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Brakes on city’s tourist train

Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 5:09pm

The operator of Cork city’s halted tourist train has said the train is heading in a new direction as he sees no commercial viability for it on Leeside, the Cork Independent has learned.

Details about the paused tourist train came to light at a meeting of Cork City Council on Monday when Independent Cllr Paudie Dineen asked if eleveth hour talks could be held between the operator and the council to get the project back on track.

He said: “I’ve done my best to bring solutions to the issues.”

Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer said he was happy to support Cllr Dineen to see if the project could be put in place again.

Head of corporate affairs, Paul Moynihan, said that a contract was “willingly entered into” by both parties.

“It is now not being complied with by one of those parties. There is three years works gone into to try to find a solution to this,” he claimed.

The problem, the meeting heard, is in relation to a pick up location.

In a statement to the Cork Independent, operator Pat Flynn said: “The body representing the people of Cork city will not provide the city tourist train with an operating position that lends itself to (being) commercially viable and on which the business could develop an economically sound operating licence.

“All four positions that have been offered to date on behalf of the city are remote of our targeted tourist/visitor customers, and as a business, we could not survive or provide the service from those back street type positions.”

The statement said that the train requires a commercially viable position in a tourist catchment with earning capacity so that “we as a business could earn a living from and pay back the banks and investors”.

It continued: “For us to submit under City Council pressure to working positions that are remote of our targeted customers would lead to the city tourist train business going bust. The tourist train needs to work from a tourist catchment, especially so as it only has one single pick up set down (area). I do not think it is unsporting or unreasonable to ask the city for such a position.

“In fact we put forward a new updated proposal just prior to the end of last week which is based on the position change that has been made to the Tourist Office location and we await the council’s considered response to the proposal.”

Mr Flynn’s statement concluded: “However my focus is currently not on the city as further to no commercially viable pick up/set down being provided for since 2016, I have indicated that I wish to position the train at a out of town tourist catchment as and from next season.

“I have also indicated that the train can return to Cork city when a commercially viable pick up/set down can be provided for. In the meantime I am hoping that Cork City Council will honour all other aspects of the tourist train contract,” he said.

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