An early Artists impression (1995) of what ALVIN Trams would look like on Patrick Street; since the photo this image was based on was taken, Patrick Street has been facelifted; the overhead wire support columns and wires shown for the trams in the photo are a lot more obtrusive than they would be in reality, as the overhead wires can be supported by slimmer columns and anchor points on buildings.
Dublin's new LUAS Light Rail. An unqualified success, in spite of some disruption during construction, particularly to bus routes, the wait has been well worthwhile, as the superior efficiency of Light Rail has superceded several inefficient and costly (in terms of manpower) bus routes, as well as discouraging car usage in the city. Many cities in Europe and even some in the USA, Australia, etc) which are the same size as Cork have Light Rail, so Cork is also an ideal candidate for a LUAS-style system.
View of work in progress clearing the disused Rail Route between Glounthaune Junction and Midleton in preparation for its reopening, scheduled for February 2009. The Route will be reopened as a single track line with passing places for diesel Multiple Units; however, on the back of initial success on reopening, both this link and the Cork-Cobh commuter Rail Link can be converted to overhead electrified Light Rail, using lightweight high capacity trams like on the Dublin LUAS, and extended through Cork City centre to destinations such as Mahon, Crosshaven, Wilton, Ballincollig, and even Blarney Castle, Bandon and Kinsale.
Another Eastward view of the line being cleared, near Elm Tree, between Glounthaune and Carrigtohill. Once this line is converted to Electric powered Light Rail, more intermediate stops could be added, at locations such as Tivoli, Elm Tree, Owenacurra and Midleton Distillery, as trams can accelerate and decelerate faster than diesel railcars and can stop at simpler, cheaper low platforms. Currently as the line is being reopened for diesel railcars, there are MASSIVE and totally unnecessary costs involved in raising the height of old station platforms to accommodate the heavy and inefficient diesel trains.
Another view taken looking West, towards Carrigtohill, from the other side of the Elm Tree Bridge. If converted to Electric Light Rail in the future, a simple stop with low platforms and a shelter like on the Dublin LUAS Routes, could be built just beyond the green digger, where there is access to the adjacent old Youghal Road.
Another view of the location of the proposed Elm Tree ALVIN Stop.
A view of the old Carrigtohill Station; this will be demolished and replaced by a new station being constructed, shown in the next picture.
The new Carrigtohill Station under construction. Providing high platforms for diesel Multiple Unit trains is far mosre costly than providing simple low platforms which are adequate for Light Rail vehicles such as LUAS in Dublin.
A view of the construction work in progress for the new station at Midleton, looking westwards in the direction of the proposed Owenacurra ALVIN stop and Carrigtohill.
Another view of the construction work on Midleton Station, like all the above photos taken March 2008.
A final view of work on the site of Midleton in March 2008. The Cork-Midleton Route will be known as Route '909' under the ALVIN Light Rail proposal, and ultimately will be extended on the proposed link through the city centre, either to Ballincollig or Blarney. Most of the ALVIN Routes, numbered from '909' up to '999', will use the cross-city link to connect destinations on opposite sides of the city centre, with an interchange at the current Capwell bus station, which can easily be converted to Light Rail use. More photos will be downloaded in January 2009, of progress made since, as I am visiting the site over Christmas 2008!
January 2009: A Junction Once Again! Looking East from Glounthaune Junction Station, January 2009. The Junction for the Route to Midleton is just visible in the distance, with the newly-laid connection for Midleton, and the existing route to Cobh curving round to the right.
The track through Elm Tree,January 2009, between Glounthaune and Carrigtohill, is complete; this is the view looking W. towards Glounthaune.
Looking towards Carrigtohill from Elm Tree, January 2009.
The new Carrigtohill Station taking shape, looking West, towards Elm Tree, January 2009. There would be potential for an additional stop between Carrigtohill and Elm Tree if the line was converted to Electric Light Rail in the future, as Light Rail vehicles are designed for more rapid start/stop at frequent stops than heavy diesel units, which are going to be used on this route.
Another view of the new Carrigtohill Station, January 2009. Note the footbridge complete with lifts for disabled access, taking shape. However, none of the stations on the Cobh Route, including Glounthaune Junction, are being provided with lifts OR ramps on their footbridges, and some of them are ONLY accessible on the level from one side. The conversion of both the Cobh and Midleton Routes to Electric Light Rail Operation would make the great expense of footbridges and lifts at stations entirely unnecessary, as Light Rail stations, such as on the LUAS, are designed for ground level passenger access across the tracks.
The single track at Carrigtohill looking East towards Midleton, January 2009.
The former Station building at Carrigtohill, January 2009. As a new station is being constructed to the West, the old railway station platform has been removed, but the old station building has been retained as some sort of hut or cabin for maintenance/storage/ signals&Telecommunication use. Even a small station building like this, though, would have been best sold off for residential use, as a small property within easy reach of the station; in spite of the property price crash, a building like this would have raised something in the region of 100 000 Euros to help fund the reopening of the Route.
Another view of the old Carrigtohill Station building, Jan 2009. A considerable amount of money must have been spent on restoring the building for rail use. In spite of it being very near to the tracks, it would have been sought after as a private house conversion, as the noise from trains on the new line will not be that great, and there is access from the road and some garden/yard space with the property.
Midleton, the Trackbed looking West from the location of the new Station, towards Carrigtohill and Cork, January 2009. The track has not yet been realid this far, although it is expected to be all in place by February.
The Trackbed looking East, towards the new Midleton Station, which incorporates buildings from the old station, January 2009.
Another view of Midleton Station, looking East, January 2009. A large car-park is being constructed on the left, essential to attract 'Park and Ride' customers.
A close-up view of the old Railway Station building at Midleton, January 2009. It is clearly evident that considerable expense has been lavished on the restoration of this building; the restoration of Victorian Railway buildings does not come cheap. it would have been far better to have built a brand new railway station building fit for 21st Century needs, on the opposite platform, or further to the West, and to have sold off the old railway station building as a private house; the new owners would then be responsible for restoration costs, and the money which CIE spent on the restoration of the old building alone would have funded a stylish modern building at least twice as large, with room for facilities such as toilets, booking office, and even a cafe/shop. A new building could still be built at a later stage.
The End of the Line? For now, at least. The end of the Midleton Trackbed, just E. of Midleton Station, January 2009. The Midleton/Youghal Rail Route is being reopened as far as Midleton, but there is a strong case for it to be reopened all the way to Youghal, with intermediate stops at Mogeely and Killeagh, and maybe the line could even be extended somehow through Youghal to link with the old railway through Dungarvan and thence to Waterford, although that would entail some major engineering and some kind of 'street running' Light Rail connection through Youghal town centre.