News that work is to commence on parts of the Larne Line has called a “welcome investment” by Larne Deputy Mayor, Cllr Mark McKinty.
“Following the receipt of 20 new Class 4000 trains, and increased service across the network, I am pleased to note that Translink are investing in the Larne to Belfast railway line” he said.
“In addition to the more comfortable journey with the new trains, punctuality for the Larne Line is generally around 98%. The passenger experience will be enhanced with the addition of WiFi to some services, including the 256 from Larne.”
Work will include engineering work to replace the last five miles of jointed track with continuous welded rail between Whitehead and Larne, providing smoother travel. This work is being carried out at night and is due for completion next summer.
There will also be work at Trooperslane and Jordanstown level crossings to reduce down time and impact on local traffic.
A platform extension at Larne Harbour - following successful extensions at Whiteabbey, Jordanstown, Carrickfergus, Downshire, Whitehead and Larne Town - is also on the cards. The longer platforms will provide for four three-car trains and increased capacity on each service - 20 per cent more capacity across the network.
“Whilst most work can be carried out overnight or at off-peak times, Larne Harbour station will be closed from October 6 to November 4,” said Cllr McKinty. “The Larne Line will also close temporarily from Larne Harbour to Whitehead on October 6 and 7. A subsitution bus service will run during this weekend closure.
“I have encouraged Translink to ensure that disruption to passengers is minimal, and that work is completed in order that normal service may resume as soon as possible, especially with the recently commenced work on the A8 and the imminent A2 project”.
Cllr McKinty, who is also a member of the Larne Line Passenger lobby group, and involved in the recent “Use it or lose it” campaign when services on the Larne Line were potentially under threat, has asserted his commitment to “continue lobbying for services on the Larne Line, including improvements to the Dargan Bridge, and an integrated bus and rail transport hub in Larne”.
Roy Beggs Jnr MLA has also welcomed the completed track and station improvements as well as the work about to start on the Larne line.
“I welcome this further investment in the Larne line. Passengers are finally benefitting from the higher levels of comfort available on the new Class 4000 fleet of new trains. The smoother ride which the welded track will provide will enhance the experience of passengers traveling between Whitehead and Larne. The imminent platform extension at the Harbour will enable longer trains to use the stations and so increase the capacity of the service during busy peak times.
“Passengers from the busy Whitehead to Belfast section can also look forward to an enhanced frequency of service before the end of the year. The new trains with increased punctuality and reliability, along with the introduction of Wifi means that Translink can expect further significant growth on the railway line.”