Platform extension

THE platforms at Lurgan train station are to be extended, it has been announced.

The work is being carried out to facilitate longer trains stopping at the station and increased passenger numbers.

Construction started on Monday (December 5) and is due to be completed by January 13.

Translink route manager Gerard McAtarsney said that the work will be carried out “as quietly and quickly as possible”.

“We are currently taking delivery of 20 new trains which should all be in operation across the rail network during 2012, and this platform extension work forms an important part of our new trains preparation activity,” he said.

“There should be no disruption to normal passenger services. However, night work will be required for safety reasons and we are working closely with our contractor to ensure that noise from track machinery will be kept to a minimum.

“We are also contacting local residents and stakeholders to make them aware of planned activity and have asked for their patience and support as we work to improve local rail services.”

Charles Gardiner, chair of Lurgan Chamber of Commerce, described it as a “welcome development”.

He said: “Chamber have been meeting with political representatives and Translink about making changes to the station to bring about a resolution to the traffic problems associated with the station.

“We welcome any investment that makes the station more user friendly.”

Sinn Fein councillor Johnny McGibbon also welcomed the news, but pointed out that other work needed to be carried out around the station.

“The extension to the platform will mean that passengers are able to board the train much quicker, and this in turn will result in the trains remaining in the station for shorter times” he said.

“This is good news for motorists and pedestrians who regularly find themselves blocked by the barriers in William Street for periods of up to and occasionally in excess of ten minutes.

“Any improvement that eases the traffic flow in this busy street is welcome news, but we have to continue to explore alternative options that will allow easier access to the commercial heart of the town.”

Cllr McGibbon added: “Sinn Féin welcomes any improvements that encourage the use of public transport and we recognise an urgent requirement to locate a suitable car parking facility for those commuters who wish to board the train in Lurgan and in Portadown.

“The proposed works are very welcome but on their own they won’t solve the problems and we have to continue to work on this issue”

For further information on Translink’s New Trains Programme visit www.translink.co.uk or call 9066 6630.