Delays expected as work starts on £25m rail improvements in Lurgan

Work to start on the rail line at Lurgan
Work to start on the rail line at Lurgan

Commuters are warned of delays and bus substitions on the railway between Lurgan and Belfast ahead of the new £25m infrastructure improvements.

There will be two weekend closures in the Lurgan area between February 23-24 and March 2-3 before a four week line closure between 26 July and 23 August.

Bus substitutions will be in place.

This is preparation work for the Lurgan Area Track Renewal Project. This is a substantial scheme to enhance and improve the railway line.

Translink will implement a four-week closure this summer of the railway line at Lurgan to fully relay over 1.7km of track, running from the William St level crossing to beyond Bell’s Row level crossing. This closure will be in place between Friday 26 July and Friday 23 August inclusive.

Some preliminary drainage and level crossing work will be undertaken during engineering line closures on the weekends of 23-24 February and 2-3 March, with further preparatory work being carried out in the area, outside of normal working hours and overnight, between April and July.

This will be a major project, increasing the railway operational line speed in the area and improving safety and efficiency for rail users.

The project will also include relaying the three level crossings in the area and renewing the 350 metres of existing platform structures at the station.

John Glass, Translink’s Director of Infrastructure and Projects, said: ‘‘Numbers of passengers choosing the train have grown strongly in recent years. Lurgan is now a key station for commuters, with over 4.5 million passengers using the Portadown Line every year, and nearly 1 million passengers using the cross-border, Belfast – Dublin Enterprise service annually.

“This work will see us remove current speed restrictions, providing more efficient journeys while maintaining overall performance and high safety standards. The investment also secures the long-term sustainability of this line and maintains vital cross-border connectivity on this important corridor, in line with our Enterprise Strategic Development Plan. Longer-term, the work will also reduce the level of maintenance on the line.

“Representing a significant capital investment, the works will also help contribute to the continued economic growth of the town and the surrounding area. The work represents the first phase of a number of planned strategic improvements within the area over the coming years, including signalling redesign works and an enhanced station, subject to appropriate funding and permissions.

“As plans progress, we are prioritising engagement with local elected representatives and other stakeholders, including sports and community organisations, so that local people are made fully aware of the planned upgrade. This engagement will continue between now and the main upgrade works this summer.

“We will be working closely with our contractors to complete the works as quickly as possible and keep disruption to a minimum.

“Translink is committed to investing in our infrastructure and improving services, ensuring that we progress our journey to being ‘your first choice for travel in Northern Ireland.”