MY Way – Midleton Youghal Greenway Gets Green Light

by Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council has given a thumbs up to the development of a disused section of East Cork rail line into a walking and cycling pathway.
The Local Authority gave the green light to the €15million development of a 23 kilometre section of Midleton to Youghal rail line, amid concerns by some locally that the project sounded the death nail to the return of the Midleton to Youghal train service.
The development of the Midleton – Youghal Greenway began in 2013 with the aim of providing opportunities for recreation, public health, economic development and environmental stewardship.
Cllrs who unanimously backed the proposal said the new amenity will bring a huge boost to rural communities along the route.
Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, who proposed the approval of the Midleton to Youghal Greenway, told Council the scheme will “provide a massive boost not only for the locals involved but for the tourists between Midleton and Youghal.”
Fine Gael Cllr Susan McCarthy said Irish Rail had been consulted as to whether or not it was possible to bring the railway back to Youghal.
She said at this point they claimed it was not a viable option. However, “the Greenway will be constructed in such a way that, if it necessitates the need to be reconverted to a rail line in the future, that will be possible.”
In 2009 the Cork – Midleton line reopened after a 15 year battle.
In 2016 Irish Rail sought permission from Government to permanently abandon 10 sections of closed rail line because of the high costs in maintaining them, and for which they receive no Government funding.
Irish Rail claimed they were spending in excess of €3million maintaining routes that are unlikely to reopen.
The approval by full Council on Monday 14 January now paves the way for the Authority to apply for funding through the National Greenway Programme to help regenerate the line.
The new amenity, which is expected to take up to 2 years to complete, will benefit not only the towns along the route such as Mogeely and Killeagh, but it is hoped it would benefit the entire East Cork region, encouraging tourists to stay longer in the area.
Youghal Railway Station was opened in 1860 with regular passenger services withdrawn in February 1963. The line was closed to all goods traffic in August 1982.
The last train to depart the seaside station was in 1987- a steam train operated by the Irish Railway Record Society. A year later, in 1988, the line was abandoned.
In 1992, seven miles of the track between Midleton and Youghal was removed to reuse in Sligo.

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