Ten train stations between Lisburn and Belfast Lanyon Place closing for two months

Botanic Train Station is one of the 10 stations closing over summer
Botanic Train Station is one of the 10 stations closing over summer -Credit:Stock image

Rail users are in for a bit more disruption as all 10 stations between Lanyon Place and Lisburn are closing for two months, leaving no train connections through our capital city.

We already know Great Victoria Street Belfast shuts for good on May 10 but the full impact of connecting the new Grand Central Station to our railways hasn’t been clear until now.

There will be no connecting services through Belfast during July and August, which has major implications for the entire network and cross border Enterprise services to Dublin.

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While the closures will also hit those planning to attend a range of Belfast-based gigs and festivals like Belfast Vital and CHSq with Translink saying “we are currently working with various promoters to develop transport plans for summer events”.

After Great Victoria Street shuts, the stations going out of service over summer include Botanic, City Hospital, Adelaide, Balmoral, Finaghy, Dunmurry, Derriaghy, Lambeg and Hilden.

Translink said in a statement: “During the summer period the rail line will close between Lanyon Place and Lisburn.

“During this time, bus substitution services will operate and passengers will also be able to use scheduled Metro and Ulsterbus services operating between Belfast train stations and along the Lisburn Road.

“There will also be enhanced Metro, Goldliner and Park and Ride timetables to facilitate our passengers.”

They did not answer questions about how many it will impact, whether the replacement buses will hold as many passengers as trains or if they will run as frequently.

But we understand passengers that have to use replacement bus services will have to pay the same fare as usual as Translink are not in a position to offer reductions.

Anyone wanting to take the Enterprise from Belfast to Dublin, will have to take a bus replacement to Newry Train Station while the service from Dublin stops in Portadown.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Cross Border Services will operate from Portadown with coach transfers from Belfast to Newry to connect with the Enterprise Train.

“All other rail lines will remain open from Belfast Lanyon Place/York Street Station to Derry-Londonderry, Larne and Bangor and the southern corridor will operate from Lisburn southwards.”

Belfast Green Party councillor Brian Smyth said: “I am looking forward to the new transport hub opening - we need to strengthen our public transport connections... but I think there has been a lack of clarity here and it is going to cause a lot of confusion with people.

“It’s going to impact massively in the summer months - is it going to have a knock-on impact on tourism? Is there a concern it is going to drive more people to cars.

“I would also have a concern here for people who don’t have access to a vehicle - in some Belfast districts that’s around 40%. What kind of impact is it going to have have on hospital appointments or how people move?

“It seems to be that many people are not aware of the impact of this and the size of it. Translink need to be clear in their communication with the public. Be upfront, be transparent on what’s happening.”

We asked if they considered any other options rather than closing connections through Belfast to link Grand Central to the line.

Translink added: “This next phase of works is highly complex involving significant engineering works to lay new tracks, new drainage and installation of high-tech signalling systems, all of which will need safety testing and commissioning and a period of staff training once completed."

NI Railways route map
NI Railways route map

Colin Neill, Chief Exec of Hospitality Ulster, said: “The hospitality industry relies on regular and reliable train and bus transportation.

“Ten train stations closing over two extremely busy months, and which connect people to Belfast city centre where most of our pubs and restaurants are concentrated, is unfortunate.

“However, the replacement bus services will hopefully keep them connected in the meantime, and it’s more a case of short-term pain for long-term gain as we can all look forward to the opening of Belfast Grand Central Station which I’m confident will deliver a much-improved transport system to benefit everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Translink added: "Translink has been working collaboratively with a range of organisations to plan and prepare for these works and are introducing a range of measures to encourage more use of active and public transport to minimise the overall impact.

"While there will be some short-term disruption, in the medium to long term, this world class integrated transport hub is set to bring economic, social and environmental wellbeing benefits for everyone in Northern Ireland, catering for around 20 million passenger journeys a year."

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