Work on a £25 million improvement scheme for the rail link to Lisburn will begin next week - with some town rail services affected.
The programme of works, when complete, will maintain the reliability of the line and remove speed restrictions to facilitate trains operating at 90mph on parts of the track.
It will also ensure continued safe operation of the line, a more comfortable passenger experience with a smoother ride, reduced need for on-going essential engineering works and improved drainage.
Works will get underway on February 14 to replace ballast on the railway line between Knockmore (south of Lisburn) and Lurgan.
It forms part of a £25m project funded by the Department for Infrastructure, with support from the Connecting Europe facility.
A total of 21 miles of track will be repaired, 10.5 in each direction, during the entire project. This phase involves three miles of twin track between Lisburn and Moira.
To avoid closing the line for extended periods, the works will take place at night.
Noise will be kept to a minimum and a residents’ helpline has been set up.
The works will involve service changes affecting the last train in both directions Tuesday to Saturday, which will be replaced with bus substitution.
Portadown to Belfast:
· The 22:28 hours (or 10.28pm) Enterprise from Portadown to Belfast Central (Tuesday – Saturday) will now stop additionally at Lurgan 22:39 and Lisburn stations (22:56). This train will connect with the 23:00 Lisburn to Bangor stopping service).
· 22:35 hours (or 10.35pm) train from Portadown to Lisburn (Tuesday – Saturday) will NOT operate.
· A 22:30 (or 10.30pm) bus substitution will operate from Moira to Lisburn (Tuesday – Saturday) and will connect with the 23:00 Lisburn to Bangor stopping service.
Belfast to Portadown:
· 23:10 hours (or 11.10pm) train from Great Victoria Street to Portadown will be substituted by bus (Tuesday – Saturday)
On track machines, excavators, generators and site lighting will be used during the works.
A total of 60,000 tonnes of ballast (stone) will be replaced during these works, which will be undertaken by McLaughlin and Harvey contractors. The ballast cleaning machine is being hired from Irish Rail and the new ballast will be supplied by Tullyraine Quarries in Banbridge, Co. Down.