‘Design mistake’ made with shelter

The new shelter at Bellarena.
The new shelter at Bellarena.

Close to £50 million was spent on phase two of the Derry to Coleraine railway project - but it appears the shelter provision at Bellerana is sending out the wrong signal to some commuters.

That’s according to Magilligan man, Ciaran Toner, who catches the train daily to travel to work in Derry.

Mr Toner says the shelter does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

“The irony is that, at the old station, the shelter provided there was just as bad, if not worse,” said Ciaran.

“We are not asking Translink to re-invent the wheel. We have a unique climate in Magilligan, but no one seems to have considered that.

“The shelter has no breadth to it and, while there is a large hangover, it is not sealed from floor to ceiling and has a gap.

“Perhaps the wider public will say, ‘well, sure, not many people use the train at Bellarena’, but you have people who visit the prison travelling from Belfast and people who go to Benone who travel by train in the summer. It’s unfair on them.”

A Translink spokesperson said the “passenger shelters” at Bellarena halt were installed as part of the signalling and platform works between Coleraine and Derry,

“These have a roof canopy and are closed on three sides. The design is typical of shelters which NI Railways has installed at train halts as part of platform works on the rail network,” said the Translink spokesperson.

Sinn Fein’s Cathal O’hOisin said he had raised concerns about the shelter to the Transport minister, Michelle McIlveen.

“I think because of where it is, it’s very exposed, and it’s ill-designed for the location. It’s very open to the elements with the wind coming off the Atlantic and consideration should have been given to that.

“There has been £46 million spent on Phase Two of this project but I don’t see much evidence of that at Bellerana. I think it’s a design mistake and no account has been taken of the location.”

Mr O’hOisin added: “It might be a standard Translink shelter, but this one is not fit-for-purpose.”

SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan has raised the matter at Causeway Council, and says he has contacted Translink about the shelter and the lack of parking facilities.

Colr. Mullan said people were parking along the road and claimed “already there have been close shaves”. “

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Colr. Mullan, adding:

“The shelter is not adequate and people are getting drenched to the skin. It’s not up to the specification you would expect. It needs to be made fit-for-purpose.”