The Derry rail line is to shut down this weekend for emergency works after a sinkhole appeared close to rail tracks in the Waterside.
Translink and Northern Ireland Water have now confirmed that exploratory works are to be carried out close to the area of concern at Waterside Train Station on Saturday and Sunday.
A spokesperson for NI Water confirmed the body was conducting a Northern Ireland-wide project to examine “the robustness of our infrastructure above and below ground within the NI Railways estate” when the underground damaged drain in Derry came to light. He said: “A single void has appeared in the ground beside the railway line in the vicinity of Waterside Railway Station.
“Upon inspection, a brick culvert running under the railway line was found to be in a state of poor repair and in need of restoration.
“NI Water and our contractors have temporarily halted investigative work inside the culvert and are currently working with Translink to provide a design for a replacement section of culvert and confirm a programme for this construction work.”
The spokesperson confirmed that investigation work in the area is ongoing, and that the line will close later this week. He said: “Translink have announced a line closure to take effect in order to allow the repair and restoration of the damaged brick culvert.
“We will continue to co-operate fully with Translink to ensure that this emergency work is completed as quickly and as safely as possible; public safety is paramount.”
A spokeswoman for Translink meanwhile said: “An investigation into the appearance of a hole under an unused rail siding at Waterside train station showed damage to a NI Water drain.
“NI Water will carry out engineering repair works on the weekend of March 12 and 13 at Waterside station. Bus substitutions will be in place during the period of the line closure with services due to operate as normal from March 14.”
Jim McBride from Into the West last night welcomed efforts to tackle the issue.
Mr McBride said: “As far as Into the West are concerned we would like to see this dealt with quickly and efficiently to ensure as little disruption to services on the Derry line as possible.
“We are pleased that they have acted promptly to deal with this major health and safety issue, and one which is a matter of public concern.”
Mr McBride added that the lobby group were still pushing for the restoration of the Old Waterside Station, which emerged as the public’s choice from among four options consulted on several years ago.