THE new, modern trains on the way for the Larne Line are likely to encourage many more of the borough’s residents to use the railway network, according to East Antrim Assembly member Roy Beggs.
Mr Beggs, who was recently appointed to the Assembly’s Regional Development Committee, has welcomed news that the testing of the new trains for the Larne Line is going well and on schedule for delivery in the autumn.
Translink announced that three of 20 brand new Translink NI Railways trains have arrived in Northern Ireland and the first is due to start entering passenger service later this year. All 20 new trains are due to be in service during 2012.
“The three new trains that have arrived to date are now undergoing an intense period of static and on-track testing before they can enter passenger service. We continue to ask the public to remain vigilant during this important project phase, as trains are operating day and night across the network at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour,” said Translink group chief executive, Catherine Mason.
“Testing is going well and the project remains on schedule with the first new train due to go into passenger service on the Larne railway line this autumn,” she added.
Mr Beggs said that when the CAF C3K trains were delivered to Northern Ireland in 2004, none was allocated permanently to the Larne Line and passengers have been reliant on the much older trains, which were previously in use in other parts of the rail network.
“Local rail passengers will be delighted with the news that the testing of the new Class 4000 trains is going well and that they remain on schedule for the first new train to go into passenger service on the Larne Line this autumn”.
Translink ordered 20 new trains following further investment of £118m by the Department of Regional Development.
Mr Beggs added: “To date, Larne rail passengers have only had the occasional experience with the new CAF trains when they have been surplus to other parts of the Northern Ireland rail network. I welcome the fact that when these new trains are fully introduced to the Larne Line it will dramatically improve the quality of service and passenger experience and is likely to attract even more passengers to use the rail network.
“I am pleased that in addition to the new trains, other enhancements are being made such as the extension to the park-and-ride at Carrickfergus Station and platform extensions at Yorkgate, Whiteabbey, Jordanstown, Carrickfergus, Downshire, Whitehead, Larne Town and Larne Harbour. These extended platforms will accommodate the long trains which will improve the capacity when there is passenger demand
“I have no doubt when more commuters experience the new CAF trains that even more will be attracted to the local rail service. Increasing fuel and city-centre parking costs will also make rail travel more attractive in the future.”