Service disruption as work starts on scheme at railway line

Lurgan Train Station.
Lurgan Train Station.

Works will start tonight (14th February) on improvements to the railway line between Knockmore (south of Lisburn) and Lurgan.

The works will involve some late night service changes in both directions on the Belfast to Portadown line from Tuesday to Saturday nights.

The ballast replacement scheme is part of a £25m project funded by the Department for Infrastructure, with support from the Connecting Europe facility.

A total of 21 miles of track will be repaired, 10.5 miles in each direction, during the entire project. This phase involves three miles of twin track between Lisburn and Moira. The programme of works, when complete, will maintain the reliability of the line, remove speed restrictions to facilitate trains operating at 90mph on parts of the track, continued safe operation of the line, a more comfortable passenger experience with a smoother ride, reduced need for on-going essential engineering works and improved drainage.

The work will take place at night to avoid closing the line for extended periods. Noise will be kept to a minimum and a residents’ helpline has been set up.

Service changes will affect the last train in both directions Tuesday to Saturday, which will be replaced with bus substitution.

Portadown to Belfast

· The 22:28 hours (10.28pm) Enterprise from Portadown to Belfast Central (Tuesday – Saturday) will now stop additionally at Lurgan 22:39 and Lisburn stations 22:56. (This train will connect with the 23:00 Lisburn to Bangor stopping service).

· 22:35 hours (10.35pm) train from Portadown to Lisburn (Tuesday – Saturday) will NOT operate.

· A 22:30 (10.30pm) bus substitution will operate from Moira to Lisburn (Tuesday – Saturday) and will connect with the 23:00 Lisburn to Bangor stopping service.

Belfast to Portadown

· 23:10 hours (11.10pm) train from Great Victoria Street to Portadown will be substituted by bus (Tuesday – Saturday)

On track machines, excavators, generators and site lighting will be used during the works.

A total of 60,000 tonnes of ballast (stone) will be replaced during these works, which will be undertaken by McLaughlin and Harvey contractors. The ballast cleaning machine is being hired from Irish Rail and the new ballast will be supplied by Tullyraine Quarries in Banbridge, Co. Down.