Rail track fit for a queen returns to normal service

Train services on one of Northern Ireland's most celebrated railway routes are to return to normal from Monday.

Saturday, 19th November 2016, 11:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 12:06 pm
Extensive track engineering work has been carried out. Stock image. INCR 43-709-CON

They are to be phased back into operation on the Londonderry line after an 18-day closure to facilitate testing and commissioning of the new upgraded signalling system.

Translink says extensive track engineering work has been carried out alongside a programme of training to upskill signallers in the new systems using a state-of-the-art simulator based in Coleraine. In addition, driver training has also been carried out to familiarise them with the new technology.

Clive Bradberry, Infrastructure executive, said: “Engineers have been working round the clock to get this phase of works completed on time and we are looking forward to having all rail services operating as normal.

“We would like to thank passengers and the local community for their patience during this important phase of the project.

“The overall project continues to make good progress and is due to substantially complete by the end of the year bringing a more resilient rail service for the North West.”

Passenger services will be phased back into operation on Monday with the first operating as follows: departing from Coleraine 7.43am and from Londonderry 9.33am. The two earlier services from Londonderry will continue to operate with a bus substitution.

Translink is advising passengers to keep up to date on the latest developments and timetable issues relating to this project through its website: http://www.translink.co.uk and social media platforms @Translink_NI or call the Contact Centre on 028 90666630.

In June of this year, the Queen recreated the scenic rail journey she first made in her coronation year as she ended a 90th birthday visit to Northern Ireland with a steam train ride from Coleraine to the restored platforms at Bellarena.

Monty Python star and travel writer Michael Palin considers the stretch between Londonderry and Coleraine as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world”.