The first phase of works on a new £27m new train station and transport hub for Derry is on course for completion by August, Translink have confirmed to the Journal.
Extensive refurbishment and redesign works are currently under way at the Victorian Old Waterside Train Station building and the section of new track which leads to it.
The second phase of the EU-backed project is due for completion next year with the North West Transport Hub, the demolition of the current station and all associated works expected to be done by late summer 2020, a Translink spokesperson said.
She said: “The North West Transport Hub project in Derry~Londonderry is currently under construction.
“The first stage of the project is due for completion in Autumn 2019, this includes the refurbishment of the Grade B listed Waterside Train Station and the associated track and signalling works, with the entire project reaching completion during 2020.
“Work is progressing well on the Hub site and track construction. Associated platform walls are currently being constructed and the internal building steel frame erected.”
She added that phase two is due to begin later this year. This will include the construction of a bus turning circle, demolition of the existing train station building, river wall works and a new Park and Ride, with approximately 90 car parking spaces.
“The new Hub will be an important gateway to the north-west region, acting as a catalyst for development in the Waterside and encouraging regeneration in the local area, as well as supporting business, leisure and tourism for the city as a whole,” she said, adding:
“Alongside the protection of the well-loved Grade B listed building, the project will encourage a modal shift from car to public transport and other sustainable modes by providing integrated and convenient services to encourage more active travel for a healthier region.
“The new facility will offer a new greenway link to the city centre via the iconic Peace Bridge, new track and signalling work, enhanced park and ride capacity, additional cycle storage and an integrated facility for the provision of rail and local bus services.”
Funding for Derry’s new Transport Hub has been secured from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with match funding provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland.
In September 2018 Translink announced they had appointed local company Farrans to construct the new hub, working in partnership with railway engineers Rhomberg Sersa JV.
Passenger numbers show that rail usage is booming in the north-west. Figures secured from Translink by local rail campaigning group, Into the West last Autumn, showed that there has been a 40 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers using the Derry-to-Coleraine stretch of the railway line.
The increase is the result of a new hourly Derry to Belfast service which was introduced in July 2017 - an increase of 125,000 train journeys. This marked the largest growth in demand anywhere on the island of Ireland.
Translink meanwhile have also confirmed that the Derry to Coleraine Phase Three project is on their Capital Plan “to begin inception stage in January 2025 with construction to be completed by the Summer of 2027, pending funding.”
Phase 3 involves a full relay of the middle sections of the track between Coleraine and Derry and the potential introduction of a half-hourly train service on the line.