Why the Circle Line is a dead end siding – but Antrim-Lisburn-Belfast trains can’t be lost

The Circle Line sounds like a great idea.  Go either direction according to your needs,  with a total journey time of 90 minutes or so, you’re no more than 45 minutes from anywhere on it. However, picking up on my comment on Jay’s article, there are certain logistical barriers that mean it is a non-starter in its proposed form. The key assumption I will make in this piece is that the line from Antrim-Monkstown is doubled, including the total reconstruction …

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Change here for Ballinderry, Glenavy, Crumlin and… Aldergrove?

Wesley Johnston very kindly gave me some old NIR, UTA, GNR and even NIRTB timetables owned by his father, and it got me thinking. I’ve long been an advocate of reopening Lisburn-Antrim for commuter services, but what would a train service look like? The 1977 NIR timetable is the benchmark, rather than the much slower timetable which applied by the mid-1990s.  10 minutes Antrim-Crumlin, 5 minutes Crumlin-Glenavy, 6 minutes Glenavy-Ballinderry, 9 minutes Ballinderry-Lisburn including a stop at Knockmore. Trains call …

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Great Victoria Street railway station opens … back in 1995 [ENV/13/4/6A] #20yearrule

A pink file full of government papers released today marked the opening of the last new Great Victoria Street station on 30 September 1995, itself resurrecting a transport terminus which had been shut in 1976 with the opening of the optimistically-named Central Station. Just a handful of residents were invited to the official opening, a mistake that hopefully won’t be repeated when the new transport hub opens around 2023.

The North West Transport hub: is Waterside Railway station really closed to trains?

I wouldn’t be much of a railway enthusiast if I didn’t want to see trains returning to the inside of the original Waterside station.  It’s an iconic image: a train, perhaps headed by a steam engine, with the carriages stretching back into the darkness of what is actually a well lit area, but don’t spoil the atmosphere.  Something which has not been seen in Northern Ireland since Waterside station closed in 1980, but can be experienced at Dublin Connolly when …

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McNulty’s campaign to bring Newry (belatedly) into a 21C railway service…

So, £9 Million, no questions asked. Unsurprising the Perm Sec at Economy was a little concerned at the lack of accountability of the deal. We should not, of course, exaggerate what £9 million over three years can buy in terms of government spend. Lack of good, shovel ready and affordable ideas is one problem faced by politicians in power. Getting it past their Perm Secs is another. In this case the downsizing of government to just two parties has at …

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Cyclist beats “embarrassing” train in race from Derry to Belfast

An SDLP press release issued today reveals the results of a “bicycle versus train” challenge on Sunday, travelling between Derry and Belfast. John Madden and Peter Jack set off from Derry’s General Post Office at 9.15am. John threw his leg over his bicycle and broke the Derry to Belfast record (held by Morris ‘Big Mo’ Foster) as he pedalled down to Belfast Albert Memorial Clock (avoiding motorways) in 2 hours 27 minutes. Meanwhile Peter caught the 09:42 train from Londonderry …

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Increasing numbers of passengers let the train take the strain … apart from a 10 year decline on the Enterprise

Monday morning’s Belfast Telegraph splashed with the front page story that passengers numbers have fallen by 22% on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise train over the last decade. The ‘exclusive’ – based on figures in DRD’s Future Railways Investment consultation document [pdf] that was published in January – was picked up by Talkback at lunchtime as well as other news programmes. The actual consultation ended in April, though this isn’t mentioned in the paper! And in some ways, it’s never too late …

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