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Fine Gael TD for Cork East Constituency, David Stanton, has proposed that a feasibility study should be conducted on the viability of introducing a Bus Rapid Transit Service between Midleton and Youghal.

Having written to the Minister for Transport, the National Transport Authority, Cork County Council and Irish Rail regarding such a proposal, David Stanton said: “Given the popularity of the rail link from Cork to Midleton since its re-opening over ten years ago there have been numerous calls to extend the service to Youghal.  The decision to develop a Greenway from Midleton to Youghal has been welcomed by many but criticised by others who advocate for the re-opening of the railway line to Youghal.

“With the first phase of the Midleton to Youghal Greenway expected to open later this year and with plans to upgrade the track between Cork and Midleton by increasing the frequency to every ten minutes and using battery operated trains, a feasibility study to provide an extended transport service along the rail route to Youghal should be undertaken.

“Undoubtedly traffic bottlenecks along the N25 approaching Castlemartyr and to a lesser extent Killeagh, are major causes of frustration to local and visiting road users and reinforce the need for an extension to Youghal. While work remains ongoing to bypass both towns by constructing a new road from Midleton to Youghal, it could take several years to come to pass.

“In the meantime, another transport solution should be considered such as a Bus Rapid Transit Service. Such services run like a tram but without tracks. They are popular in many European countries as they offer a flexible, reliable and comfortable mode of transport which I believe could be particularly suitable in linking Midleton, Mogeely, Killeagh and Youghal. Such a service would mean that those travelling from Cork city could connect a Bus Rapid Transit Service to Youghal directly from the existing train service which terminates at Midleton.

“The existing rail route to Youghal is quite wide given that it was originally built to facilitate a double track.  Therefore, it should be possible to have another active travel lane alongside the Greenway to facilitate a Bus Rapid Transit Service. This would provide exactly the same service as a train but one which could be put in place at a fraction of the cost and in a far shorter time as tracks and infrastructure such as signalling would not be needed.

“The availability of this service would be enormously beneficial to the wider East Cork area, removing traffic from the N25 while increasing commercial and tourism opportunities for Youghal and the surrounding area. I have written to the Minister for Transport and to the authorities concerned asking them to consider conducting a feasibility study on my proposal at the earliest opportunity”; concluded Deputy Stanton.