Translink move to deal with increased passenger numbers

Translink says measures to avoid overcrowding are in place as the Derry-Belfast train continues to grow in demand .

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 9:19 am

Over recent months, more passengers have used the NI railways Derry-Belfast train since lockdown measures eased.

Signs on the train indicate that customers are not allowed to stand; however Translink have said that standing is within government guidelines of social distancing.

There have been calls over recent months to tackle the issue for Translink, including a suggestion of running more frequent trains that leave Derry. As it stands, for people who start work or studies at 9am in Belfast, there is still only one train that arrives in Belfast in time which is the 06.42 service.

Translink insist they have plans to tackle the overcrowding issues, with 21 new carriages on the way that they plan to have by Summer 2022.

A Translink spokesperson said: “Since the easing of covid restrictions, we are seeing passenger numbers steadily grow across the network including the Derry ~ Londonderry rail line and have introduced longer 6-carriage trans on hourly services from the North West Transport Hub to cater on the peak evening services from Belfast to Derry~Londonderry.

“The first 6 of 21 new train carriages have recently been introduced into passenger service after being integrated with fully refurbished existing Class 4000 trains and following a period of intensive testing and commissioning. Staff training on the new trains is also being undertaken.”

The spokesperson continued: “This has created longer walk-through trains offering more accessibility and space. The trains have been used on the Derry~Londonderry line and on busy routes across the network, as required.

“We continue to follow Covid guidelines from the NI executive. We also monitor our timetables and capacity and make adjustments where appropriate.”