Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen today opened two new platforms at Bellarena Train Station marking a major milestone in the second phase of the Coleraine to Londonderry railway project.
The £46.4million project is being primarily funded by the Northern Ireland Executive with EU funding support and comprises the construction of a rail passing loop along with installation of a new signalling and telecoms system.
Speaking at Bellarena Train Station, Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “The opening of the new platforms at Bellarena marks another significant milestone for this major project. I am pleased to say that work is progressing well on the Phase 2 project which is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year.
“More people are choosing to travel by train and investment in the rail fleet and infrastructure is paying off. Since the completion of Phase 1 of the project, passenger numbers on this railway line have increased by 12 percent in 2014/15 with over two million passenger journeys each year.
“As well as ensuring the long-term viability of the route, this major project signals the Executive’s continuing commitment to the North West. Once complete, it will also help improve safety and reliability and provide the capability for an hourly service to Londonderry.”
Translink Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway, said: “These new longer platforms mean we can accommodate six-car trains and meet the demands of further local rail customer growth.
“Their opening marks the completion of the first stage of this ‘Phase 2’ project which also included: a platform extension at Castlerock; construction of a new rail passing loop; closure of a User Worked Crossing and construction of a new farm access lane at Bellarena plus installation of ducts at both Castlerock and Derry~Londonderry station.
“We also continue to make steady progress on the installation of a new signalling and telecoms system along the railway line to ensure it operates as effectively and efficiently as possible in the future and plan to substantially complete all Phase 2 works by late 2016.
“We would like to thank the Department for Regional Development and the European Union for essential funding to deliver this project. We would also like to thank our customers and local people for their patience and support as we continue to work hard to deliver this project on schedule,” said Chris.