

Cork city centre is at sea level...sometimes below sea level at spring tides.

Cork Airport is just 4 miles away along the Kinsale Road, and at an elevation of 502 feet above the city:

A VERY steep hill for a train or tram line I would think!

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