A £19 million major refurbishment of rail infrastructure for the Whiteabbey area is underway.
The essential engineering works include the full renewal of the track along the ‘Dark Arches’ between Whitehouse Park and Whiteabbey Station, installation of new track drainage system, installation of new ducted routes for signalling and telecoms, demolition of one of the overbridges and installation of new retaining walls to increase the rail corridor width and provide continuous positions of safety.
The project will take place in stages, and all works are expected to be completed by early 2022.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola 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 is one of the busiest sections on the network with significant strategic importance as the gateway to Belfast from the Derry and Larne lines.
“Renewal works were last carried out on this specific area back in 2005 and whilst achieving a lifespan of 15 years, a greater level of intervention is now required to provide asset integrity assurance and extend the design life expectancy for a period of at least 30 years.
“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.”
Translink’s Director of Infrastructure, John Glass said: “This is a significant refurbishment of existing rail infrastructure in the Whiteabbey area. The project involves track drainage, new cabling, refurbishment of retaining wall structures and signalling upgrades.
“Preliminary enabling works, including night-time works, will begin on 8th July. We will be working closely with our contractors to complete the works as quickly as possible, keeping noise and inconvenience to a minimum.
“Later this year, a weekend closure will take place on 2nd/3rd October and the main construction works, involving a 10 day line closure, will take place over the Christmas period. Bus substitutions will be put in place during the line closure.”