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Development of the Railways

Many of the public institutions and the public utilities essential to the infrastructure of the city date from the nineteenth century. In 1836 the route of the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway (13) was planned and the line opened in 1850 running along the waterfront and the present day Marina from its city terminus on Victoria Road.

Figure 1: Original Route of Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway running parallel to river from Victoria Road Terminus

Original Route of Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway

Source: Ordnance Survey of Ireland (2009a)

Passengers to the lower harbour had for many years been served by the river steamers, which departed from Merchant’s Quay in the heart of the city centre. Before the line had even been completed, the local press was already pointing to the locational disadvantages of the terminus site, namely its distance from St. Patrick’s Street and the fact that it would interfere with any future dock development in the Monerea Marshes. “The section of the line near the station occupied a considerable area of river frontage which the Harbour Board and Cork Corporation became increasingly anxious to acquire” (Rynne, 1999 p. 205). It was thus suggested that the city terminus be moved up river and measures to address the problem of diverting the line away from the riverfront were formally proposed in the Cork Improvement Act of 1868 and in a further amending act of 1872. The proposals involved a one and a half mile diversion to lead the line away from the riverfront along the modern day Monahan's Road to a new terminus west of the City Park Station at Albert Road. The cost of this diversion was to be borne by Cork Corporation. The necessary works were completed by 1873 when the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway's new Cork Terminus at Albert Street (14) designed by Sir John Benson, City Architect, was officially opened. The Corporation thus gained possession of about 1,200 feet of river frontage suitable for commercial development enabling further development of the dock’s area (Cork City Council, 2006).

Figure 2: 1900 O.S. Map showing the realignment of Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway line and its new terminus at Albert Road, and the City Park Racecourse

1900 O.S. Map New Railway Terminus at Albert Rd

Source: Ordnance Survey of Ireland (2009b)

Furlong’s Marina Mills were completed in 1891 and were the first custom built roller mills within the city which took advantage of the new deep water berthage. Following the relocation of the original terminus for the Cork, Blackrock & Passage railway from Victoria to Albert Road and after some rebuilding, the terminus building eventually became part of the Marina Mills complex on Victoria Quay and was used as a flour mill. It is now the site of R. and H. Halls, Kennedy Quay (15). A siding was provided for this complex in 1896 and a feeder line was also provided to the Ford tractor works along the quaysides, which is still visible today (Creedon, 1992).

Figure 3: Remaining rail tracks, Kennedy Quay

Remaining rail tracks, Kennedy Quay

On the North Docks, a train station complex was designed by Sir John Benson and completed in 1856 to serve the Great Southern and Western Rail Lines. Circa 1890 the passenger terminus was almost completely demolished and replaced with a brick curved structure, which enabled connection to the newly developed Cork-Cobh line. A small element of the original building remains in the form of the Station Master’s building. The Kent Station complex (16), consisting of the Station Master's Building, the Carriage Shed, Goods Shed and curtilage walls, is included in the City Council’s Record of Protected Structures.

Figure 4: Kent Station, North Docks

Kent Station, North Docks