Upgrade work on Bellarena rail shelter welcomed

Workmen at the new and improved rail shelter at Bellarena.
Workmen at the new and improved rail shelter at Bellarena.

Improvements to the passenger shelter at Bellarena Railway Station have been welcomed by commuters.

Workmen were on site on Wednesday to complete the work at the new halt.

A spokesperson for Translink said: “We are currently carrying out some improvement works at Bellarena Halt including filling in the banks with bark, laying ballast on the tracks and removing building materials following the recent opening of the extended platforms.”

Magilligan man, Ciaran Toner, catches the train daily to travel to work in Derry.

He had aired his concerns previously on social media via Twitter that the original shelter was doing the opposite of what it was supposed to do.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’, Mr Toner said he wasn’t “expecting “Translink to re-invent the wheel”.

“We have a unique climate in Magilligan, but no one seems to have considered that,” he said.

The previous shelter, he said, had no breadth to it and, while there was a large hangover, it was not sealed from floor to ceiling and had a gap. Mr Toner said the previous shelter was not adequate and people were getting drenched to the skin.

However, Mr Toner has welcomed the improvements completed this week.

“The work was done on Wednesday. There were five workmen on site and they’ve extended the sides of the current shelter and placed two screens at the front of the shelter which was asked for,” he said.

“On the downside, the only concern I have is the improvement works they’ve done have not addressed the gap at the bottom of the shelter and means the wind will still come through at your feet. I’m grateful for the improvements, but if Translink had consulted with the local community, rail users could have told them what we want.”

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan welcomed the work.

“I contacted NIR and made them aware people wanted the shelter to be brought up to the same standard as, for example, the halt at Castlerock, and I received guarantees that would happen,” said Mr. Mullan, who added: “I was also informed that only two thirds of the work has been completed, so there is considerable work to be done. It is a fabulous service and I look forward to the completion of work.