France-based international construction engineering and operations company Egis has signed a contract with Iarnród Éireann [Irish Rail] to modernise Cork’s Signalling, Electrical and Telecommunications (SET) systems. 

It’s hoped the refreshed system will allow a “vast improvement” of the network around Cork city and thereby boosting a modal shift to trains away from cars. 

The upgrades form part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS) 2040. Signalling and communications system upgrades are vital to rail operators hoping to increase frequency and capacity. Along with upgrading infrastructure, CMATS will provide more rolling stock, new stations and Park and Ride interchanges. 

Egis will also be tasked with improving the system’s reliability, another crucial step to modernising the city’s commuter network. 

Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael McGrath TD noted the importance of the country’s ‘second city’: “This is a significant milestone for the commuter rail network in Cork. The investment is one of many planned projects planned to boost Cork’s rail offering and public transport network.

“Upgrading Corks signalling system is a crucial step forward to facilitate the proposed capacity and service frequency increases planned for the region and will be of considerable benefit to users of the rail network.”

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By GlobalData

AJ Cronin, delivery manager of the Cork Area Commuter Rail Programme at Iarnród Éireann, said the partnership is part of Irish Rail’s “strategic mission”.

“In partnering with Egis, we are confident in their capacity to deliver this transformative project, boosting our rail services while aligning with our strategic mission for sustainable growth. We look forward to the positive changes this collaboration will bring to our community, making rail the preferred mode of transport,” he said in a statement. 

Egis brings 50 years of international experience to the project, but through the recent acquisition of JB Barry & Partners, a Cork-based engineering group, it also boasts strong local knowledge. 

Egis Ireland’s operation director Andrew Doyle said: “The upgrades will bring a seamless, improved railway experience to the region, with enhanced service reliability, frequency and capacity. We are delighted Iarnród Éireann has placed its trust in us for this important project.”