Train line closures announced for Newtownabbey works

An essential engineering project on the train line between the Shore Road and Whiteabbey is set to commence next month.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:48 pm

The scheme will see a major renewal of existing rail infrastructure through a project called the Dark Arches to Whiteabbey Track Renewal (DAWTR).

This area of railway track runs under a series of bridges and archways and has become known as the ‘Dark Arches’.

It represents a major capital investment by the Department for Infrastructure and is essential to maintain high safety standards and operational performance.

The proposed works include the full renewal of approximately 840m of track.
The proposed works include the full renewal of approximately 840m of track.

The proposed works include the full renewal of approximately 840m of track along the ‘Dark Arches’ to Whiteabbey including track drainage, new cable routes and retaining wall structures. Signalling upgrades will also take place.

As one of the busiest sections on the network it has significant strategic importance as the gateway to Belfast from the Londonderry and Larne lines. It is vital we take these steps to invest and build back better to deliver fit for purpose infrastructure for well into the future.

A Translink spokesperson said: “To minimise the overall impact and disruption to passengers and local residents, Translink will work closely with their contractors to phase the delivery of the project throughout the second half of 2021, commencing in July.

“The main engineering works are due to take place during the Christmas holiday period at the end of this year when there is typically less passenger demand, with schools and many workplaces closed, to undertake this essential maintenance work.

“We will work with our contractors to complete the project as quickly as possible and ensure disruption is kept to a minimum to reduce any inconvenience caused.

“We have already started to engage with the local community and elected representatives to explain how the works will be carried out and what to expect. This will continue throughout the duration of the project.

“We will ensure all our communications are delivered in line with the latest Covid-19 safety guidelines using a range of digital platforms alongside leaflet drops and presentations as appropriate. We also have a community helpline set up with our contractor, Babcock Rail.”

Between July and December night-time working will take place for advanced civil engineering preparatory works.

On October 2 and 3 there will be a weekend line closure with day and night-time working required for the planned demolition of an overline bridge structure.

Between December 25 2021 and January 4 2022 there will be a weekend line closure with day and night-time working required for the planned demolition of an overline bridge structure.

In January 2022 night-time working is required for clear up operations. The project will be substantially complete in February 2022.

The Translink spokesperson added: “During the track renewal works, engineering trains and construction plant will be operating along the line. We will be working hard with our contractors to minimise any noise or impact on the local residents living in the surrounding area.

“We have carefully considered the best timing to deliver this important project in order to minimise the overall impact for passengers and local residents. Using the Christmas/New Year holiday period means there are less passengers travelling, and the closure allows us to complete the works in an efficient and effective way. We are also mindful of the need to ensure public transport into Belfast city centre at this crucial time is maintained. “During the main Christmas works the train line between Whiteabbey Station and Belfast Lanyon Place Station will be closed A temporary timetable with bus substitution services will operate ensuring public transport routes are maintained.

“Passengers with valid rail tickets will also be able to travel on scheduled Ulsterbus services 218 operating between Ballymena/Antrim and Belfast, in addition to the 212 service between Londonderry and Belfast during the closure period.

“Mitigation measures will be implemented to minimise impact and disruption such as noise attenuation, timing of deliveries, appropriate management of site compounds and considerate working by contractors at all times.”

A webinar about the project will take place at 6pm tomorrow (Thursday, June 17). To sign up to the online information event, click here

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