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In November, the Minister for Regional Development, Mr Conor Murphy MP MLA, told the Assembly: ‘A business case has not been provided for the extension of the railway system here recently. The planned investment in public transport by the Department for Regional Development in the North of Ireland, over the next ten years, is set out in the Investment Delivery Plan which is published on the Strategic Investment Board’s website. Development of the railway infrastructure is currently based on the recommendations arising out of the business case, produced in August 2007, for the New Trains Two Programme... Given the available funding, my priority at this time is to maintain, improve and upgrade existing railway lines in the region’.

‘The building of a railway link and the necessary services to connect Portadown to Derry, to include links with Dungannon, Enniskillen, Omagh and Strabane is not considered to be feasible at this time’.


Belfast-Dublin Turnouts into the up sidings at the Dublin end of Portadown were renewed using new timber bearers in October. Steel sleepers were used to re-lay the sidings.

Bridges In December, the Minister for Regional Development told the Assembly that ‘With regard to bridges on the NIR network, Translink and its sub-contractors carry out a visual inspection annually. In addition, 39 bridges over larger rivers and streams received underwater inspections in 2008. These inspections consider erosion to the river bed, and whether there has been a change since the previous inspection. A further 116 bridges over smaller rivers and streams have been inspected in the last three months, with a further two bridges due to be inspected later this month. All work recommended during the inspections has been completed, or is programmed.’

Coleraine-Londonderry There was a line closure between Londonderry and Coleraine between 21:00 on Friday 25 and 24:00 on Sunday 27 September. The closure was to facilitate bridge works at UB215 Greysteel near MP85, UB204 Magilligan near MP72 and UB203 Umbra near MP71.

Stations The new station building at Newry opened for passengers on 7 September. It was officially opened by the Minister for Regional Development on 25 November. The new station features: a landscaped 300 space Park+Ride site with 14 disabled bays; new link road to the station; an integrated bus terminus and turning facility with a free link bus to Newry city centre; lifts and an enclosed link bridge between platforms; canopies covering most of both platforms; electronic passenger information; fully accessible toilets; CCTV system; covered cycle parking; passenger amenities including vending machines and a baby changing room. For the first time in its history, Newry station has a passenger waiting area with heating and comfortable seating. Staff can also benefit from a new sales and ticketing office, ticket barrier facility, kitchen and locker room; toilet facilities and manager’s office. The new station cost £14.6m and was completed on time and on budget.


Mk IIf The last passenger working of the Gatwick set was the 07:50 Portadown-Central on 18 June hauled by 8111. It is understood that there are no plans to return the set to service. The ‘Gatwick’ Driving Van Trailer (DVT) 8918 has not entered service.

80-Class The Sandite train commenced seasonal operation in late September and was formed by 8082 + 8754 + 8097. Following engine damage to 8097 on 19 October, the train was reformed as a 4-car set, 8082 + 8097 + 8754 + 8094, with 8097 being hauled dead and only used for spraying Sandite. Following completion of Sandite duties, set 8082 + 8747 + 8754 + 8094 commenced services on the Larne line on 17 December. The other 4-car set was 8090 + two + 8093. Power car 8069 was delivered to York Rd Depot on 18 September.

3000-class 3004 visited Inchicore for wheel turning on Thursday 14 January as the York Rd wheel lathe was out of service.

4000-class The twenty new railcars sets on order from CAF will be numbered 4001-20, with individual vehicles numbered 430x-450x-440x. It is believed that they will primarily be used on Portadown-Bangor services and will have fewer seats with tables than the 3000-class. Each set will have 212 seats, which is 12 more than the 3000-class. A pram space will be provided by changing the bay of seats immediately inside the door for a pair of tip-up seats. These will be mounted against the wall. There will be one disabled access toilet per 3-car set.

The railcars will be equipped with a 530hp MTU engine and transmission from ZF of Friedrichshafen. Translink have reported very good experience with ZF transmission in its bus fleet and the gearbox chosen will be more suited to frequent start-stop operation of suburban working than the Voith transmission used in the 3000-class, which is more suited to higher speed mainline operation. There will be no auxiliary engine for ‘hotel power’, which will be drawn from the main engine. It is anticipated that the vehicles will be 4 tonnes lighter than the 3000-class and will be 10% more fuel efficient. Construction is planned to commence in April 2010, with the first set entering service in August 2011. Delivery will allow more 3000-class sets to be allocated to Derry line trains.


Cancellations Each year NIR operate in excess of 100,000 trains on the local network and 5,500 Enterprise trains. The following cancellations were reported:

Period  Local network Enterprise 
Oct 04-Sep 05 836 0
Oct 05-Sep 06 899 1
Oct 06-Sep 07 736 0
Oct 07-Sep 08 630 0
Oct 08-Sep 09 522 0

Thursday 17 December 3-car CAF set 3006 worked the 06:50 Belfast-Dublin and 09:35 return. 4-car IÉ set 29013 operated a relief service from Dundalk just ahead of the 06:50, serving Drogheda and Connolly.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 171, published February 2010.

Copyright © 2010 by Irish Railway Record Society Limited
Revised: January 04, 2016 .

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