Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that a £31 million major capital investment in rail infrastructure for the Cullybackey area has commenced.
The Cullybackey Area Signalling and Level Crossings Renewals Project involves significant upgrades and associated civil engineering works on the track primarily at Cullybackey.
This involves the upgrading of the signalling and telecoms at three Level Crossings in Cullybackey, platform extension works at Cullybackey to facilitate stopping of longer trains and improvements to the wider railway line from 2 miles north of Cullybackey to Ballymena.
Minister Mallon said: “I have been clear that I am committed to addressing the climate emergency and increasing the use of sustainable travel. Key to that commitment is ensuring we have a functioning and thriving public transport network and that is why I want to invest in our infrastructure and our rail infrastructure in particular, which will deliver for local people and visitors now and well into the future.
“This significant investment of £31million from my Department for this key strategic corridor between Belfast and Derry will ensure we can maintain safety standards, deliver fit for purpose infrastructure and improve operational performance for users of the railway.
"The upgrade on this section of the line will not only bring long term benefits for passengers by enabling people to stay connected to work, shop, socialise and study but it will also ensure we can continue to open up opportunities for connectivity and economic growth.
“I want to thank the local community in advance for their understanding while these essential works are completed.”
Translink’s Director of Infrastructure John Glass said: “This is a significant project for refurbishment of the existing rail infrastructure in North Antrim. The project involves three main elements of work that will be carried out in different stages and periods.
“This includes three vital level crossing signalling and telecoms works that will be replaced and updated with new technology to enhance safety standards, new cabling to maximise signalling efficiencies and the extension of the Cullybackey train station to make way for six car sets.
“Preliminary enabling works, including night-time works, began in mid-November. We are working closely with our contractors Babcock to complete the works as quickly as possible, keeping noise and inconvenience to a minimum. Later in 2023 a 10-day line closure will take place. Bus substitutions will be put in place during the line closure”.
John concluded: “Thank you to Minister Mallon and her Department for the essential funding to deliver this vital infrastructure scheme which will significantly shape the future of this area.
"We thank the local community and residents for their input and feedback so far. We will be commencing our community engagement programme again within the area soon, ensuring people are fully informed as the project progresses.”
The project will take place in stages, with all works expected to be completed by early 2023.
More information on this project can be found on the Translink website: https://www.translink.co.uk/cullybackeyarearenewals